196 countries, 196 facts

Settle in for a challenge: identify every single country in the world from these pieces of trivia about them
Quiz by rwwt
Last updated: December 17, 2023
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First submittedSeptember 5, 2021
Times taken2,018
Average score29.1%
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The northernmost penguins in the world are found here
The singer Rodriguez became extremely popular here in the 1970s, but was unaware of his fame until the late 1990s.
South Africa
The people of this nation, which occupies one of the largest islands on Earth, descend from emigrants from an even larger island some 5,000 miles away
A federation of the states of Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk and Yap
Federated States of Micronesia
King Sobhuza II ruled it for 82 years, 254 days - the longest verified reign of any monarch
Its president held a cabinet meeting underwater in 2009, to highlight the threat the nation faces from rising sea levels
Known as the Graveyard of Empires
Australia and New Zealand commemorate their war dead on the anniversary of a landing in this country
A failed attempt by Scotland to colonise this country caused financial ruin and hastened its union with England
This island nation lies 350 miles west of the geographical feature that it is named after
Cape Verde
Administered as two largely separate entities, neither of which corresponds to the two regions in the country's name
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Has been a republic for more than 1700 years
San Marino
Erta Ale volcano in its Afar Region has had an active lava lake for more than 100 years
Slavery was officially abolished here in 1981, though not actually made illegal until 2007
By convention, its President is a Christian, its Prime Minister is a Sunni Muslim and the speaker of the parliament, a Shi'a Muslim
A Kalashnikov rifle appears on its flag
In 1889, Russia established a colony which they called New Moscow in what is now this country, but the would-be settlers were routed by French forces a month later
Shares its etymology with a district of West London which has several canals
If you meet someone from its largest region, you might expect them to be artistic, unconventional and free-spirited
Czech Republic
The village of Ytterby, namesake of four chemical elements, is in this country
Its name derives from the ancient Greek name for the Red Sea
The most recent amendment to its constitution was ratified in 1992, 202 years after it was proposed
United States
Has the only flag in the world that has no red, white or blue on it
Has one skyscraper, which gives it the second-highest number of skyscrapers per capita of any nation
Suffered a major eruption of La Soufriere volcano in April 2021
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
A cult on one of the islands of this archipelagic nation worships Prince Philip
Ruled between 1967 and 2023 by a family whose surname is almost an anagram of the country's name
Known as Bharat to its own inhabitants
Home to more elephants than any other nation
Inexplicably gives its name to a species of rodent native to the Andes
80% of this island nation is uninhabitable due to ecologically devastating phosphate mining
Introduced online voting in 2005
Formerly ruled by an extremely paranoid dictatorship, nearly 180,000 military bunkers dot its landscape
In 1978 when this country won the Eurovision Song Contest, Jordanian television cut the broadcast and later announced that Belgium had won
All public transport in this country is free
Named after a type of tree which strangely does not produce any nuts
Lies 1200km further south than any other member state of the Arab League
Its language was written in Arabic script until 1928, then Latin script until 1939, and then Cyrillic script since then
The film Zoolander depicted a plot to assassinate a fictional Prime Minister of this country, and was banned here as a result
Winners of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012 but have never yet qualified for the FIFA World Cup
Leased a large area of forest to the Peoples Temple cult, which massacred 900 of its members in 1978
Its name is 90 per cent consonants
The king of this country has been known to go about in disguise, revealing his identity when he encounters poor customer service
Founded by freed former slaves from the United States
Four successive presidents resigned over just two weeks during a financial crisis in 2001
Its English name comes from the Venetian language. In its own language, it is called Crna Gora
Half of the 23 million people of this country are less than 15 years old
The least-visited country in the world in 2018 with 2,700 international arrivals - an average of 7.3 per day
The first of the three territories that have left the European Union, doing so in 1962
In their first ever FIFA World Cup game in 2002, they beat the defending champions 1-0
The first recorded speculative bubble took place here, inflating the price of tulips to absurd levels
Part of this country, on the east bank of the Dniestr river, is a de facto independent nation but has no international recognition
Visiting for up to six months requires no visa, unless you are from a nearby country which has its first eight letters in common with this one
The world's largest producer of cocoa beans
Ivory Coast
The oldest living land animal is a giant tortoise nearly 200 years old, originally from this country and now resident on Saint Helena
The third-biggest consumer of Guinness, after the UK and Ireland
Very frequently confused with a similarly-named country to its south
Its waters became notorious for ship hijackings in the early 2010s
Its royal family has about 15,000 members
Saudi Arabia
Has 60% of the world's lakes
Reached the quarter-finals of the 1990 World Cup, with the help of a talismanic striker who, at the age of 38, scored four goals
The last major landmass to be discovered and settled, some time in the 1300s.
New Zealand
Very long surnames are common here because by law, each surname is unique to one family
About a quarter of the population of this country live in traditional tents.
Ironically, ranked second to last in the 2020 Democracy Index
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Its Skeleton Coast has seen hundreds of ships wrecked
Fought a war with its southern neighbour in 1969 after losing to them in a World Cup qualifying game
The steel drum, now widely used in the music of the region, was invented here
Trinidad and Tobago
A monarchy since becoming an independent nation, it became a republic in November 2021
Despite spanning more than 60 degrees of longitude, the country uses a single time zone
Shares its name with the fourth-largest city in its neighbouring country to the east.
Since it became independent in 1974, only one president of this country has served a full five-year term
The equator does not actually cross its land territory
Equatorial Guinea
Its people are so known for their stylish neckwear that the cravat derives its name from the country
Its lowest ever recorded temperature is 19C
The largest landlocked country in the world
Holds the record for the longest post-election failure to form a government at 541 days
Home to 6,600 Akhal-Teke horses, renowned for their speed, endurance, and gold-coloured coats
Its territory extends over two continents, three oceans and 12 different time zones
A six-metre high statue of Frank Zappa can be found in its capital.
The largest religious structure in the world by land area is its biggest tourist attraction, and is also represented on its flag
A young Che Guevara witnessed the 1954 CIA-backed coup in this country
The most generically-named of all countries
Central African Republic
Borders five countries, all of which end with the same four letters as it does
The current president is a comedian who played the president in a satirical television programme
The television program that has been repeated the most times in this country is a 1962 British comedy sketch that is virtually unknown in the United Kingdom
Has the highest lowest point of any country at 1400m above sea level
The only nation to successfully land a probe on Venus
In its last military engagement in 1866, 80 men left and 81 came back, having experienced no actual fighting but making a friend on their way.
The alcoholic drink Pisco might have been invented in this country, although its neighbour to the south very strongly disputes that
This landlocked nation operates a navy on the world's 12th-longest river
The capital of one of its eight regions is a metaphor for the mysterious and remote.
Invented democracy
If somebody comes from this country, there is a 40% chance that their surname is Nguyen
More than three-quarters of the population is male
The Queen of the United Kingdom's representative sacked the Prime Minister of this country in 1975
Its capital was to be the title of a sequel to "Casablanca"
Republic of the Congo
Named after a biblical king
Solomon Islands
A desert irrigation project at Al-Kufrah is easily visible from space
The only Commonwealth member-state in Central America
The world's newest sovereign state, having declared its independence in 2011
South Sudan
One of the quarters of the old city of Jerusalem hosts a diaspora from this country
Thor Heyerdahl claimed that the Norse gods of the Aesir came from this country, partly because its first two syllables sound similar to "Aesir"
Home to the world's largest species of butterfly; the first specimen was captured after being shot
Papua New Guinea
Its name consists of an English word and a Malay word that both mean the same thing
East Timor
Its namesake lake hosts more species of fish than any other lake
Has lots of fjords
Most hamsters sold as pets today descend from a litter captured in a wheat field in this country in 1930
Its currency is the highest valued in the world and could buy you 137,000 of the lowest-valued
Its first president, Canaan Banana, made it illegal to make jokes about his surname
Only country in the world named after a mountain range
Sierra Leone
Colonised successively by Spain, Japan and the United States, this nation became independent in 1981, rejecting membership of a federation with a neighbouring nation
Its capital city has the world's highest concentration of Art Nouveau architecture
Named after a lake which was formerly the fourth-largest of the continent, but has lost 95% of its volume since the early 1960s
The only country named after a woman
Saint Lucia
Named after a man called Gilbert, although the language has no G, L or T sound
Home of Count Dracula
The most frequently misspelled country in British newspaper The Guardian
The province of Cabinda is geographically separate from the rest of the country
Often described as Europe's last dictatorship
The legendary Garuda is a symbol of this country and the namesake of its national airline
Most of the Lucayan Archipelago belongs to this country
Hosted the first Formula One race to be held in the Middle East
Bikini Atoll, nuclear testing site and namesake of swimwear, is part of this country
Marshall Islands
In 1956, a referendum in this nation resulted in 77% support for union with the United Kingdom.
Partitioned by more powerful neighbours in 1772, 1793, 1795 and 1939
In the Ewe language, its name means "behind the river"
Seven-time winners of the Eurovision Song Contest
Has the tallest building in the world by a margin of some 196 metres
United Arab Emirates
Using a number to identify a bank account instead of a name was a concept invented by bankers from this country
In 1870, it voted overwhelmingly to become part of the United States, but the US congress rejected the proposal
Dominican Republic
Its name means "old and bearded"
Antigua and Barbuda
The only member state of the European Union which is in Asia
Its language is largely mutually intelligible with those of its two northern neighbours, although they probably still can't understand why the number 75 should literally mean "Five and half-fourth"
Its name consists of two words, one from each of the two major languages spoken, and roughly means "Land of the upright people"
Burkina Faso
The only country in the world with a reptile on its flag
The only Central American nation with no Caribbean coastline
El Salvador
The town of Shibam Hadramawt, with its mud-brick buildings up to 30m tall, is known as the Manhattan of the Desert
In Greek, Arabic and Turkish, the word for "orange" (the fruit) is the same as this country
At least half of its population died during a war with three of its neighbours between 1864 and 1870
Volcanic eruptions here have produced one third of the lava erupted in human history
The village of Matmata starred as Tatooine in Star Wars
Cohiba and Montecristo are two brands of one of its most famous products
Was connected by land to its neighbouring country until the 15th century when a storm broke up the natural causeway
Sri Lanka
Ruled for thousands of years by a monarchy which enthusiastically built pyramids and obelisks
Cyrillic and Latin script are used fully interchangeably in this country
Was expelled from the United Nations in 1971
The crown prince murdered nine members of the royal family in 2001
Home to Cox's Bazar Beach, the longest beach in the world
There are not enough Ps in a set of English Scrabble letters to spell its name
Scores an average of 3.5 points per letter in Scrabble scoring, the highest of any country
The first non-English language film to win Best Picture Oscar was from here
South Korea
If you tunnelled through the Earth starting from Wellington, New Zealand, you would come out in this country
In 1966, under the increasingly erratic rule of its 13th Sultan, this country banned smoking in public, playing football, wearing sunglasses and speaking to anyone for more than 15 minutes
Its full official name is the longest in the world with 56 characters
United Kingdom
Known in ancient times by a Greek name meaning "Between the Rivers"
Sranan Tongo, a creole language combining English grammar with Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese and West African vocabulary, is widely spoken in this country
Elephants go deep underground in search of salt-rich rocks in mountainous regions of this country
The only country outside Africa where cheetahs live in the wild
Ruled by a junta known as the SLORC from 1988 to 1997
Both the women's and the men's world record for the marathon are held by athletes from this country
Declared independence in 2008 but is still only recognised by just over half the world's countries
In 1884, an absolute legend from this country discovered that if you force water at 88°C through 7g of ground coffee at a pressure of 130 pounds per square inch, you get a tiny cup of magic
Its parliament has 61% female members, the highest of any country
Formed in 1968 from the union of two countries, a large mainland territory and an offshore island
Until 1997, its name included a cardinal direction
Between 1639 and 1853, any citizen who left this country, including fishermen blown off course by accident, could not return.
Its two islands are separated by a 3km-wide strait called The Narrows
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Was invaded by the United States in 1983, ending four years of communist rule
Mozart, Mahler, Schubert and Strauss all came from this country
You can spend this country's money in Singapore and vice versa
Very frequently confused with a similarly-named country to its north
The only Oriental Republic in the world
In almost every town here, you will find a street called O'Higgins
After hyperinflation following World War II, its currency was replaced by a new one at a rate of 1 to 400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
If someone's surname ends in "shvili", they or their forebears almost certainly come from this country
Travelling via ship to this country and then crossing it was the quickest way to get from the eastern United States to the west in the 1850s
Teenagers from this country are on average 8 inches shorter than their contemporaries from the country immediately to the south
North Korea
Both this country and the country that it shares a border with are named after rivers
In 1990, the Prime Minister of this country became the first elected head of government to give birth while in office
Has occupied a large, sparsely inhabited territory to its south since 1975
Europe's only absolute monarchy
Vatican City
Both this country and its northern neighbour claim sovereignty over the Halaib triangle, but neither country wants sovereignty of the neighbouring Bir-Tawil triangle
The most recent country to change its capital, doing so in 2019
This nation gained a compass point in its name in 2019 to distinguish it from a region of a neighbouring country
North Macedonia
Abolished its monarchy in 1946, although the last king was elected Prime Minister some 55 years later
This nation contains some of the highest mountains in the world, but mountaineering above 6,000m is banned
The Akan people of this country often name their children after the day of the week on which they were born
Has the most Formula One world champions per capita of any nation
Its name means "South"
Women in this country often wear bowler hats
Abolished its army after a brief but bloody civil war in 1948
Costa Rica
The home of voodoo
According to the quiz on world countries, this is the least known country in the world.
Sao Tome and Principe
Home of the dodo until 1662
The Vatican has a Catholic Bishop as ex officio head of state, and so does this country
Level 81
May 5, 2024
If you enjoyed this quiz, try the sequel!
Level 54
Jul 21, 2022
This is hands-down one of the best tests on this site I have played so far, but I have a few criticisms:

1. The fact about Czechia is subjective, could apply to other countries and you could definitely find a better one

2. You cannot reasonably say "Kyrgyzstan" is 90 per cent consonants. The "y" in this word is not used to make the consonant sound like in "yellow", but an "i" like in "bit" sound, therefore it's a vowel. I know english considers y a consonant, but in this case, it isn't.

3. I'd say South Africa is equally as generically named as CAR, but that's also subjective

Level 81
Jul 21, 2022
Thanks for the comments! Fair points, but here's why I don't entirely agree:

1. As worded, it sounds a bit subjective, but it's essentially giving you a definition of the word "Bohemian". I'm going to adjust the question though.

2. I completely agree that "y" is, linguistically speaking, a vowel in Kyrgyzstan. But in common parlance it isn't. I'm going to leave that one for the moment.

3. Yeah, when I was reading the questions again the other day I thought that was a possibility. But I decided that "Republic" is definitely more generic a noun than "Africa"!

Level 67
Jul 21, 2022
The largest czech region is Bohemia - and it's a play on word, it refers to the double meaning of "bohemian"

I thought it was very nicely formulated :)

Level 60
Jul 21, 2022
Agree with rwwt on 1 & 2, with vargzum on 3
Level 60
Jul 21, 2022
Is there a world of difference between Tonga meaning "southwards" and Australia meaning "southern lands"? And I reckon anyone getting Gambia is copy/pasting the still-yellow countries at the end of the quiz. I'm sure you could find a better clue.
Level 81
Jul 21, 2022
I would say there is a significant difference. "Australia" is derived from a word meaning south, but tonga in Tongan literally means "south". As for Gambia, I dare say I could find a better clue. But my intention was that some clues would be very easy and some would be verging on ludicrous, exactly so that one could probably only get them by a process of elimination. If anyone has got Gambia directly from its clue, I am impressed :)
Level 69
Jul 21, 2022
Also the Gambia clue doesn't work if you pronounce it rhotically with the R
Level 81
Jul 21, 2022
True, hadn't thought of that. I will rethink that clue!
Level 50
Jul 21, 2022
This quiz is amazing! One thing: the layout is a bit of a pain for mobile, but i don't know how you could fix that.
Level 81
Jul 21, 2022
Thank you! I haven't looked at it on mobile, I'll see if there's any way to improve it.
Level 73
Jul 21, 2022
Things I disliked:

"Commonly confused with its south-/north-ern neighbor*". Commonly confused by whom? And depending on that answer, anything from North/South Korea to the Congos to Zambia/Zimbabwe to even like Canada/USA could be a plausible answer. *I realize that the clue does not actually use the word neighbor, but that is what I took it to mean, and not restricting it to neighbors actually only creates more plausible answers. Definitely my least favorite questions.

I would also consider whether South Africa is less generically named than the answer there. (Tied?)

Could use *slightly* fewer football questions. 2 or 3 seems like enough.

Seconded on the Kyrgyzstan issue. The clue is very easy to guess but feels a bit off.

And the other question I strongly disliked was about New York. While not technically wrong, the spirit of the question implies several untruths. The island of Run is as least as important, and it is not like the city couldn't have been built elsewhere.

Level 73
Jul 21, 2022
Things I liked:

Great job mixing difficulties on the questions. Some of these seemed obvious, some I knew instantly and felt good about knowing, some I could work out or use elimination, some I had absolutely 0 idea what they were talking about.

"Administered as two separate entities", New Moscow, "Inexplicably gives its name", "Until 1997, it's name included a cardinal direction", Skeleton Coast, Oriental Republic, Crna Gora, Five and half-fourth, Namesake lake, Canaan Banana, The Guardian misspellings, O'Higgins streets, all were clues I really loved. Keep them.

I also liked the -shvili clue, although you wrote "descendents" when you meant "ancestors".

Was worried about how you could reliably calculate "least-visited", but the answer was one of my top 4 guesses, so that helped. Just keep in mind that in any single given year, some countries (often) have effectively 0 visitors, so it's more of a long-term thing. But this answer certainly works.

Level 81
Jul 22, 2022
Thanks for the comments! I'm going to stick to my guns on the similarly-named countries. I originally wanted to make a question out of the claim that their embassies in the US have to regularly exchange mail addressed to the wrong one. The tale is apocryphal, but confusion certainly exists. The alternatives you say could fit are all neighbours, where the questions deliberately do not say "neighbouring". Also USA and Canada are not similar names. So, that one stays!

Also sticking to my guns on South Africa. If it was called "South African Country" then it would win, but "Republic" is a more generic word than "Africa".

I have three questions about football plus one that mentions it. I'm afraid I like combined football/geography trivia too much to remove any of them.

I never expected Kyrgyzstan to be the most controversial question. The opinions are split 2v2. Next comment decides!

Level 81
Jul 22, 2022
New York though, I agree. It amuses me a bit that an area of sparsely-populated jungle was swapped for what became a global cultural and economic powerhouse, but on reflection, colonialism-related amusement is not actually very amusing. Going to change that one.

Fixed the blunder in the "-shvili" question - thanks for pointing that out!

Oh and the least visited country is according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization 2018 report.

Thanks again for the comments!

Level 73
Jul 22, 2022
Mauritania/Mauritius are probably the most confusingly-similar named countries. The main thing I dislike about the clues, though, is that if you explicitly knew that that particular pair of countries were frequently confused for each other, you still would not have a great shot at answering it.

The problem about those Tourism data is that they often simply don't collect data for the countries that have the lowest numbers. Libya, for example, has been nearly un-visitable since the civil war began, but it's very likely just a null data point. Of course, in the more long term, Libya is not going to stay anywhere near the bottom once peace is eventually restored, so I'm not too worried about that. Nauru is the one that concerns me, as its annual tourism is stated to be around 200, but it is also often left off of those lists as well.

Anyway, it's your quiz, but those ones are ones I would definitely consider changing. Thanks for the reply!

Level 78
Jul 22, 2022
A wonderful and entertaining quiz with lots of fun facts I’ve never heard of before (e.g. the O’Higgins, hamster and Jordan TV censorship clues). I’d second evilcheeser on the “frequently confused” clues. Can’t tell for sure, but the “Dinner for One” clue could be true for Austria and Switzerland as well as it’s been aired there at least 4 times every year for decades (on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day). Speaking of troubles with counting: quatre-vingt-dix-sept (true but complicated)
Level 81
Jul 28, 2022
8 inches should be changed to 8 centimeters
Level 81
Jul 28, 2022
I got that question from a source that definitely said inches, but the link is now dead, and I see other sources disagree. I will assess the literature and update the question!
Level 63
Feb 15, 2023
For the "Australia" entry, the Queen never dismissed the Prime Minister. The Governer General did however dismiss the Prime Minister in 1975.
Level 81
Feb 15, 2023
Well, the Governor-General exercised power that was vested in the Queen so I think it's a constitutionally debatable point. The year was definitely incorrect though. I will adjust that question!
Level 65
Dec 4, 2023
For the "reptile on flag" question, wouldn't the thunder dragon on Bhutan's flag count? And there's the argument that all birds are reptiles so that adds a bunch more options. Maybe limit it to real life non-avian reptiles to narrow it down to the intended answer?

Great quiz, taught me new bits of trivia, nominated.

Level 71
Dec 28, 2023
Really interesting quiz. I would love it if you made a shorter version choosing maybe 20 - 30 clues at random.
Level 81
Dec 28, 2023
Already did that :)