In this week’s Travel Tuesday feature, we’re continuing our trip around the globe, starting off in Haiti. Although there are 196 countries in the world, we’ve taken a bit of a wider look and included other independent or semi-dependent territories in the world.
So buckle up and sit tight – this is around the world in 235 facts, continuing from fact 90.
Haiti is one of two countries that share the island of Hispaniola. This country is allocated one third of this Caribbean island, while the Dominican Republic is located on the remaining two thirds of the island.
Where Haiti shares an island with another country, Honduras, on the other hand, has split its capital between two cities, Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela.
93. Hong Kong
Although Hong Kong functions somewhat independent of its ‘master’ as a sovereign state, it is an autonomous territory of China. It is the world’s most competitive economy, according to the World Competitiveness Yearbook.
In 1946 Hungary issued banknotes with a 1 000 000 000 000 000 000 pegno (1 quintillion) which is the highest denomination banknote ever produced. The ballpoint pen was invented in Hungary by László Bíró.
Are you good with elves and fairies? Well, then you may just land yourself a job as an elf arbitrator. No jokes! The Icelandic people have such a strong belief in elves and their magical powers that they often report on elfish mischief like malfunctioning bulldozers on construction sites.
Do you like your rain? Well, citizens of Mawsynram in northern India may want to swap places with you for a wee bit. In this north-eastern town of India you can expect an average annual rainfall of 11 872 millimetres – which is why it is known as the wettest place on earth.
Indonesia is part of the Pacific Rim or Ring of Fire. The country has 400 volcanoes of which 150 are active and attribute to 75% of the world’s active volcanoes. Indonesians love their badminton and has won most of their Olympic medals in this sport.
Iran holds 10% of the world’s oil reserves and pumps nearly 4 million barrels of oil per day. The country also holds 50% of the Caspian sea caviar market. If you’re a man in Iran and either choose to or cannot find a wife, then you’ll stay with your family for the rest of your life and earn the title na-mard, which means ‘not-men’.
As with most Muslim countries, it’s offensive to eat with your left hand in Iraq. If you admire someone’s possessions, it’s best not to say anything about it, as the owners may insist that you take the item – it’s part of proper etiquette in this country.
Although people stereotypically see the Irish as natural ‘gingers’, only about 9% of the Irish population are natural redheads. The country has the 2nd highest consumption of beer per capita per year.
Israel is home to the largest known dog cemetery in the ancient world, which was discovered in the coastal city of Ashkelon. Voicemail technology was developed in Israel, as well as the first antivirus computer software.
Italy is well known for its luxuries. World famous fashion brands include Armani, Gucci, Prada and Versace as well as supercars like the Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati, Pagani and Alfa Romeo.
103. Ivory Coast
If you like your chocolate, you must thank Ivory Coast as they are the largest producer of cocoa beans in the world (33%). The country is also one of the largest producers of coffee in the world.
Although Jamaica was the first Caribbean nation to gain independence from the British Commonwealth (1962), they still view Queen Elizabeth II as their queen, although only for the sake of tradition.
Until 2015, late night dancing was illegal in Japan. Known as one of the countries with the highest life-expectancy, Japan has more than 50 000 people who are over the age of 100 year.
Jordan is host to the city of Petra, one of the Wonders of the World. The city was carved out of rock 2 000 years ago and can only be reached through a narrow gorge of 1.25 km.
Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked country in the world but has a very low population density with only about 6 people per square kilometre. There are very few people who speak English, and they don’t have freedom of the press.
Kenya makes most of its money through coffee exports and tourism. Despite this fact, coffee is not generally consumed in Kenya and locals favour tea or beer. The country generally only has two seasons – a rainy season and a dry season.
Kiribati is the only nation in the world which falls in all 4 hemispheres. It is also the country which is the furthest ahead of Greenwich meantime (GMT 14+). Although the country is only the 187th largest in the world, its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is larger than India.
Kosovo is a self-declared independent country situated in the Balkans region of Europe, but Serbia, Russia and other countries still don’t recognise its independence. The country is great for tourists as the locals are known to be extremely honest and helpful, it’s also affordable and has over 50 peaks over 2000 m for the avid adventurer.
Known as one of the hottest countries in the world, Kuwait has an average rainfall of a mere 2 days per year – in fact, they have more sandstorms than rain. The country is comprised of nine islands which are rich in oil reserves.
Kyrgyzstan has some of the world’s largest natural walnut forests. The meaning of Kyrgyz is ‘forty’ and is said to stem from forty families or clans which initially made up the nation. Most cars on the road double as taxis if you’re willing to pay a fee.
With over 50% of the country covered in forest, Latvia is known as one of the most environmentally friendly places in the world (2nd overall). The country also has one of the highest rates of fashion models per capita. Next time you put on your pair of jeans, thank Latvian-Jewish tailor Jakobs Jufess who invented the jeans.
The country’s name has remained unchanged for over 4 000 years, and is known as the oldest country name in the world. The world’s first ever law school was founded in Beirut.
Lesotho is the country with the highest low point above sea level at 1 500 metres. Approximately two third of the country consists of mountains and is home to the Katse Dam, which is the highest dam in Africa.
Liberia holds the record for the longest stable rule by a single political party in the world. from 1877 to 1980 the True Whig Party ruled the country. The country’s ranking on the world Corruption Perception Index fell from 150th in 2007 t 83rd making it one of the countries with the most drastic positive change with regards to corruption in the world.
Located in northern Africa, Libya is known as one of the top 10 oil-rich countries in the world – 97% of the country’s exports are in this sector. 90% of the country is covered in desert. Although it is a predominantly Islamic country, it is also home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world, dating back to approximately 300 BC.
Liechtenstein has one of the world’s lowest crime rates, with the last murder occurring in 1997. Prisoners who need to be in prison for longer than two years are transferred to penitentiaries in Austria. The country was once accidentally invaded by Switzerland, although no one in Lichtenstein noticed and the soldiers soon discovered their mistake.
According to a Geographical study, Lithuania is the exact geographical centre of Europe. The language is more ancient than Greek, Latin, German, Celtic or Slave languages and its closest relative is Sanskrit.
Luxembourg is the country with the highest nominal GDP per capita worldwide and is used as a tax haven by many people internationally. The country also boasts with the lowest unemployment and highest minimum legal salary in Europe.
95% of Macau’s population is of Chinese descent, but the region also boasts Portuguese descent due to the fact that it was returned to Chinese control by Portugal in 1999. The region enjoy a high degree of autonomy, except for foreign and defense matters.
Although just off the coast of Africa, Madagascar has a unique biodiversity and 90% of its wildlife is indigenous and only found within country borders. Unlike many other third world countries in the world, Madagascar views its animals, and in particular its lemurs, as sacred.
Rather not wear your shorts when walking around in Malawi, as this may make people treat you like a child. This piece of clothing is considered suitable for children only. With the exception of Denmark, it’s the only country in the world with a Carlsberg factory.
Malaysia is the only country in the world that includes both mainland and island territories. The largest cave chamber in the world can be found in the Gunung Mulu National Park in Malaysia’s Sarawak.
Since the country is located in and among water, climate change is a real threat to its livelihood, which is why President Mohamed Nasheed moved its October 2009 cabinet meeting underwater. They literally strapped on scuba gear and descended to sunken desks to raise awareness for the dangers of climate change.
Mansa Musa, the emperor of the Mali Empire in the 1 300s, was so lavish, he left gold among his travels. And not just a little – it is said that the amount of gold he left inadvertently caused widespread inflation in the regions that he passed.
If you know your literature, you will be acquainted with Homer’s the Odyssey. Homer is said to have written this epic inside the Calypso Cave in Malta. Malta consists of three islands; Gozo, Comino and Malta.
128. Marshall Islands
The names of the two islands groups comprising Marshall Islands is Ratak Chain and Ralik Chain, meaning sunrise and sunset. One of its islands, Elugelab, was blown up by the US Armed Forces in 1952 during a bomb test and disappeared completely. The only indigenous land mammal is the Polynesian rat.
Martinique, which was discovered by Columbus in 1493, was seized by France and subsequently became a department and then a region of France. The island has a cool temperature with a 5 degree difference in winter and summer temperatures.
Mauritania is the only currency other than Madagascar that doesn’t use a decimal system. It has one of the world’s longest trains – a whopping three kilometres long. From space, there is a clear bull’s eye image called the Eye of Africa, although experts are still scratching heads over whether it’s of geographical, archaeological or scientific significance.
About 80% of Mauritius is occupied by sugar cane plantations, even though the country is mainly known for its tourism. The country has no wild animals or poisonous snakes, so it’s relatively safe to go exploring.
Mayotte is the only island in the Comoros archipelago which chose to retain its link to France and cede its independence. It is known for growing coffee, coconuts, cinnamon, vanilla and ylang-ylang, though most of its trade comes from construction and fish processing.
Mexico is one of the first countries in the world to introduce chocolate, corn and chillies to the world trade. It’s known as one of the most religious countries in the world – second only to Brazil in the number of Catholic citizens.
Monaco is the second smallest city in the world after Vatican City. Its constitutional monarchy/principality is ruled by the oldest ruling house in Europe, a descendant of the Grimaldi family. Without an heir, Monaco was almost set to lose their independence to France, but was saved by the last bell – a treaty between the two countries.
The country known as Mongolia encapsulates Inner Mongolia, which is an autonomous region of China. It is the most sparsely populated nation in the world, with only 2 people per square kilometre of land.
The Grand Canyon of Tara River is known as the deepest canyon in Europe, at 1 300 metres deep, and it is found in Montenegro. Famous movie star, Brad Pitt, made his first lead acting premier in a film called Dark Side of the Sun, which was filmed in Montenegro in 1988.
This British territory is located in the Leeward Islands and resembles Ireland. The key economic sectors on Montserrat are construction and government services. It has the oldest registered choir in Europe – having been registered in the 14th century.
Morocco is a mere 13 kilometres from Europe via the Strait of Gibraltar. It is home to the highest ski resort in Africa, although the actual snowfall in this region rarely exceeds 20 cm. The colour of mourning in Morocco is white, and not black.
The Bazarut Archipelago off the coast of Mozambique is known as the largest marine reserve in the Indian Ocean. It is the only country in the world which has a modern weapon on its flag.
140. Myanmar (Burma)
Myanmar is one of the countries which has been under modern military rule the longest, having been under military control since a coup d’état in 1962. More than half the country’s GDP is attributed to agriculture.
That’s it for this week’s edition of around the world in 235 facts. Check in again next week where we’ll cover some more amazing world trivia.