Countries That Don't Exist Anymore (But Did In The '60s & '70s)

Soviet gymnasts in 1975, from left: Lyudmila Tourischeva, the 23-year old world gymnast champion, Olga Koval, 13, and Elvira Saadi, 23. Source: (Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Got an old globe in your house? If it's from the 1950s, '60s or '70s, you'll see a lot of countries that don't exist anymore. Two of the most powerful historical forces of the 20th century, post-colonialism and the rise of communism, conspired to redraw some regions and rename others. Farewell Rhodesia, farewell U.S.S.R., farewell North Yemen -- it was nice knowing ya.

The funny thing about countries that don't exist anymore is that thanks to political or military turmoil, they go out in a flurry of discussion and news coverage, but are quickly forgotten. Yugoslavia, for instance, was a major topic of concern in the late '80s and early '90s. But once it fell apart we all got to work learning the new names, and now we're challenged to remember which six or seven current countries used to be Yugo. (Read on to find out.)

Even though these countries that don't exist anymore have disappeared from maps and globes you studied in school, they're still there -- the land is, anyway, as is the history and the culture. Political divisions and place names are human designations. So if you've always wanted to see the breathtaking sights of the beautiful island realm of Ceylon, you still can. Just make sure your plane ticket says Sri Lanka.