I wonder about things sometimes, as I assume most people do. I wonder what people who scream bloody murder about switching to, or away from, daylight saving time gripe about the other 363 days of the year?
I wonder why so many people, including yours truly, take their “mood cues” from the weather? Give me a sunny, blue sky day and the world is a beautiful place. Let some clouds roll in and we all just need to pack it in and wait for them to go away.
One thing I’ve always wondered is just how many countries are in the world. A Google check shows there are 195 and one of them is called Holy See. I have no idea what that is or any desire to find out. But they refuse to join the United Nations, for what that’s worth.
I had never really given any thought to how many countries are in the world until I was watching an episode of the TV show “The Office” and somebody said 150 countries were on board with some plan. The clueless manager of the company looked befuddled and said, “That can’t be right. There’s only, like, 25 countries in the entire world.”
I knew that wasn’t right but I didn’t bother to check (Google wasn’t really a big thing yet), and I came across various things that gave the number as everything from 150 to 235 countries.
All that led to another question. What is the largest country in the world? Not in terms of population or financial things, but simply in terms of land mass. You can probably guess who’s number one (and it’s not the United States), but let’s start with number 10, courtesy of the World Atlas.
10. Algeria, at 2.38 million square kilometers (1.47 million miles), is the tenth-largest country in the world by area and the only African country in the top 10. Quick, where is it located in Africa?
9. Kazakhstan’s 2.72 million square kilometers (1.41 million miles) stretch over vast plains and highlands. A cool and dry, but not quite desert-like, climate prevails for most of the year. Be honest, you thought this was a fictional country made up for spy movies. Or was that just me?
8. Argentina, the world’s 32nd most populous country, is the world’s eighth largest, and the largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world by area. Its 2.78 million square kilometers (1.72 million miles) include some of the most varied geography and climate in the world. I know what you’re thinking. South America, right?
7. India’s boundaries have changed quite a few times over the past century, and even still, India claims that the northern region of Kashmir (an area disputed with Pakistan) belongs under Indian control completely. As it stands, without Kashmir, India’s territory stretches for 3.29 million square kilometers (2.44 million miles). Finally, a country we’ve all heard of and know where it’s at! Maybe …
6. Australia. The approximately 4.4 million square kilometer difference between Australia and India represents the second-largest size difference between countries ranked consecutively in the top 10. Australia, at around 7.69 million square kilometers (4.77 million miles), is over twice the size of India. Now, we’re getting to the big boys.
5. Brazil. The largest country in South America at over 8.51 million square kilometers (5.28 million miles), Brazil plays home to much of the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon. The Amazon is so dense and vast explorers have found human civilizations that had never made contact with the outside world. And you can order some really cool stuff from it!
4. China, the United States of America, and Canada each occupy just under seven percent of the globe’s surface. Of these three, China is the smallest—just barely—at approximately 9.6 million square kilometers (5.9 million miles). It shares a border with 14 different countries, including Afghanistan to the east, Russia to the north, and Vietnam to the south.
3. The United States, just bigger than China but slightly smaller than Canada, occupies 9.63 million square kilometers (5.9 million miles). Bordered by Mexico to the south, and Canada to the north, the United States is home to a diverse array of geography and wildlife. What the? Number 3! I demand a recount!
2. Canada’s 9.984 million square kilometers (6.2 million miles) make it the largest country in the western hemisphere, and its 202,080 kilometer coastline means that it has a longer shoreline than any other nation. With a population density of 4 people per square kilometer, this means that each of Canada’s 35 million people could have 61 acres for themselves. Eh, most of it’s frozen and miserable.
1. Russia’s 17.1 million square kilometres easily make it the world’s largest by area. In fact, if Russia were to lop off 7 million square kilometers, it would still be the largest—and the lopped-off section would rank seventh overall. I know, boooo! Unless you’re republican, then you can cheer (I’m kidding, I’m kidding!).
There you have it. You now know there are 195 countries and what the 10 biggest are. You’re smarter than a made up TV character.