Fictional country

A fictional country is a country that is made up for fictional stories, and does not exist in real life, or one that people believe in without proof.
Sailors have always mistaken low clouds for land masses, and in later times this was given the name Dutch capes.
Other fictional lands appear most commonly as settings or subjects of myth, literature, movies, or video games. They may also be used for technical reasons in actual reality for use in the development of specifications, such as the fictional country of Bookland
Bookland can refer to:*Bookland, a fictitious location corresponding to a 978 prefix that converts a 10 digit ISBN into EAN-13 barcode .*Bookland , a category of land in Anglo-Saxon law*Various bookshops call themselves "Bookland"...

, which is used to allow EAN
European Article Number
An EAN-13 barcode is a 13 digit barcoding standard which is a superset of the original 12-digit Universal Product Code system developed in the United States...

 "country" codes 978 and 979 to be used for ISBN numbers assigned to books, and code 977 to be assigned for use for ISSN numbers on magazines and other periodicals. Also, the ISO 3166
ISO 3166
ISO 3166 is a standard published by the International Organization for Standardization . It defines codes for the names of countries, dependent territories, special areas of geographical interest, and their principal subdivisions . The official name of the standard is Codes for the representation...

 country code "ZZ" is reserved as a fictional country code, thus no Internet top-level domain
Top-level domain
A top-level domain is one of the domains at the highest level in the hierarchical Domain Name System of the Internet. The top-level domain names are installed in the root zone of the name space. For all domains in lower levels, it is the last part of the domain name, that is, the last label of a...

 will ever end in ".ZZ".

Fictional countries appear commonly in stories of early science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 (or scientific romance
Scientific romance
Scientific romance is a bygone name for what is now commonly known as science fiction. The term is most associated with early British science fiction. The earliest noteworthy use of the term scientific romance is believed to have been by Charles Howard Hinton in his 1886 collection...

). Such countries supposedly form part of the normal Earth landscape although not located in a normal atlas. Later similar tales often took place on fictional planets
Planets in science fiction
Planets in science fiction are fictional planets that appear in various media, especially those of the science fiction genre, as story-settings or depicted locations.-History:...


Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift was an Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer , poet and cleric who became Dean of St...

's protagonist, Lemuel Gulliver
Gulliver's Travels
Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships, better known simply as Gulliver's Travels , is a novel by Anglo-Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of...

, visited various strange places. Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American author, best known for his creation of the jungle hero Tarzan and the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter, although he produced works in many genres.-Biography:...

 placed adventures of Tarzan
Tarzan is a fictional character, an archetypal feral child raised in the African jungles by the Mangani "great apes"; he later experiences civilization only to largely reject it and return to the wild as a heroic adventurer...

 in areas in Africa that, at the time, remained mostly unknown to the West and to the East. Isolated islands with strange creatures and/or customs enjoyed great popularity in these authors' times. By the 19th century, when Western explorers had surveyed most of the Earth's surface, this option was lost to Western culture. Thereafter fictional utopia
Utopia is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system. The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt...

n and dystopia
A dystopia is the idea of a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian, as characterized in books like Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four...

n societies tended to spring up on other planet
A planet is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals.The term planet is ancient, with ties to history, science,...

s or in space, whether in human colonies or in alien societies originating elsewhere. Fictional countries can also be used in stories set in a distant future, with other political borders than today.

A superhero is a type of stock character, possessing "extraordinary or superhuman powers", dedicated to protecting the public. Since the debut of the prototypical superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes — ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas —...

 and secret agent comics and some thrillers also use fictional countries on Earth as backdrops. Most of these countries exist only for a single story, a TV-series episode or an issue of a comic book. There are notable exceptions, such as Qumar and Equatorial Kundu in The West Wing, Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics
Marvel Worldwide, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics and formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, is an American company that publishes comic books and related media...

Latveria is a nation in the . It is an isolated European country ruled by the supervillain Doctor Doom, supposedly located in the Banat region. It is surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains, and also borders the Symkaria to the south. Its capital is Doomstadt.-Publication history:Latveria first...

 and DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic books and related media. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment a company of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner...

Qurac is a fictional country in the DC universe. It is a tiny Middle Eastern country on the Persian Gulf, wedged between Iraq and Kuwait. Qurac is often used when DC has need of a terrorist state in the Middle East.-History:...

 and Bialya
Bialya is a fictional country appearing in many comic book series published by DC Comics. It was notably featured in issues of Justice League International as written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis. It originally appeared in Justice League #2 -Fictional history:It has existed as a country since...



Fictional countries often deliberately resemble or even represent some real-world country or present a utopia or dystopia for commentary. Variants of the country's name sometimes make it clear what country they really have in mind. (Compare semi-fictional countries below.) By using a fictional country instead of a real one, authors can exercise greater freedom in creating characters, events, and settings, while at the same time presenting a vaguely familiar locale that readers can recognize. A fictional country leaves the author unburdened by the restraints of a real nation's actual history, politics, and culture, and can thus allow for greater scope in plot construction and be exempt from criticism for vilifying an actual nation, political party or people.

Fictional countries are also invented for the purpose of military training scenarios, e.g. the group of islands around Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

 were assigned the names "Blueland" and "Orangeland" in the international maritime exercise, RIMPAC 98.

Regional stereotypes

Writers may create an archetypal
An archetype is a universally understood symbol or term or pattern of behavior, a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated...

 fictional "Eastern European", "Middle Eastern", "Asian", "African" or "Latin American" country for the purposes of their story often called a "Foreign Power".

Such countries often embody stereotype
A stereotype is a popular belief about specific social groups or types of individuals. The concepts of "stereotype" and "prejudice" are often confused with many other different meanings...

s about their regions. For example, inventors of a fictional Eastern European country will typically describe it as a former or current Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 satellite state
Satellite state
A satellite state is a political term that refers to a country that is formally independent, but under heavy political and economic influence or control by another country...

, or with a suspense story about a royal family; if pre-20th century, it will likely resemble Ruritania
Ruritania is a fictional country in central Europe which forms the setting for three books by Anthony Hope: The Prisoner of Zenda , The Heart of Princess Osra , and Rupert of Hentzau...

 or feature copious vampires and other supernatural phenomena. A fictional Middle Eastern state often lies somewhere on the Arabian peninsula, has substantial oil-wealth and will have a sultan, or features a stereotypically Muslim Extremist culture, widespread terrorism and poverty, and a country name ending in -istan. A fictional Latin American country will typically project images of a banana republic
Banana republic
In political science, the pejorative term Banana Republic denotes a politically unstable country dependent upon limited primary productions , which is ruled by a plutocracy, a small, self-elected, wealthy group who exploit the country by means of a politico-economic oligarchy...

 beset by constant revolutions, military dictatorships, and coups d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

. A fictional African state will suffer from poverty, civil war and disease. A fictional Caribbean nation will feature voodoo and poverty.

Modern writers usually do not try to pass off their stories as facts. However, in the early 18th century George Psalmanazar
George Psalmanazar
George Psalmanazar claimed to be the first Formosan to visit Europe. For some years he convinced many in Britain, but was later revealed to be an impostor...

 passed himself off as a prince from the island of Formosa (present-day Taiwan) and wrote a fictional description about it to convince his sponsors.

Some larcenous entrepreneurs have also invented fictional countries solely for the purpose of defrauding people. In the 1820s, Gregor MacGregor
Gregor MacGregor
Gregor MacGregor was a Scottish soldier, adventurer, land speculator, and colonizer who fought in the South American struggle for independence. Upon his return to England in 1820, he claimed to be cacique of Poyais...

 sold land in the invented country of Poyais. In modern times, the Dominion of Melchizedek
Dominion of Melchizedek
The Dominion of Melchizedek is a micronation known for facilitating large scale banking fraud in many parts of the world. The president was Pearlasia Gamboa, wife of vice-president David Korem...

 and the Kingdom of EnenKio
Kingdom of EnenKio
The Kingdom of EnenKio, or "EnenKio" for short, is a small separatist group of Marshall Islander heritage who lay claim to the United States' unincorporated territory of Wake Island. EnenKio seeks recognition as a sovereign Micronesian state in the Northern Marshall Islands...

 have been accused of this. Many varied financial scams can play out under the aegis of a fictional country, including selling passports and travel documents, and setting up fictional banks and companies with the seeming imprimatur of full government backing.

Fictional countries in survey research

Fictional countries have been created for polling purposes. When polled in April 2004, 10% of British people believed that the fictional country of Luvania would soon join the European Union. In the 1989 General Social Survey, U.S. respondents were asked to rate the social status of people of "Wisian" background, a fictional national heritage. While a majority of respondents said they could not place the Wisians in the U.S. social hierarchy, those who did ranked their status as quite low, just slightly above Mexican-Americans. "Once you let the Wisians in, the neighborhood goes to pot," quipped Time Magazine.

Questionable cases

Countries from stories, myths, legends, that some people have believed to actually exist.
  • Atlantis
    Atlantis is a legendary island first mentioned in Plato's dialogues Timaeus and Critias, written about 360 BC....

  • Aztlán
    Aztlán is the mythical ancestral home of the Nahua peoples, one of the main cultural groups in Mesoamerica. And, by extension, is the mythical homeland of the Uto-Aztecan peoples. Aztec is the Nahuatl word for "people from Aztlan".-Legend:...

  • El Dorado
    El Dorado
    El Dorado is the name of a Muisca tribal chief who covered himself with gold dust and, as an initiation rite, dived into a highland lake.Later it became the name of a legendary "Lost City of Gold" that has fascinated – and so far eluded – explorers since the days of the Spanish Conquistadors...

  • Hidalgo
    Doc Savage
    Doc Savage is a fictional character originally published in American pulp magazines during the 1930s and 1940s. He was created by publisher Henry W. Ralston and editor John L...

  • Lemuria
    Lemuria (continent)
    Lemuria is the name of a hypothetical "lost land" variously located in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The concept's 19th century origins lie in attempts to account for discontinuities in biogeography; however, the concept of Lemuria has been rendered obsolete by modern theories of plate tectonics...

  • Lyonesse
    Lyonesse is a country in Arthurian legend, particularly in the story of Tristan and Iseult. Said to border Cornwall, it is most notable as the home of the hero Tristan, whose father was king...

  • Mu
    Mu (lost continent)
    Mu is the name of a hypothetical continent that allegedly existed in one of Earth's oceans, but disappeared at the dawn of human history.The concept and the name were proposed by 19th century traveler and writer Augustus Le Plongeon, who claimed that several ancient civilizations, such as those of...

  • Ophir
    Ophir is a port or region mentioned in the Bible, famous for its wealth. King Solomon is supposed to have received a cargo of gold, silver, sandalwood, precious stones, ivory, apes and peacocks from Ophir, every three years.- Citations :...

  • Shangri-La
    Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. Hilton describes Shangri-La as a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains...

     or Shambhala
    In Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Shambhala or Shangri-la is a mythical kingdom hidden somewhere in Inner Asia...

  • Tazonia
  • Xanadu
    -Description of Xanadu by Toghon Temur :The lament of Toghon Temur Khan , concerning the loss of Daidu and Heibun Shanduu in 1368, is recorded in many Mongolian historical chronicles...

  • Zanj
    Zanj was a name used by medieval Arab geographers to refer to both a certain portion of the coast of East Africa and its inhabitants, Bantu-speaking peoples called the Zanj...

  • Zembla (See Pale Fire
    Pale Fire
    Pale Fire is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov. The novel is presented as a 999-line poem titled "Pale Fire", written by the fictional John Shade, with a foreword and lengthy commentary by a neighbor and academic colleague of the poet. Together these elements form a narrative in which both authors are...


See also

  • Fictional African countries
    Fictional African countries
    -A:*Afrinia: African country used in World Bank training exercises *Afromacoland: African country in the novel Chief the Honourable Minister by T. M. Aluko*Azania: African country from Evelyn Waugh's novel Black Mischief-B:...

  • Fictional Asian countries
    Fictional Asian countries
    -Central Asia:*Adjikistan: central Asian nation located near Afghanistan and Pakistan in the video game SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs: Combined Assault...

  • Fictional city
  • Fictional companies
    Fictional companies
    Fictional companies are often used in film or television where copyright or the likely chance of being prosecuted exists from using the name of a real company...

  • List of fictional companies
  • Fictional geography
    Fictional geography
    Fictional geography is the use of maps, text and imagery to create lands and territories to accompany works of fiction. Depending on the completeness and complexity of the work, varying media, levels of collaboration and a number of other factors, the depiction of geographical components to works...

  • Imaginary country
  • Jennifer Government: NationStates
    Jennifer Government: NationStates
    Jennifer Government: NationStates is a multiplayer nation simulation browser game. It was created by Max Barry and was publicly released on 13 November 2002, based loosely on his novel Jennifer Government. The game has hosted over 3 million nations...

  • List of fictional counties
  • List of fictional countries
  • List of fictional European countries
  • List of fictional planets
  • List of fictional U.S. states
  • List of fictional universes
  • Proposed country
  • Worldbuilding
    Worldbuilding is the process of constructing an imaginary world, sometimes associated with a fictional universe. The result may sometimes be called a constructed world, conworld or sub-creation. The term world-building was popularized at science fiction writer's workshops during the 1970s...


  • Alberto Manguel & Gianni Guadalupi: The Dictionary of Imaginary Places
    The Dictionary of Imaginary Places
    The Dictionary of Imaginary Places is a book written by Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi. It takes the form of a catalogue of fantasy lands, islands, cities, and other locations from world literature—"a Baedecker or traveller's guide...a nineteenth-century gazetteer" for mental...

    ISBN 0-15-626054-9
  • Brian Stableford: The Dictionary of Science Fiction Places
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