In the last fifteen years, there’s been a lot of changes on the map. But most of them have been countries breaking up; the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia. Other than the unifications of Germany and Yemen, have there been any recent examples of two countries peacefully uniting into one?
Just for the record, many of the countries that broke up were originally separate (look at a map older than WWI or II, if you can find one. There are actually a bunch of other independencies I can think of, but no unifications.
I can’t think of any instances of outright political unification of separate states in recent history, but there is the European Union, which started out as a coal-and-steel tariff union and has evolved into something less than a state but more than a confederacy.
North and South Yemen were unified on May 22, 1990, creating the single state of Yemen. However, as this site illustrates, the unification was not immediately successful…
Tanzania was formed by the unification of Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964, but I’m not sure you could call it completely peaceful. It was a chaotic time in both countries, following a revolution in newly independent Zanzibar and an army mutiny in Tanganyika.
The South African “homelands” of Bophuthatswana, Transkei, Venda, and Ciskei, though never really independent in fact, were reabsorbed into South Africa proper in 1994.
It probably doesn’t meet your criterion of peacefulness, but North and South Vietnam were officially reunited in 1976, more than a year after the end of the war.
There has been some talk about a unification between two ex-Soviet republics, Russia and Belarus, but I haven’t heard much about it since last year. After the fall of the USSR I heard a lot about a unification between the Romanian-speaking ex-Soviet republic of Moldova and Romania, but I haven’t heard anything for several years.
Don’t mind me. I must have read that as “fifty” the first time.
Ayn Rand wrote an essay about this called “Global Balkanization” in the book "Return of the primative. Good read.