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With Greece and Puerto Rico's debt-wrangling in the spotlight, CNBC takes a look at what happens when countries fail to repay their debts—a so-called sovereign default.

Greece already holds the crown for the world's biggest sovereign default to date, with a $261 billion default three years ago, according to data from Moody's Investors Service.

And there are other repeat offenders, such as Argentina, with one financial crisis setting up the next and sometimes impacting neighboring countries too.

However, some high-profile debt dramas didn't even make the rankings — Cyprus's default in 2013 came in at a comparatively meager $1.3 billion. Plus, Argentina's most recent default, in 2014, is not included because there is not yet a definitive figure for the sum involved.

Click ahead to see the 10 biggest sovereign defaults from across the world.

—By CNBC's Katy Barnato on July 7, 2015.


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