Monday, July 28, 2008

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?


At July 28, 2008 10:22 PM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

Twice in a year I'm first to comment!!!! Yeehaa!! I like Andorra, it just sounds pretty. Liechtenstein has more corporations than people, and is also the false teeth producing capital of Europe. Just thought I'd throw some trivia out there for you.

At July 28, 2008 10:50 PM, Blogger Jim replied to my musings ...

Texas :)

At July 29, 2008 12:29 AM, Blogger Barbara(aka Layla) replied to my musings ...

I was typing reports today at work and several "stan" countries came up. I like the name Tajikistan because its fun to say. Have fun in your travels and don't forget your passsport!

At July 29, 2008 6:38 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Mike: Those are some great factoids. I'll never forget the false teeth one!

Jim: I assume you're referring to Tejas.

Bar: My favorite of the stans is probably Kerplakistan.

At July 29, 2008 7:43 AM, Blogger Dear Jane replied to my musings ...

I am glad nobody else took mine already...David, I am going to put all my money on Djibouti ...for the obvious Booty connotations

At July 29, 2008 7:44 AM, Blogger Dear Jane replied to my musings ...

oh and have a great trip! business or pleasure?

At July 29, 2008 10:57 AM, Blogger Nessa replied to my musings ...

Very interesting factoids. Stuff I did not know. We have a foreign exchange college student from Uzbekistan working for us this summer. My favoite country name would be a deserted island on which I live alone way out in the darkness of space. Yes, I'm feeling a tad antisocial today.

At July 29, 2008 12:35 PM, Blogger cube replied to my musings ...

The USA because it is the best nation on the planet.

At July 29, 2008 2:45 PM, Blogger Jeff replied to my musings ...

I always thought Kazakstan (probably butchering the spelling) was an awesome name, and then Borat came and ran with it. Mozambique is another pretty cool name for a country. Sticking with Africa, I also like Rwanda. I should probably stop now before I get carried away.

At July 29, 2008 6:13 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Jane: A fine choice--one of my favorites! The trip is pleasure, although I'll certainly be doing some writing for a book and a short story I'm developing.

Nessa: I'm glad I'm not the only one finding these things interesting. Your location isn't a country--it's a distant dwarf planet like Pluto.

Cube: I can't argue with that!!

Jeff: I've seen it spelled that way; usually it's written as Kazakhstan. Mozambique is another great one--and I just mentioned it a few posts ago! Rwanda doesn't do anything for me, sorry.

At July 29, 2008 7:44 PM, Anonymous whatigotsofar replied to my musings ...

My favourite nation is Xextj. It is a small nation with a population of 1. It existed briefly on July 29th, 2008 just north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (In case you're curios, Xextj is the word verification word required to post this comment.)

At July 30, 2008 2:04 PM, Blogger angel, jr. replied to my musings ...

Wow you get to travel!! Very fun!

At July 30, 2008 4:00 PM, Blogger Nessa replied to my musings ...

David: Pluto is not a planet, it's a cartoon dog.

At July 30, 2008 5:51 PM, Anonymous Bruce replied to my musings ...

Tell the average person on the street that there are Muslims living elsewhere besides the Middle East and Afghanistan, they probably wouldn't believe you.
My favorite country name- Turks and Caicos Islands. Why? The Capital city is Cockburn Town. Need I say more?

At July 31, 2008 10:34 AM, Blogger Jessica replied to my musings ...

Cube took mine! :) Simple and to the point!

Have fun on your travels...lucky you you're always going somewhere.

At August 01, 2008 7:40 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

WIGSF: Funny, that microstate has no Wikipeida entry. It must be an oversight.

Angel: I can't complain about that.

Nessa: To me, Pluto will always be a god of the underworld.

Bruce: Sad but true. Excellent point on the Turks and Caicos territory. I'm partial to the "capital" of another non-country/territory--the Arctic's Svalbard, with its man city of Longyearbyen.

Jessica: Damn that Cube! It's good to travel, I agree.

At August 01, 2008 9:15 AM, Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen replied to my musings ...

Yeah...despite the economy, we got it pretty good here in the land of little pink houses, don't we?

"Aint that america, home of the free
Little pink houses for you and me"

Sappy? Sure is. True? You bet!


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