249 Country Codes in the ISO Standard List
Have you ever been filling out an internet form, and had to choose from a suprisingly long list of countries? You were probably looking at the international standard "country code" list, officially known as ISO 3166-1. Many companies and other organizations adopt this standard list rather than having to compile one on their own. The standard also includes convenient two-letter codes for each country, like us for the United States, de for Germany, and jp for Japan, which you might recognize from web addresses specific to those countries.
This ISO standard is based on an official list kept by the U.N....but then why on Earth are there 249 country codes? That's way more than the total number of U.N. member and observer countries! Well, the standard list does leave out some breakaway states not recognized by the U.N., but it does list dependent territories separately from their mother countries. So there are country codes not only for actual countries, but also for nearly-independent states, overseas territories, uninhabited islands, and even Antarctica! This is important because you might need an option for every place that any person is located, and dependent territories often aren't technically part of the countries they belong to.
U.N. Member Nations: 193
U.N. Observer States: 2
States With Partial Recognition: 2
Inhabited Dependent Territories: 45
Uninhabited Territories: 6
Total: 249 different Country Codes
Queen Elizabeth heads 54 countries as part of the Commonwealth of Nations and is Queen of 16 Countries, which technically means she owns them.
Queen Elizabeth II addresses the United Nations (while sitting on what looks like could be her throne of the globe).