What a Wonderful World, Part II
I’m leaving later this week for a couple of weeks overseas, so the world is on my brain. Not literally; that would hurt.
I’ve been staring at maps, which has brought back memories from my extensive geography knowledge—the result of an unfortunate childhood obsession with atlases.
Hey, don’t mock me. It’s better than playing with dolls.
So I'm following up my post from about a year ago about our wonderful world with a few geographical factoids that you might find interesting.
Or not. But at least you’ll learn something.
Family-named countries: Only two countries still have names in English reflecting their founding dynasties: Saudi Arabia (the Al Saud) and Liechtenstein (Liechtenstein).
Oddly enough, the Liechtenstein family takes its name from a castle in Lower Austria, not from the area where today’s Liechtenstein sits.
Landlocked countries. The world has more than 40 countries without direct ocean access, ranging alphabetically from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and geographically from Bolivia to Mongolia.
Only two are “double landlocked,” meaning they border only other landlocked countries: Liechtenstein and Uzbekistan.
Muslim populations: If you assume Muslims are Arabs and vice versa, wise up. The most populous Islamic country, with around 200 million Muslims, is Indonesia—almost as far from the center of the Arab world as the United States is.
Next in line are Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Turkey—not one of which is Arab, and one of which (India) is a majority Hindu country but still has a huge Muslim minority.
If you’re curious, Liechtenstein has about 1,400 Muslims.
Now a question for you:
What is your favorite country name—and why?