The world map changes all the time. In the last year we saw Croatia join the European Union and Russia annex Crimea. While some changes to the map are harder to predict than others, there are a few possible changes coming by 2020 that we should keep an eye out for.
Scotland will be holding a referendum on whether or not they should be an independent country on September 18, 2014. Scotland was once an independent country, although it often suffered under British invasion and occupation. It wasn’t until 1707 that Scotland officially became a part of the Kingdom of Great Britain. Since then there have been various movements to regain their independence, with varying degrees of popularity. The referendum is the most recent initiative, although the likelihood of a Yes vote at this point seems unlikely. Still polling indicates that the strength of the Yes vote is increasing. Who knows what may happen in the next few months as the date of the referendum looms.
2015: East African Federation
The East African Federation is a proposed federation of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. If everything goes as scheduled, this English-speaking federation would become the second most populous nation in Africa and 11th most populous nation in the world. This of course may change if other nations, like South Sudan, join as well. Don’t, however, dismiss this federation as being just a bigger third world country. By 2018, Uganda will become an oil producing nation. If invested wisely and coupled with necessary political and bureaucratic reforms and we could see the EAF become an important regional power.
2015: Eurasian Economic Union
Speaking of political unions, by next year we should also see the founding of the Eurasian Economic Union or the Eurasian Union (or Eurasia if you are nasty). The Eurasian Union, however, is more similar to the European Union than the East African Federation. Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are all showing interest in joining with a pool of potential candidates coming from any nation that has strong ties to the region. It would, according to its leaders, represent the best values of the old Soviet Union. If that scares anyone who remembers what it was like during the Cold War, don’t worry, Putin can’t live forever…right?
2015: Carteret Islands
This is our first deletion from the map. By next year the Carteret Islands will be abandoned as they become uninhabitable due to rising sea levels. Already evacuations have taken place, making the inhabitants of these Papua New Guinea islands the first climate change refugees. Its relative isolation, along with their tiny population, means that it is unlikely it will have a major impact on global affairs. They will likely be more islands and coasts abandoned before we prepare for the worst.
2017: European Union
The European Union is set to enlarge itself by 2017. Iceland, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and Serbia are all on track to join the Union by this year. This would mean all of Europe outside of the former Soviet Union would be unified under the EU except for Norway and Switzerland. We may even see Turkey and Kosovo join, although there are a lot of issues with their membership. The possible rivalry with the previously mentioned Eurasian Union might, however, clear up some of those conflicts in the near future. The EU might also reconsider its stance on Eastern Europe in regards to the recent events in the Ukraine.
2019: Aral Sea
Soviet irrigation projects and climate change has caused what was once one of the world’s largest lakes, the Aral Sea, to shrink rapidly. By the end of the decade the Aral Sea should evaporate completely. Future maps will probably not bother marking its located by the 2020s as its disappearance becomes a testaments to humanity’s impact on the globe.
Are there any other changes to the world map that I missed? Let me know in the comments below.