Safest country in history

I’m putting this in GD as I don’t think it admits of a definitive answer.

It was said of contemporary historians of the reign of Timour Bec or Tamerlane that a young child, carrying a purse brimming with gold coins, could walk alone, unafraid and unmolested, through the length and breadth of his dominions from the Bosphorus to the Chinese border, from Syria and India to Siberia.

Exaggeration of course. This has been said of many rulers (I think it was said of Augustus too) and has never been true, human nature being what it is. But in what time and place has that approached nearest to being true? In other words what is or was the safest country in all recorded history?

Safest from what? You mention safety from being mugged and robbed, but there are many other things people need to be safe from.

Heck, even within a country there’s likely to be areas that are more safe or more dangerous, and within a country’s population, there are more-at-risk and less-at-risk demographic groups.

Without some criteria, or at least a decision if we’re considering absolute amount of crime vs per-capita rate of crime, the question can’t be answered.

Probably whatever is the safest country today, when things like domestic violence and child abuse are taken into account.

Vatican City?

There’s a whole wiki page on “Crime in Vatican City”. It’s a regular gangland hangout!

Would this “safety” include being safe from government intrusion?


First define safe? Brutal dictatorships can have very low levels of “crime” (has a tourist in North Korea ever been robbed?) , but what the police force and the government are capable of doing makes any street mugging seem almost benign.

The “Latveria” situation, Latveria being the fictional country ruled over by Dr. Doom. Safest country in the world…because all crime has been eliminated by extreme force.

Actually that’s how crime is generally eliminated. “Extreme” is a subjective term.

I say this recently having read The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond, a review of some of the general differences between so called traditional societies (subsistence, small tribes) and ours. One of the most basic is the level of violence, which is enormously higher in traditional societies.

He’s most familiar with Papua New Guinea but shows parallels with those tribes and others still extant in the world. To them, the greatest gift civilization can offer is freedom from constant fear of violence from neighboring tribesmen (who may live just over the hill or across the creek). Law and order (the only violence allowed being state violence) is seen as a great positive.

So, even though I personally loathe so much of modernity, I would have to answer that the safest societies are those of the present day.

Nitpick: Antarctica isn’t a country.

The definition is implicit in my post. Safe from robbery, murder, molestation and interference in one’s affairs by the state or by any individual. The child is imagined as walking across the whole country. Nobody stops him to ask wo he is or where he is going. Nobody prevents him from proceeding to his destination. Nobody robs or kills him or does him harm.

I don’t suppose there ever has been or will be such a country. Certainly not modern states whose interference in the lives of their citizens is excessive. For instance in the US the kid would be pulled over by police in a heartbeat and whisked away by child services. Sure, it’s for his own safety but looked at in another way it is interference by the state in private business. If not pulled over he would certainly be impeded by a private individual who would either take him to the police or molest, rob, or kill him.

An adult too would very likely be stopped, especially at night, and asked where he is going and why he is going there. If the police didn’t like the answer he would be forcibly prevented from going on his way. Again, individuals might do him harm before he could reach his destination.

I think the point of the stories is that everyone was so terrified of Tamerlane (and with good reason) that no one wished to commit a crime for dread of the consequences. Thus, as a poster implied above, the safest countries have probably been those ruled by autocrats. Of course in such countries the gravest threat to you is from the ruler himself!

So the safest country in the world today is very probably North Korea. It’s a damned high price to pay for safety though.

I think that in terms of street crime and such, current day Japan is probably the safest place to live. If it wasn’t for the (IMHO still low despite the recent saber rattling) threat from Kim Jong Un, it probably would be the safest country ever.

Well, you’d still have to contend with the seasonal Godzilla attacks.


How about Singapore? Littering carries huge fines and even community service sentences there.

It’s not completely crime-free but it’s pretty close, especially by Western standards.

But there is an endless supply of magical girls to defeat Godzilla and other monsters.

More seriously, on my two visits to Japan, I have felt it to be an extremely safe environment.

Given the quantity of womens underwear being stolen, the sheer quantity of drunk men that go home every day, the regular molestation of women on the train, and the woman who lived a few doors down in my apartment building, on the 5th floor, that had a man climb in through the window, I’d venture to guess that if there were accurate reporting, the rape statistics could be quite high in Japan. Though, granted, I have no way to confirm that (and certainly hope that it’s not the case).

Not to mention not very safe. You can easily die from the elements alone just walking around unprotected…