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World Countries Facts

"A country can be judged by the quality of its proverbs." —German proverb

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In the principality of Andorra, a 180-square-mile country consisting mainly of deep valleys and the Pyrenees Mountains, the heads of state are both foreign: the bishop of the Spanish town of Seo de Urgel, south of the Andorran border, and the President of France. Seven centuries ago, a Spanish bishop and the French Count of Foix settled a long-term land dispute by agreeing to become co-princes of the Andorran valley. The Spanish title was handed down the centuries to the present bishop. On the French side, the title was passed to the kings of Navarre, then to the kings of France, and now to the presidents of France. (source)

The army of Andorra, a small principality in the Pyrenees between France and Spain, consists entirely of officers. Its duties are mostly of a ceremonial nature.

India has a bill of rights for cows.

View more facts about: Animals | India

There are currently between 4,200 and 5,600 spoken languages in the world (it is difficult to arrive at an exact count because even linguists don't always agree as to whether two tongues are different languages or if one is a dialect of the other). About 4% of them are spoken by 96% of Earth's population. (source)

View more facts about: Languages of the World

There are only two double-landlocked countries in the world, countries surrounded entirely by other landlocked countries. They are Uzbekistan (which is surrounded by Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikstan, and Afghanistan) and Liechtenstein (which is surrounded by Switzerland and Austria). (source)

[Flag of Japan]
[Flag of Greece]

At only four lines long, the Japanese national anthem is the shortest national anthem. The national anthems of Jordan and San Marino are also four lines long. The longest is the Greek national anthem at 158 verses long. (source)

View more facts about: Music

Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia have built a golf course on the border between the three countries. The 27-hole course comprises nine holes in each country. Much of the course was formerly a minefield. (source)

View more facts about: Sports and Games

"Iran" means "Land of the Aryans". (source)

What we now call Iran has, in the past, been called Persia, Parthia, or Media, depending on the ethnic group ruling it.

View more facts about: Place Names
[Map of Spratly Islands]
Map of the Spratly Islands.

The Spratly Islands, a group of over 100 small, uninhabited islands or reefs in the middle of the South China Sea, are claimed, in whole or in part, by five different countries. (source)

Singapore is the largest country without any farms (approximately 650 square kilometres). As well, the world's three smallest countries (Vatican City, Monaco, and Nauru) don't have any farms either. (source)

The country of Indonesia comprises over 17,000 islands.

The official president of North Korea is still Kim Il-Sung, even though he died in 1994. (source)

India is the world's second most populous country, with a population of more than 1,000,000,000. The world's third most populous country, the United States, has a population less than 30% of that of India. (source)

View more facts about: India | United States

Guyana is the only South American country with English as its official language. (source)

View more facts about: Languages of the World

In New Zealand, there are seven sheep for each person.

Half of the population of Uganda is under 15 years of age. (source)

View more facts about: Interesting Statistics

Russia can be seen as having been founded as a by-product of Viking slave raids in the ninth century. (source)

View more facts about: Slavery | Vikings

The Falkland Islands have a human population of around 2,000 but a sheep population of 700,000, making 350 sheep for each person. (source)

View more facts about: Animals

The only country that has changed the pronunciation of its name is Kenya. While it was formerly pronounced "KEEN-ya", the name is now pronounced "KEN-ya", like the last name of leader Jomo Kenyatta was pronounced.

Around 832 languages are spoken by the 3.9 million residents of Papua New Guinea, none of which are spoken by more than a small percentage of the population. (source)

The name of Switzerland used on Swiss stamps is not in any of Switzerland's four official languages (German, French, Italian, or Romansch), but in Latin (Helvetia).

View more facts about: Place Names

The modern country of Ghana is not the same as ancient Ghana. Today's Ghana was formerly known as the Gold Coast, on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. Ancient Ghana, which lasted until around 1240, occupied parts of what are now Mali and Mauritania, between the Senegal and Niger rivers. The word "ghana" was a title meaning "war chief", and the area got its name from Africans from the north who would trade with "ghana".

View more facts about: Place Names

Everyone in Iceland is literate. Every Icelander must graduate from school in order to get a job, and he has to be able to speak three languages. (The "native" language, Icelandic—which is the ancient language of the sagas— is spoken in no other country.) (source)

England and Portugal have never been at war with each other. It is probably the longest unbroken peace (Portugal was created over 850 years ago) between any two nations in the world. (source)

Among countries with area over 1,000 square kilometres, the most densely populated is Bangladesh, with over 1,075 people per square kilometre. (source)

The country of Liberia was founded as a voluntary haven for freed American slaves. The American Colonization Society purchased the land from tribal chiefs in 1822; the price included, among other items, a box of beads, three pairs of shoes, a box of soap, a barrel of rum, and 12 spoons. (source)

View more facts about: Slavery

The South American country of Suriname comprises around 23% Catholics, 25% Protestants, 20% Muslims, and 27% Hindus. Additionally, many of the native people practise traditional animism, a population of former black slaves whose ancestors escaped into the rainforest practise an African syncretic faith, and a Chinese community practises Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. (source)

During the 19th century, Turkey lost three wars to Russia (in 1812, 1829, and 1878). The Greeks won their independence by defeating the Turks in 1827, while the Egyptians invaded and defeated Turkey in wars fought in 1832, 1839, and 1840. From 1912 to 1913, Turkey lost wars to Italy, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Albania. During World War I, Turkey joined the Central Powers and went down to defeat with Germany. (source)

View more facts about: First World War

As recently as 1890, almost no country required its nationals to have appropriate documents to travel abroad, and only a few countries (such as Persia, Romania, Russia, and Serbia) required foreigners to have passports to cross their borders. (source)

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