This paper establishes that long-term exposure to statehood is detrimental to building politically stable regimes outside Europe. It argues that accumulated statehood experience impeded the diffusion of European institutions and was conductive to the early emergence of powerful elites, leading to contemporary institutional stagnation. This undermines the provision of public goods and lowers the opportunity cost of engaging in riots, arguably giving rise to socio-political unrest. Using data for 109 non-European societies, the study documents evidence that a long history of statehood is linked to the persistence of political instability. The main findings withstand numerous robustness analyses.