I think you misunderstood my reply, because that's precisely what I was trying to say, that a local geopolitical entity is a distinct country even if half a world away some other leading country had no idea that other world away country existed. I should have been more precise and added a word to "recognition as a sovereign state by other [local] leading sovereign states" I did try to make that point by saying thats why when looking at a recognized countries map of the 14/15th century, you'd have to look at one "adjusted by modern historical hindsight" because as in the for example I gave (e.g. Spain), if all you did was look at an actual historical map from the actual period, then many countries would be excluded because most maps from that period were highly localized (e.g. no real idea of geopolitical entities outside of their sphere of knowledge) And I agree that whether we use 15th century definition or modern, one commonality is recognition as a sovereign state by other leading sovereign states, at minimum I should have said locally, much more concrete if more global but not needed. Control or issuing of currency, exertion of dominant influence within the claimed sovereign borders, etc are also some reasonable standards. By these definitions, while you could choose to extremely broadly interpret and say any small village not owing fealty to a greater unit of social organization, or a tribal level entity was a "country", I would submit that is not by my and I think most people's standard of what a country or sovereign state is (back then or now) I will answer here the question posed previous to this - I would suspect as a bait question - how many countries did I think existed in North America in 1500? By then dominant 14/15th century standards, the answer would be 1 - the Seven Iroquois Nations. e.g. by recognized standards of a sovereign state at that time to codify laws in writing, issue currency, control claimed borders, conduct foreign affairs and/or be recognized by other sovereign states, etc The Seven Iroquois Nations, hundreds of years before the first white settlers arrived, formed this unique alliance that broke out from mere tribal organization to what any but the most jingoistic person would have to admit was a country. They codified laws in writing, formulated, wrote, and enforced within their Nations borders the first constitution of North America - which was not as many think by the USA. You can google the exact year but before settlers arrived, the Seven Iroquois Nations codified this constitution called something like the Great Law of Peace. The important point being they codified and enforced an organizational system of law above that of a single tribal or related family unit. By MORAL standards - the answer would obviously (I hope) be as many countries as there were native american tribes. Each were distant entities owing allegiance to no one other than perhaps whatever spiritual focus each tribe may or may not have had. However, without being semantic about it and just argue for the sake of arguing, they were not countries. The Seven Iroquois Nations was by then and today's definition a country - they were recognized by several european countries and conducted foreign affairs while the american colonies were still colonies. In fact, that's where the word and our practice in some states to hold political "caucuses" comes from, the Seven Iroquois Nations. They held caucuses as a form of representational government. That said, they are the only exception I know of in North America, in 1500, that was a country. The rest were tribes. Now later, Chief Joseph of the Sioux, would notably also formulate laws and be a country by modern standards (but not recognized as such at the time due to whole manifest destiny period of American history) - so I would count he and a half dozen other tribes that rose to the level of countries post-USA formation. Before someone throws that stone - did that make native americans inferior human beings on a moral sense? No. But aside from very few exceptions, they weren't countries nor sovereign states.