Chronological List of Democracies

Just for the record, here are the nations that probably count as democratic. I’m using multiple criteria, so the pinpoint date can be rather fuzzy. For example, should I pick the year of independence or of the constitution? Should I count the first year that elections were held under new democratic rules, or the year those rules were adopted, or when the first democratically elected government took office?

Probably Not Democratic but Certainly Getting Interesting

Iceland (962-1230)
Dutch Republic (1581–1795)
United Kingdom (1688-ca. 1884)
United States (1776-ca. 1828)
France (intermittently 1789-99)
Peru (1828-35)
Mexico (1867-76)
Orange Free State (1854-1902)
Liberia (1869-84)
Germany (1871-1914)
Austria-Hungary (1906-14)
South Africa (1910-94)
Romania (1923-38)
Japan (1925-32)
Colombia (1930-48)
Argentina (1937-42)
Guatemala (1944-53)

Democratic. Universal(ish) Suffrage (all adult male non-slave citizens)

Ancient Greece
Megara (early to mid 6th C, 427 to 424 BCE)
Athens (507 to 411, 410 to 404, 403 to 322 BCE)
Argos (494 to 417, 417 to 322 BCE)
Syracuse (465 to 405 BCE)
Mantinea (to 385 BCE)
Thebes (ca. 465 to 447, 379 to 335 BCE)
Cyrene (440 to 323 BCE)
Corcyra (435 to 361 BCE)
Rhodes (395 to 378 BCE)
Corinth (393 to 392, 366 BCE)
Roman Republic (509 to 82, 81 to 49 BCE)
France (1791-93)
United States (ca. 1828-1865)
Republic of Texas (1836-1845)
Confederate States (1861-1865)

Democratic. Broad (but limited) Male Suffrage, and No Slavery

France (1795-97)
New Zealand (1852-1879)
Belgium (1853-1894)
Bremen (1854-71)
Hamburg (1860-71)
United States (1865-1870)
United Kingdom (1884-1918)

Democratic. Universal Male Suffrage

France (1848-1852, 1871-1940)
Switzerland (1848-1971w)
Greece (1864-1909, 1910-14, 1926-35, 1944-1952w)
Colombia (1867-1885)
United States (1870-1920w)
Costa Rica (1875-1917, 1919-48)
New Zealand (1879-1893w)
Spain (1890-1922)
Belgium (1894-1940, 1945-1948w)
?Honduras (1894-1935)
Denmark (1901-1915w)
Norway (1905-1913w)
Portugal (1911-26)
Italy (1912-22)
Argentina (1916-1930)
Netherlands (1917-1919w)
Sweden (1917-1921w)
United Kingdom (1918-1928w)
Luxembourg (1919-1940)
Chile (1932-1949w)

w: indicates that voting rights were extended to women, and the country moved onto the list below.

Democratic. Universal (including women!) Suffrage

pre-WW2

(chronological order)

New Zealand (1893- )
Australia (1902- )
Norway (1913-40)
Denmark (1915-40)
Iceland (1916- )
Finland (1919- )
Germany (1919-33)
Netherlands (1919-1940)
Austria (1920-32)
Canada (1920- )
Czechoslovakia (1920-39)
Estonia (1920-34)
United States (1920- )
Poland (1921-26)
Sweden (1921- )
Ireland (1922- )
Latvia (1922-34)
Lithuania (1922-26)
United Kingdom (1928  )
Spain (1931-36)

Second Wave

(arranged by the length of time as a democracy, from longest to shortest, or basically from most successful to least successful)

France (1945- )
Netherlands (1945- )
Norway (1945- )
Japan (1947- )
Belgium (1948- )
Israel (1948- )
Italy (1948- )
Sri Lanka (1948- )
Costa Rica (1949- )
Germany (BRD: 1949- )
Colombia (1957- )
Jamaica (1959- )
Trinidad (1962- )
Cyprus (1960-63, 1968  )
Venezuela (1958-2009)
Botswana (1966-16)
Mauritius (1968- )
Switzerland (1971- )
Gambia (1965-93)
Philippines (1946-72)
India (1950-1975)
Chile (1949-73)
Turkey (1946-53, 1961-70, 1973-79)
Brazil (1946-64)
Uruguay (1952-70)
Fiji (1970-86)
Greece (1952-67)
Burma (1948-62)
Argentina (1946-55, 1973-75)
Malaysia (1957-68)
Pakistan (ca.1950-57, 1973-76)
Nigeria (1960-65, 1979-83)
Zambia (1964-73)
Somalia (1960-68)
Indonesia (1950-57)
Ghana (1957-64)
Tunisia (1956-63)
Sudan (1956-58, 1965 68)
Sierra Leone (1961-67)
Cameroon (1960-66)
Lebanon (1970-75)
Syria (1954-58)
Mauritania (1960-64)
Burundi (1962-66)
Tanzania (1961-65)
Uganda (1962-66)
Lesotho (1966-70)
Czechoslovakia (1945 48)
Singapore (1959-62)
Rwanda (1962-65)
Equatorial Guinea (1968-71)
Senegal (1960-62)
Central African Republic (1960-62)
Congo Minor (1960-62)
Malawi (1964-66)
Chad (1960-62)
Bangladesh (1972-73)
Dominican Republic (1962-63)
Ecuador (1968-69)
South Korea (1960-61)
Laos (1958-59)
Algeria (1962-63)
Togo (1960-61)
Kenya (1963-64)
Dahomey (1960-61)
Gabon (1960-61)
Gabon (1960)
Guinea (1958)
Mali (1960)
Niger (1960)
Upper Volta (1960)
Ivory Coast (1960)

Third Wave

(arranged by the length of time as a democracy)
 
Greece (1975- )
India (1977- )
Dominican Republic (1978- )
Spain (1978- )
Ecuador (1979- )
El Salvador (1979- )
Solomon Islands (1978-2000, 2004- )
Bolivia (1982- )
Honduras (1982- )
Argentina (1983- )
Turkey (1983- )
Brazil (1985- )
Uruguay (1985- )
Philippines (1987- )
Chile (1988- )
South Korea (1988- )
Panama (1989- )
Bulgaria (1990- )
Germany (Unified: 1990  )
Hungary (1990- )
Namibia (1990- )
Nicaragua (1990- )
Romania (1990- )
Benin (1991- )
Cape Verde (1991- )
Estonia (1991- )
Latvia (1991- )
Lithuania (1991- )
Poland (1991- )
Slovenia (1991- )
Ukraine (1991- )
Guyana (1992- )
Mali (1992- )
Mongolia (1992- )
Paraguay (1992- )
Taiwan (1992- )
Czechia (1993- )
Moldova (1993- )
Slovakia (1993- )
Pakistan (1988-99, 2008- )
Guatemala (1996- )
Malawi (1994-2000, 2004- )
Mexico (1997- )
Guinea-Bissau (1994-97, 2000-02, 2005  )
Indonesia (1998- )
Ghana (1979-80, 2001  )
Madagascar (1992-2008)
Bangladesh (1991-2006)
Croatia (2000- )
Senegal (2000- )
Thailand (1992-2006)
Lesotho (1993-97, 2002-10)
Albania (2002- )
Kenya (2002- )
Sierra Leone (2002- )
Nepal (1999-2001, 2006- )
Zambia (1991-95, 2008- )
Russia (1992-2004)
Comoros (2004- )
Georgia (2004- )
Burundi (2005- )
Lebanon (2005- )
Montenegro (2006- )
Serbia (2006- )
Niger (1992-95, 2004 08)
Malaysia (2008- )
Yugoslavia (2000-06)
Haiti (1990, 1994-98)
Kyrgyzstan (2010- )
Belarus (1991-95)
Liberia (2006-10)
Armenia (1991-94)
Czechoslovakia (1989-92)
Sudan (1986-89)



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Copyright © August 2017 by Matthew White