Country codes (was: Re: Private Use Area)

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Sun Apr 27 2003 - 15:08:01 EDT

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    Kevin Brown <graphity at adelaide dot on dot net> wrote:

    > This is slightly off-topic but I just noticed when researching
    > language and country codes that the latest official ISO-3166 Country
    > Code listing (
    > 02iso-3166-code-lists/list-en1.html) has got 239 country codes - 4
    > less than the current number of TLD country codes (243) listed at
    > EuroDNS (
    > Does anyone know how these two lists could be out of sync?

    The ISO 3166-based ccTLD (Country Code Top-Level Domain) system uses
    some "exceptionally reserved" code elements from ISO 3166-1, such as
    "ac" for Ascension Island and "je" for Jersey. These codes don't
    represent "countries" in the view of the United Nations (and hence the
    ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency), but are reserved "to aid major users who
    require specific additional code elements for the functioning of their
    coding systems." That should account for the difference between the two

    The ccTLD system also uses the exceptionally reserved code element "uk"
    to represent the United Kingdom instead of the ISO 3166-1 standard "gb".
    One way to tell whether you are looking at an ISO 3166-1 country code
    list or a ccTLD list (the latter is often misidentified as the former on
    the Internet) is to see which of these two codes is used for the United

    -Doug Ewell
     Fullerton, California

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