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Learning all the Countries in the World (Part I): Africa

July 10th, 2024
· 3 min read ·
Geography
Learning

Inspired by my girlfriend and my brother, who are both somewhat huge geography buffs, I’ve decided to challenge myself to learn all the countries in the world. I would say I already have decent geography knowledge, but compared to them, I’m still in noob territory. The end goal is to be able to complete the “Countries of the World”-quiz on Jetpunk.

I started with Africa because it’s such a huge continent that I know embarrassingly little about.

Whenever I have trouble remembering a country, I usually look it up on Wikipedia and try to find one interesting fact about that state, that helps me form a better mental connection.

So here is my list of interesting facts about some countries in Africa:

Over 90 percent of the Algerian population lives along the Mediterranean coast (that is only 12% of the total land mass).

Botswana has been very successful economically recently and has been dubbed the “Switzerland of Africa”. It’s also the oldest democracy in Africa.

Burkina Faso has Ouagadougou as their capital (my grandmother taught me this at a very young age, and it stuck with me ever since because it sounds so iconic).

Djibouti has many foreign military bases because of its strategic location on one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.

Equatorial Guinea is the only country on the continent that has Spanish as their official language.

Eswatini used to be called Swaziland until 2018. One of the reasons was because foreigners apparently confused it with Switzerland. The official spelling is eSwatini.

Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country on earth.

The Gambia is the smallest country in continental Africa and named after the Gambia River. It wanted to merge with Senegal at one point (Senegambia Confederation).

I found this interesting video, that explains, why there are so many Guineas: Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea and also Papua New Guinea in Oceania.

Liberia was the first African republic to proclaim its independence.

Sierra Leone’s capital is Freetown, which is essentially the same name as Gabon’s capital Libreville, just in English instead of French.

Within Somalia, there is the unrecognized country Somaliland.

South Sudan is the youngest country in the world (2011) and plans to have a new capital, that doesn’t even exist yet (Ramciel).

Sudan has more pyramids than Egypt.

Tanzania is the result of the union between the former states Tanganyika and Zanzibar.

Uganda is where the Nile originates.

Do you have any more interesting facts about African countries that you want to share with me? Please send them my way!

See you in the next note about the next continent I’m gonna tackle: Asia.

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