Saturday, August 2, 2014
25 Obscure World Facts
There are almost 200 countries in the world. Even if you are a knowledgeable global citizen, I'll bet there are some items on this list that will be new to you. There are two countries that made it on the list twice (does not include honorable mentions, which are not listed here)—Canada for #6 and #19, and Russia at #3 and #17.
My disclaimer—this list was sent to me in an email and is a couple of years old. I have not personally checked out these facts or updated the list.
25) Covers The Most Time Zones:
This honor goes to France, covering 12 time zones (when you include everything such as overseas territories). The United States is next with 11 time zones, then Russia with 9 time zones.
24) Most Likely To Disappear Beneath The Waves:
With global warming and rising sea levels, the residents of the Maldives will be the first to suffer this fate. Their nation is the lowest on earth with an average height of only 1.8 meters (approx. 5.85 feet) above sea level.
23) Most Overweight Population:
More than 95% of the population of the small island nation of Nauru is overweight. This is primarily attributed to the importation of western fast food.
22) Roads Made Of Coral:
Guam doesn't have any natural sand, therefore, the island nation makes its asphalt using a mix of ground up coral and oil rather than importing sand.
21) 350 Sheep For Every Person:
The Falkland Islands' population is about 3000 people and half a million sheep. Needless to say, the major export is wool.
20) Oldest Sovereign State:
Depending on your definition of sovereign state (first acquisition of sovereignty) then Egypt is the winner based on the formation of the first dynasty in 3100 BC.
19) Most Lakes In The World:
Canada can claim this honor with over 3 million lakes (9% of the country) being fresh water and over 60% of all the lakes in the world within its borders.
18) Least Likely Place To Meet Your Neighbor:
With a population of only 4 people per square mile, Mongolia is the least populated country on Earth. The Mong Kok district of Hong Kong has the highest population density in the world with 340,000 people per square mile.
17) Largest Number Of Military Tanks:
Russia has the most tanks of any army in the world (21,000). However, most of these are outdated. The United States has an inventory of 16,000 tanks but they are much more advanced.
16) The Land With No Rivers:
You would think that a country as big as Saudi Arabia would have some sort of flowing water. Well, you'd be wrong. Most of their fresh water comes from desalinization plants or underground reservoirs.
15) Youngest Population:
This is calculated by determining the portion of the population that is younger than 15 years old. The current holder of this distinction is Niger with 49% of its population meeting this criteria.
14) Most Diverse Country:
Culturally, economically, climatically, racially, linguistically, ethnically, and religiously…the winner seems to be India.
13) Fastest Disappearing:
With a decrease in population of .8% annually, between now and the year 2050 the Ukraine is expected to lose approximately 30% of its population.
12) Most Of Its Citizens Live Abroad:
Rough economic times combined with an increased birth rate resulted in large numbers of people leaving Malta so that now there are more Maltese living abroad than within the country.
11) Smaller Than Central Park In New York City:
Although Vatican City is smaller in land size (.17 square mile) than Monaco (.8 square mile), it doesn't have any permanent residents which makes Monaco the smallest permanently inhabited nation in the world.
10) Almost Entirely Covered In Jungle:
Suriname has 91% of its land covered in jungle. Half a million residents live primarily along the coast near the capital with only 5% of the population living inland.
9) Almost Entirely Treeless:
On the opposite end of the scale from Suriname is Haiti. The country has been so badly deforested that you can actually see where the border is between Haiti and the Dominican Republic in a satellite image.
8) Largest Country With No Farms:
There are a number of small nations in the world that have no hint of an agriculture based economy (such as Vatican City), Singapore is the largest of these urban city-states.
7) Most Languages Spoken:
English is its official language, but only 1-2% of the population of Papua New Guinea actually speak it. It's the most linguistically diverse country in the world with over 820 languages (12% of the world's total) spoken there.
6) Most Educated People:
Canada easily has the most educated population in the world with 50% of its people having been educated at the post secondary level. Israel is next with 45% followed by Japan at 44%.
5) The "Country Desert":
99% of Libya is covered in desert and is one of the most arid places in the world. Some regions of the country can go decades without a single drop of rain.
4) Least Peaceful Nation:
Although for the last 3 years Iraq has been ranked as the least peaceful country, the Global Peace Index has declared that in this year Somalia moved up to the top spot.
3) Produces Most Of The World's Oxygen:
Approximately 25% of the world's forests are in Siberia spanning an area larger than the continental United States which makes Russia the largest converter of carbon dioxide into breathable air.
2) Largest Opium Producer:
Afghanistan produces a whopping 95% of the world's opium. Not even 10 years of occupation by American forces has been able to slow down this industry.
1) Most People Behind Bars:
This dubious honor belongs to the United States. We have 2.2 million people behind bars. We have 5% of the world's population but 25% of the world's incarcerated population. [Do we literally have more than our share of criminals or are we more efficient at capturing and prosecuting them?]