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Geography - note (2007)

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Informations about Geography - note in 2007 year

AfghanistanAfghanistan landlocked; the Hindu Kush mountains that run northeast to southwest divide the northern provinces from the rest of the country; the highest peaks are in the northern Vakhan (Wakhan Corridor)
AkrotiriAkrotiri British extraterritorial rights also extended to several small off-post sites scattered across Cyprus
AlbaniaAlbania strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)
AlgeriaAlgeria second-largest country in Africa (after Sudan)
American SamoaAmerican Samoa Pago Pago has one of the best natural deepwater harbors in the South Pacific Ocean, sheltered by shape from rough seas and protected by peripheral mountains from high winds; strategic location in the South Pacific Ocean
AndorraAndorra landlocked; straddles a number of important crossroads in the Pyrenees
AngolaAngola the province of Cabinda is an exclave, separated from the rest of the country by the Democratic Republic of the Congo
AnguillaAnguilla the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles
AntarcticaAntarctica the coldest, windiest, highest (on average), and driest continent; during summer, more solar radiation reaches the surface at the South Pole than is received at the Equator in an equivalent period; mostly uninhabitable
Antigua and BarbudaAntigua and Barbuda Antigua has a deeply indented shoreline with many natural harbors and beaches; Barbuda has a very large western harbor
Arctic OceanArctic Ocean major chokepoint is the southern Chukchi Sea (northern access to the Pacific Ocean via the Bering Strait); strategic location between North America and Russia; shortest marine link between the extremes of eastern and western Russia; floating research stations operated by the US and Russia; maximum snow cover in March or April about 20 to 50 centimeters over the frozen ocean; snow cover lasts about 10 months
ArgentinaArgentina second-largest country in South America (after Brazil); strategic location relative to sea lanes between the South Atlantic and the South Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage); diverse geophysical landscapes range from tropical climates in the north to tundra in the far south; Cerro Aconcagua is the Western Hemisphere's tallest mountain, while Laguna del Carbon is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere
ArmeniaArmenia landlocked in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains; Sevana Lich (Lake Sevan) is the largest lake in this mountain range
ArubaAruba a flat, riverless island renowned for its white sand beaches; its tropical climate is moderated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean; the temperature is almost constant at about 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit)
Ashmore and Cartier IslandsAshmore and Cartier Islands Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve established in August 1983
Atlantic OceanAtlantic Ocean major chokepoints include the Dardanelles, Strait of Gibraltar, access to the Panama and Suez Canals; strategic straits include the Strait of Dover, Straits of Florida, Mona Passage, The Sound (Oresund), and Windward Passage; the Equator divides the Atlantic Ocean into the North Atlantic Ocean and South Atlantic Ocean
AustraliaAustralia world's smallest continent but sixth-largest country; population concentrated along the eastern and southeastern coasts; the invigorating sea breeze known as the "Fremantle Doctor" affects the city of Perth on the west coast, and is one of the most consistent winds in the world
AustriaAustria landlocked; strategic location at the crossroads of central Europe with many easily traversable Alpine passes and valleys; major river is the Danube; population is concentrated on eastern lowlands because of steep slopes, poor soils, and low temperatures elsewhere
AzerbaijanAzerbaijan both the main area of the country and the Naxcivan exclave are landlocked
Bahamas, TheBahamas, The strategic location adjacent to US and Cuba; extensive island chain of which 30 are inhabited
BahrainBahrain close to primary Middle Eastern petroleum sources; strategic location in Persian Gulf, through which much of the Western world's petroleum must transit to reach open ocean
Baker IslandBaker Island treeless, sparse, and scattered vegetation consisting of grasses, prostrate vines, and low growing shrubs; primarily a nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat for seabirds, shorebirds, and marine wildlife
BangladeshBangladesh most of the country is situated on deltas of large rivers flowing from the Himalayas: the Ganges unites with the Jamuna (main channel of the Brahmaputra) and later joins the Meghna to eventually empty into the Bay of Bengal
BarbadosBarbados easternmost Caribbean island
BelarusBelarus landlocked; glacial scouring accounts for the flatness of Belarusian terrain and for its 11,000 lakes
BelgiumBelgium crossroads of Western Europe; majority of West European capitals within 1,000 km of Brussels, the seat of both the European Union and NATO
BelizeBelize only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean
BeninBenin sandbanks create difficult access to a coast with no natural harbors, river mouths, or islands
BermudaBermuda consists of about 138 coral islands and islets with ample rainfall, but no rivers or freshwater lakes; some land was leased by US Government from 1941 to 1995
BhutanBhutan landlocked; strategic location between China and India; controls several key Himalayan mountain passes
BoliviaBolivia landlocked; shares control of Lago Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake (elevation 3,805 m), with Peru
Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina within Bosnia and Herzegovina's recognized borders, the country is divided into a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation (about 51% of the territory) and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska or RS (about 49% of the territory); the region called Herzegovina is contiguous to Croatia and Montenegro, and traditionally has been settled by an ethnic Croat majority in the west and an ethnic Serb majority in the east
BotswanaBotswana landlocked; population concentrated in eastern part of the country
Bouvet IslandBouvet Island covered by glacial ice; declared a nature reserve
BrazilBrazil largest country in South America; shares common boundaries with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador
British Indian Ocean TerritoryBritish Indian Ocean Territory archipelago of 55 islands; Diego Garcia, largest and southernmost island, occupies strategic location in central Indian Ocean; island is site of joint US-UK military facility
British Virgin IslandsBritish Virgin Islands strong ties to nearby US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico
BruneiBrunei close to vital sea lanes through South China Sea linking Indian and Pacific Oceans; two parts physically separated by Malaysia; almost an enclave within Malaysia
BulgariaBulgaria strategic location near Turkish Straits; controls key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia
Burkina FasoBurkina Faso landlocked savanna cut by the three principal rivers of the Black, Red, and White Voltas
BurmaBurma strategic location near major Indian Ocean shipping lanes
BurundiBurundi landlocked; straddles crest of the Nile-Congo watershed; the Kagera, which drains into Lake Victoria, is the most remote headstream of the White Nile
CambodiaCambodia a land of paddies and forests dominated by the Mekong River and Tonle Sap
CameroonCameroon sometimes referred to as the hinge of Africa; throughout the country there are areas of thermal springs and indications of current or prior volcanic activity; Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain in Sub-Saharan west Africa, is an active volcano
CanadaCanada second-largest country in world (after Russia); strategic location between Russia and US via north polar route; approximately 90% of the population is concentrated within 160 km of the US border
Cape VerdeCape Verde strategic location 500 km from west coast of Africa near major north-south sea routes; important communications station; important sea and air refueling site
Cayman IslandsCayman Islands important location between Cuba and Central America
Central African RepublicCentral African Republic landlocked; almost the precise center of Africa
ChadChad landlocked; Lake Chad is the most significant water body in the Sahel
ChileChile strategic location relative to sea lanes between Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage); Atacama Desert is one of world's driest regions
ChinaChina world's fourth largest country (after Russia, Canada, and US); Mount Everest on the border with Nepal is the world's tallest peak
Christmas IslandChristmas Island located along major sea lanes of Indian Ocean
Clipperton IslandClipperton Island reef 12 km in circumference
Cocos (Keeling) IslandsCocos (Keeling) Islands islands are thickly covered with coconut palms and other vegetation
ColombiaColombia only South American country with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea
ComorosComoros important location at northern end of Mozambique Channel
Congo, Democratic Republic of theCongo, Democratic Republic of the straddles equator; has very narrow strip of land that controls the lower Congo River and is only outlet to South Atlantic Ocean; dense tropical rain forest in central river basin and eastern highlands
Congo, Republic of theCongo, Republic of the about 70% of the population lives in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or along the railroad between them
Cook IslandsCook Islands the northern Cook Islands are seven low-lying, sparsely populated, coral atolls; the southern Cook Islands, where most of the population lives, consist of eight elevated, fertile, volcanic isles, including the largest, Rarotonga, at 67 sq km
Coral Sea IslandsCoral Sea Islands important nesting area for birds and turtles
Costa RicaCosta Rica four volcanoes, two of them active, rise near the capital of San Jose in the center of the country; one of the volcanoes, Irazu, erupted destructively in 1963-65
Cote d'IvoireCote d'Ivoire most of the inhabitants live along the sandy coastal region; apart from the capital area, the forested interior is sparsely populated
CroatiaCroatia controls most land routes from Western Europe to Aegean Sea and Turkish Straits; the vast majority of Adriatic Sea islands lie off the coast of Croatia - some 1,200 islands, islets, ridges, and rocks
CubaCuba largest country in Caribbean and westernmost island of the Greater Antilles
CyprusCyprus the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily and Sardinia)
Czech RepublicCzech Republic landlocked; strategically located astride some of oldest and most significant land routes in Europe; Moravian Gate is a traditional military corridor between the North European Plain and the Danube in central Europe
DenmarkDenmark controls Danish Straits (Skagerrak and Kattegat) linking Baltic and North Seas; about one-quarter of the population lives in greater Copenhagen
DhekeliaDhekelia British extraterritorial rights also extended to several small off-post sites scattered across Cyprus
DjiboutiDjibouti strategic location near world's busiest shipping lanes and close to Arabian oilfields; terminus of rail traffic into Ethiopia; mostly wasteland; Lac Assal (Lake Assal) is the lowest point in Africa
DominicaDominica known as "The Nature Island of the Caribbean" due to its spectacular, lush, and varied flora and fauna, which are protected by an extensive natural park system; the most mountainous of the Lesser Antilles, its volcanic peaks are cones of lava craters and include Boiling Lake, the second-largest, thermally active lake in the world
Dominican RepublicDominican Republic shares island of Hispaniola with Haiti
EcuadorEcuador Cotopaxi in Andes is highest active volcano in world
EgyptEgypt controls Sinai Peninsula, only land bridge between Africa and remainder of Eastern Hemisphere; controls Suez Canal, a sea link between Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea; size, and juxtaposition to Israel, establish its major role in Middle Eastern geopolitics; dependence on upstream neighbors; dominance of Nile basin issues; prone to influxes of refugees
El SalvadorEl Salvador smallest Central American country and only one without a coastline on Caribbean Sea
Equatorial GuineaEquatorial Guinea insular and continental regions widely separated
EritreaEritrea strategic geopolitical position along world's busiest shipping lanes; Eritrea retained the entire coastline of Ethiopia along the Red Sea upon de jure independence from Ethiopia on 24 May 1993
EstoniaEstonia the mainland terrain is flat, boggy, and partly wooded; offshore lie more than 1,500 islands
EthiopiaEthiopia landlocked - entire coastline along the Red Sea was lost with the de jure independence of Eritrea on 24 May 1993; the Blue Nile, the chief headstream of the Nile by water volume, rises in T'ana Hayk (Lake Tana) in northwest Ethiopia; three major crops are believed to have originated in Ethiopia: coffee, grain sorghum, and castor bean
Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) deeply indented coast provides good natural harbors; short growing season
Faroe IslandsFaroe Islands archipelago of 17 inhabited islands and one uninhabited island, and a few uninhabited islets; strategically located along important sea lanes in northeastern Atlantic; precipitous terrain limits habitation to small coastal lowlands
FijiFiji includes 332 islands; approximately 110 are inhabited
FinlandFinland long boundary with Russia; Helsinki is northernmost national capital on European continent; population concentrated on small southwestern coastal plain
FranceFrance largest West European nation
French PolynesiaFrench Polynesia includes five archipelagoes (4 volcanic, 1 coral); Makatea in French Polynesia is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Nauru
French Southern and Antarctic LandsFrench Southern and Antarctic Lands islands component is widely scattered across remote locations in the southern Indian Ocean

Bassas da India (Iles Eparses): the atoll is a circular reef that sits atop a long-extinct, submerged volcano

Europa Island and Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses): wildlife sanctuary for seabirds and sea turtles

Glorioso Island (Iles Eparses): the islands and rocks are surrounded by an extensive reef system

Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses): climatologically important location for forecasting cyclones in the western Indian Ocean; wildlife sanctuary (seabirds, tortoises)
GabonGabon a small population and oil and mineral reserves have helped Gabon become one of Africa's wealthier countries; in general, these circumstances have allowed the country to maintain and conserve its pristine rain forest and rich biodiversity
Gambia, TheGambia, The almost an enclave of Senegal; smallest country on the continent of Africa
Gaza StripGaza Strip strategic strip of land along Mideast-North African trade routes has experienced an incredibly turbulent history; the town of Gaza itself has been besieged countless times in its history
GeorgiaGeorgia strategically located east of the Black Sea; Georgia controls much of the Caucasus Mountains and the routes through them
GermanyGermany strategic location on North European Plain and along the entrance to the Baltic Sea
GhanaGhana Lake Volta is the world's largest artificial lake
GibraltarGibraltar strategic location on Strait of Gibraltar that links the North Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea
GreeceGreece strategic location dominating the Aegean Sea and southern approach to Turkish Straits; a peninsular country, possessing an archipelago of about 2,000 islands
GreenlandGreenland dominates North Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe; sparse population confined to small settlements along coast, but close to one-quarter of the population lives in the capital, Nuuk; world's second largest ice cap
GrenadaGrenada the administration of the islands of the Grenadines group is divided between Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada
GuamGuam largest and southernmost island in the Mariana Islands archipelago; strategic location in western North Pacific Ocean
GuatemalaGuatemala no natural harbors on west coast
GuernseyGuernsey large, deepwater harbor at Saint Peter Port
GuineaGuinea the Niger and its important tributary the Milo have their sources in the Guinean highlands
Guinea-BissauGuinea-Bissau this small country is swampy along its western coast and low-lying further inland
GuyanaGuyana the third-smallest country in South America after Suriname and Uruguay; substantial portions of its western and eastern territories are claimed by Venezuela and Suriname respectively
HaitiHaiti shares island of Hispaniola with Dominican Republic (western one-third is Haiti, eastern two-thirds is the Dominican Republic)
Holy See (Vatican City)Holy See (Vatican City) landlocked; enclave in Rome, Italy; world's smallest state; beyond the territorial boundary of Vatican City, the Lateran Treaty of 1929 grants the Holy See extraterritorial authority over 23 sites in Rome and five outside of Rome, including the Pontifical Palace at Castel Gandolfo (the Pope's summer residence)
HondurasHonduras has only a short Pacific coast but a long Caribbean shoreline, including the virtually uninhabited eastern Mosquito Coast
Hong KongHong Kong more than 200 islands
Howland IslandHowland Island almost totally covered with grasses, prostrate vines, and low-growing shrubs; small area of trees in the center; primarily a nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat for seabirds, shorebirds, and marine wildlife
HungaryHungary landlocked; strategic location astride main land routes between Western Europe and Balkan Peninsula as well as between Ukraine and Mediterranean basin; the north-south flowing Duna (Danube) and Tisza Rivers divide the country into three large regions
IcelandIceland strategic location between Greenland and Europe; westernmost European country; Reykjavik is the northernmost national capital in the world; more land covered by glaciers than in all of continental Europe
IndiaIndia dominates South Asian subcontinent; near important Indian Ocean trade routes; Kanchenjunga, third tallest mountain in the world, lies on the border with Nepal
Indian OceanIndian Ocean major chokepoints include Bab el Mandeb, Strait of Hormuz, Strait of Malacca, southern access to the Suez Canal, and the Lombok Strait
IndonesiaIndonesia archipelago of 17,508 islands (6,000 inhabited); straddles equator; strategic location astride or along major sea lanes from Indian Ocean to Pacific Ocean
IranIran strategic location on the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, which are vital maritime pathways for crude oil transport
IraqIraq strategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf
IrelandIreland strategic location on major air and sea routes between North America and northern Europe; over 40% of the population resides within 100 km of Dublin
Isle of ManIsle of Man one small islet, the Calf of Man, lies to the southwest, and is a bird sanctuary
IsraelIsrael there are 242 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the West Bank, 42 in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, 0 in the Gaza Strip, and 29 in East Jerusalem (August 2005 est.); Sea of Galilee is an important freshwater source
ItalyItaly strategic location dominating central Mediterranean as well as southern sea and air approaches to Western Europe
JamaicaJamaica strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel, the main sea lanes for the Panama Canal
Jan MayenJan Mayen barren volcanic island with some moss and grass
JapanJapan strategic location in northeast Asia
Jarvis IslandJarvis Island sparse bunch grass, prostrate vines, and low-growing shrubs; primarily a nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat for seabirds, shorebirds, and marine wildlife
JerseyJersey largest and southernmost of Channel Islands; about 30% of population concentrated in Saint Helier
Johnston AtollJohnston Atoll strategic location in the North Pacific Ocean; Johnston Island and Sand Island are natural islands, which have been expanded by coral dredging; North Island (Akau) and East Island (Hikina) are manmade islands formed from coral dredging; the egg-shaped reef is 34 km in circumference; closed to the public; a former US nuclear weapons test site; site of now-closed Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System (JACADS); most facilities dismantled and cleanup complete in 2004; some low-growing vegetation
JordanJordan strategic location at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba and as the Arab country that shares the longest border with Israel and the occupied West Bank
KazakhstanKazakhstan landlocked; Russia leases approximately 6,000 sq km of territory enclosing the Baykonur Cosmodrome; in January 2004, Kazakhstan and Russia extended the lease to 2050
KenyaKenya the Kenyan Highlands comprise one of the most successful agricultural production regions in Africa; glaciers are found on Mount Kenya, Africa's second highest peak; unique physiography supports abundant and varied wildlife of scientific and economic value
Kingman ReefKingman Reef barren coral atoll with deep interior lagoon; closed to the public
KiribatiKiribati 21 of the 33 islands are inhabited; Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Makatea in French Polynesia, and Nauru
Korea, NorthKorea, North strategic location bordering China, South Korea, and Russia; mountainous interior is isolated and sparsely populated
Korea, SouthKorea, South strategic location on Korea Strait
KuwaitKuwait strategic location at head of Persian Gulf
KyrgyzstanKyrgyzstan landlocked; entirely mountainous, dominated by the Tien Shan range; many tall peaks, glaciers, and high-altitude lakes
LaosLaos landlocked; most of the country is mountainous and thickly forested; the Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand
LatviaLatvia most of the country is composed of fertile, low-lying plains, with some hills in the east
LebanonLebanon Nahr el Litani is the only major river in Near East not crossing an international boundary; rugged terrain historically helped isolate, protect, and develop numerous factional groups based on religion, clan, and ethnicity
LesothoLesotho landlocked, completely surrounded by South Africa; mountainous, more than 80% of the country is 1,800 meters above sea level
LiberiaLiberia facing the Atlantic Ocean, the coastline is characterized by lagoons, mangrove swamps, and river-deposited sandbars; the inland grassy plateau supports limited agriculture
LibyaLibya more than 90% of the country is desert or semidesert
LiechtensteinLiechtenstein along with Uzbekistan, one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world; variety of microclimatic variations based on elevation
LithuaniaLithuania fertile central plains are separated by hilly uplands that are ancient glacial deposits
LuxembourgLuxembourg landlocked; the only Grand Duchy in the world
MacauMacau essentially urban; an area of land reclaimed from the sea measuring 5.2 sq km and known as Cotai now connects the islands of Coloane and Taipa; the island area is connected to the mainland peninsula by three bridges
MacedoniaMacedonia landlocked; major transportation corridor from Western and Central Europe to Aegean Sea and Southern Europe to Western Europe
MadagascarMadagascar world's fourth-largest island; strategic location along Mozambique Channel
MalawiMalawi landlocked; Lake Nyasa, some 580 km long, is the country's most prominent physical feature
MalaysiaMalaysia strategic location along Strait of Malacca and southern South China Sea
MaldivesMaldives 1,190 coral islands grouped into 26 atolls (200 inhabited islands, plus 80 islands with tourist resorts); archipelago with strategic location astride and along major sea lanes in Indian Ocean
MaliMali landlocked; divided into three natural zones: the southern, cultivated Sudanese; the central, semiarid Sahelian; and the northern, arid Saharan
MaltaMalta the country comprises an archipelago, with only the three largest islands (Malta, Ghawdex or Gozo, and Kemmuna or Comino) being inhabited; numerous bays provide good harbors; Malta and Tunisia are discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for oil exploration
Marshall IslandsMarshall Islands Bikini and Enewetak are former US nuclear test sites; Kwajalein, the famous World War II battleground, is used as a US missile test range; island city of Ebeye is the second largest settlement in the Marshall Islands, after the capital of Majuro, and one of the most densely populated locations in the Pacific
MauritaniaMauritania most of the population concentrated in the cities of Nouakchott and Nouadhibou and along the Senegal River in the southern part of the country
MauritiusMauritius the main island, from which the country derives its name, is of volcanic origin and is almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs
MayotteMayotte part of Comoro Archipelago; 18 islands
MexicoMexico strategic location on southern border of US; corn (maize), one of the world's major grain crops, is thought to have originated in Mexico
Micronesia, Federated States ofMicronesia, Federated States of four major island groups totaling 607 islands
Midway IslandsMidway Islands a coral atoll managed as a national wildlife refuge and open to the public for wildlife-related recreation in the form of wildlife observation and photography, sport fishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving; the refuge is temporarily closed for reorganization at present (2004)
MoldovaMoldova landlocked; well endowed with various sedimentary rocks and minerals including sand, gravel, gypsum, and limestone
MonacoMonaco second-smallest independent state in the world (after Holy See); almost entirely urban
MongoliaMongolia landlocked; strategic location between China and Russia
MontenegroMontenegro strategic location along the Adriatic coast
MontserratMontserrat the island is entirely volcanic in origin and comprised of three major volcanic centers of differing ages
MoroccoMorocco strategic location along Strait of Gibraltar
MozambiqueMozambique the Zambezi flows through the north-central and most fertile part of the country
NamibiaNamibia first country in the world to incorporate the protection of the environment into its constitution; some 14% of the land is protected, including virtually the entire Namib Desert coastal strip
NauruNauru Nauru is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia; only 53 km south of Equator
Navassa IslandNavassa Island strategic location 160 km south of the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; mostly exposed rock with numerous solution holes but with enough grassland to support goat herds; dense stands of fig trees, scattered cactus
NepalNepal landlocked; strategic location between China and India; contains eight of world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga - the world's tallest and third tallest - on the borders with China and India respectively
NetherlandsNetherlands located at mouths of three major European rivers (Rhine, Maas or Meuse, and Schelde)
Netherlands AntillesNetherlands Antilles the five islands of the Netherlands Antilles are divided geographically into the Leeward Islands (northern) group (Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten) and the Windward Islands (southern) group (Bonaire and Curacao); the island of Saint Martin is the smallest landmass in the World shared by two independent states, the French territory of Saint Martin and the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten
New CaledoniaNew Caledonia consists of the main island of New Caledonia (one of the largest in the Pacific Ocean), the archipelago of Iles Loyaute, and numerous small, sparsely populated islands and atolls
New ZealandNew Zealand about 80% of the population lives in cities; Wellington is the southernmost national capital in the world
NicaraguaNicaragua largest country in Central America; contains the largest freshwater body in Central America, Lago de Nicaragua
NigerNiger landlocked; one of the hottest countries in the world; northern four-fifths is desert, southern one-fifth is savanna, suitable for livestock and limited agriculture
NigeriaNigeria the Niger enters the country in the northwest and flows southward through tropical rain forests and swamps to its delta in the Gulf of Guinea
NiueNiue one of world's largest coral islands
Norfolk IslandNorfolk Island most of the 32 km coastline consists of almost inaccessible cliffs, but the land slopes down to the sea in one small southern area on Sydney Bay, where the capital of Kingston is situated
Northern Mariana IslandsNorthern Mariana Islands strategic location in the North Pacific Ocean
NorwayNorway about two-thirds mountains; some 50,000 islands off its much indented coastline; strategic location adjacent to sea lanes and air routes in North Atlantic; one of most rugged and longest coastlines in the world
OmanOman strategic location on Musandam Peninsula adjacent to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil
Pacific OceanPacific Ocean the major chokepoints are the Bering Strait, Panama Canal, Luzon Strait, and the Singapore Strait; the Equator divides the Pacific Ocean into the North Pacific Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean; dotted with low coral islands and rugged volcanic islands in the southwestern Pacific Ocean
PakistanPakistan controls Khyber Pass and Bolan Pass, traditional invasion routes between Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent
PalauPalau westernmost archipelago in the Caroline chain, consists of six island groups totaling more than 300 islands; includes World War II battleground of Beliliou (Peleliu) and world-famous rock islands
Palmyra AtollPalmyra Atoll about 50 islets covered with dense vegetation, coconut trees, and balsa-like trees up to 30 meters tall
PanamaPanama strategic location on eastern end of isthmus forming land bridge connecting North and South America; controls Panama Canal that links North Atlantic Ocean via Caribbean Sea with North Pacific Ocean
Papua New GuineaPapua New Guinea shares island of New Guinea with Indonesia; one of world's largest swamps along southwest coast
Paracel IslandsParacel Islands composed of 130 small coral islands and reefs divided into the northeast Amphitrite Group and the western Crescent Group
ParaguayParaguay landlocked; lies between Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil; population concentrated in southern part of country
PeruPeru shares control of Lago Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake, with Bolivia; a remote slope of Nevado Mismi, a 5,316 m peak, is the ultimate source of the Amazon River
PhilippinesPhilippines the Philippine archipelago is made up of 7,107 islands; favorably located in relation to many of Southeast Asia's main water bodies: the South China Sea, Philippine Sea, Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea, and Luzon Strait
Pitcairn IslandsPitcairn Islands Britain's most isolated dependency; only the larger island of Pitcairn is inhabited but it has no port or natural harbor; supplies must be transported by rowed longboat from larger ships stationed offshore
PolandPoland historically, an area of conflict because of flat terrain and the lack of natural barriers on the North European Plain
PortugalPortugal Azores and Madeira Islands occupy strategic locations along western sea approaches to Strait of Gibraltar
Puerto RicoPuerto Rico important location along the Mona Passage - a key shipping lane to the Panama Canal; San Juan is one of the biggest and best natural harbors in the Caribbean; many small rivers and high central mountains ensure land is well watered; south coast relatively dry; fertile coastal plain belt in north
QatarQatar strategic location in central Persian Gulf near major petroleum deposits
RomaniaRomania controls most easily traversable land route between the Balkans, Moldova, and Ukraine
RussiaRussia largest country in the world in terms of area but unfavorably located in relation to major sea lanes of the world; despite its size, much of the country lacks proper soils and climates (either too cold or too dry) for agriculture; Mount El'brus is Europe's tallest peak
RwandaRwanda landlocked; most of the country is savanna grassland with the population predominantly rural
Saint HelenaSaint Helena Saint Helena harbors at least 40 species of plants unknown anywhere else in the world; Ascension is a breeding ground for sea turtles and sooty terns; Queen Mary's Peak on Tristan da Cunha is the highest island mountain in the South Atlantic and a prominent landmark on the sea lanes around southern Africa
Saint Kitts and NevisSaint Kitts and Nevis with coastlines in the shape of a baseball bat and ball, the two volcanic islands are separated by a three-km-wide channel called The Narrows; on the southern tip of long, baseball bat-shaped Saint Kitts lies the Great Salt Pond; Nevis Peak sits in the center of its almost circular namesake island and its ball shape complements that of its sister island
Saint LuciaSaint Lucia the twin Pitons (Gros Piton and Petit Piton), striking cone-shaped peaks south of Soufriere, are one of the scenic natural highlights of the Caribbean
Saint MartinSaint Martin the island of Saint Martin is the smallest landmass in the World shared by two independent states, the French territory of Saint Martin and the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten
Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Pierre and Miquelon vegetation scanty
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesSaint Vincent and the Grenadines the administration of the islands of the Grenadines group is divided between Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is comprised of 32 islands and cays
SamoaSamoa occupies an almost central position within Polynesia
San MarinoSan Marino landlocked; smallest independent state in Europe after the Holy See and Monaco; dominated by the Apennines
Sao Tome and PrincipeSao Tome and Principe the smallest country in Africa; the two main islands form part of a chain of extinct volcanoes and both are fairly mountainous
Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia extensive coastlines on Persian Gulf and Red Sea provide great leverage on shipping (especially crude oil) through Persian Gulf and Suez Canal
SenegalSenegal westernmost country on the African continent; The Gambia is almost an enclave within Senegal
SerbiaSerbia controls one of the major land routes from Western Europe to Turkey and the Near East
SeychellesSeychelles 41 granitic and about 75 coralline islands
Sierra LeoneSierra Leone rainfall along the coast can reach 495 cm (195 inches) a year, making it one of the wettest places along coastal, western Africa
SingaporeSingapore focal point for Southeast Asian sea routes
SlovakiaSlovakia landlocked; most of the country is rugged and mountainous; the Tatra Mountains in the north are interspersed with many scenic lakes and valleys
SloveniaSlovenia despite its small size, this eastern Alpine country controls some of Europe's major transit routes
Solomon IslandsSolomon Islands strategic location on sea routes between the South Pacific Ocean, the Solomon Sea, and the Coral Sea; on 2 April 2007 an undersea earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale occurred 345 km WNW of the capital Honiara, the resulting tsunami devastated coastal areas of Western and Choiseul provinces with dozens of deaths and thousands dislocated; the provincial capital of Gizo was especially hard hit
SomaliaSomalia strategic location on Horn of Africa along southern approaches to Bab el Mandeb and route through Red Sea and Suez Canal
South AfricaSouth Africa South Africa completely surrounds Lesotho and almost completely surrounds Swaziland
South Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands the north coast of South Georgia has several large bays, which provide good anchorage; reindeer, introduced early in the 20th century, live on South Georgia
Southern OceanSouthern Ocean the major chokepoint is the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica; the Polar Front (Antarctic Convergence) is the best natural definition of the northern extent of the Southern Ocean; it is a distinct region at the middle of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current that separates the cold polar surface waters to the south from the warmer waters to the north; the Front and the Current extend entirely around Antarctica, reaching south of 60 degrees south near New Zealand and near 48 degrees south in the far South Atlantic coinciding with the path of the maximum westerly winds
SpainSpain strategic location along approaches to Strait of Gibraltar
Spratly IslandsSpratly Islands strategically located near several primary shipping lanes in the central South China Sea; includes numerous small islands, atolls, shoals, and coral reefs
Sri LankaSri Lanka strategic location near major Indian Ocean sea lanes
SudanSudan largest country in Africa; dominated by the Nile and its tributaries
SurinameSuriname smallest independent country on South American continent; mostly tropical rain forest; great diversity of flora and fauna that, for the most part, is increasingly threatened by new development; relatively small population, mostly along the coast
SvalbardSvalbard northernmost part of the Kingdom of Norway; consists of nine main islands; glaciers and snowfields cover 60% of the total area; site of future seed repository under construction by the Global Crop Diversity Trust and the Norwegian Government
SwazilandSwaziland landlocked; almost completely surrounded by South Africa
SwedenSweden strategic location along Danish Straits linking Baltic and North Seas
SwitzerlandSwitzerland landlocked; crossroads of northern and southern Europe; along with southeastern France, northern Italy, and southwestern Austria, has the highest elevations in the Alps
SyriaSyria there are 42 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (August 2005 est.)
TaiwanTaiwan strategic location adjacent to both the Taiwan Strait and the Luzon Strait
TajikistanTajikistan landlocked; mountainous region dominated by the Trans-Alay Range in the north and the Pamirs in the southeast; highest point, Qullai Ismoili Somoni (formerly Communism Peak), was the tallest mountain in the former USSR
TanzaniaTanzania Kilimanjaro is highest point in Africa; bordered by three of the largest lakes on the continent: Lake Victoria (the world's second-largest freshwater lake) in the north, Lake Tanganyika (the world's second deepest) in the west, and Lake Nyasa in the southwest
ThailandThailand controls only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore
Timor-LesteTimor-Leste Timor comes from the Malay word for "East"; the island of Timor is part of the Malay Archipelago and is the largest and easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands
TogoTogo the country's length allows it to stretch through six distinct geographic regions; climate varies from tropical to savanna
TokelauTokelau consists of three atolls (Atafu, Fakaofo, Nukunonu), each with a lagoon surrounded by a number of reef-bound islets of varying length and rising to over 3 m above sea level
TongaTonga archipelago of 169 islands (36 inhabited)
Trinidad and TobagoTrinidad and Tobago Pitch Lake, on Trinidad's southwestern coast, is the world's largest natural reservoir of asphalt
TunisiaTunisia strategic location in central Mediterranean; Malta and Tunisia are discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for oil exploration
TurkeyTurkey strategic location controlling the Turkish Straits (Bosporus, Sea of Marmara, Dardanelles) that link Black and Aegean Seas; Mount Ararat, the legendary landing place of Noah's Ark, is in the far eastern portion of the country
TurkmenistanTurkmenistan landlocked; the western and central low-lying desolate portions of the country make up the great Garagum (Kara-Kum) desert, which occupies over 80% of the country; eastern part is plateau
Turks and Caicos IslandsTurks and Caicos Islands about 40 islands (eight inhabited)
TuvaluTuvalu one of the smallest and most remote countries on Earth; six of the 9 coral atolls - Nanumea, Nui, Vaitupu, Nukufetau, Funafuti, and Nukulaelae - have lagoons open to the ocean; Nanumaya and Niutao have landlocked lagoons; Niulakita does not have a lagoon
UgandaUganda landlocked; fertile, well-watered country with many lakes and rivers
UkraineUkraine strategic position at the crossroads between Europe and Asia; second-largest country in Europe
United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates strategic location along southern approaches to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil
United KingdomUnited Kingdom lies near vital North Atlantic sea lanes; only 35 km from France and linked by tunnel under the English Channel; because of heavily indented coastline, no location is more than 125 km from tidal waters
United StatesUnited States world's third-largest country by size (after Russia and Canada) and by population (after China and India); Mt. McKinley is highest point in North America and Death Valley the lowest point on the continent
United States Pacific Island Wildlife RefugesUnited States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands: scattered vegetation consisting of grasses, prostrate vines, and low growing shrubs; primarily a nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat for seabirds, shorebirds, and marine wildlife

Johnston Atoll: Johnston Island and Sand Island are natural islands, which have been expanded by coral dredging; North Island (Akau) and East Island (Hikina) are manmade islands formed from coral dredging; the egg-shaped reef is 34 km in circumference

Kingman Reef: barren coral atoll with deep interior lagoon; closed to the public

Midway Islands: a coral atoll managed as a national wildlife refuge and open to the public for wildlife-related recreation in the form of wildlife observation and photography

Palmyra Atoll: the high rainfall and resulting lush vegetation make the environment of this atoll unique among the US Pacific Island territories; it supports one of the largest remaining undisturbed stands of Pisonia beach forest in the Pacific
UruguayUruguay second-smallest South American country (after Suriname); most of the low-lying landscape (three-quarters of the country) is grassland, ideal for cattle and sheep raising
UzbekistanUzbekistan along with Liechtenstein, one of the only two doubly landlocked countries in the world
VanuatuVanuatu a Y-shaped chain of four main islands and 80 smaller islands; several of the islands have active volcanoes
VenezuelaVenezuela on major sea and air routes linking North and South America; Angel Falls in the Guiana Highlands is the world's highest waterfall
VietnamVietnam extending 1,650 km north to south, the country is only 50 km across at its narrowest point
Virgin IslandsVirgin Islands important location along the Anegada Passage - a key shipping lane for the Panama Canal; Saint Thomas has one of the best natural deepwater harbors in the Caribbean
Wake IslandWake Island strategic location in the North Pacific Ocean; emergency landing location for transpacific flights
Wallis and FutunaWallis and Futuna both island groups have fringing reefs
West BankWest Bank landlocked; highlands are main recharge area for Israel's coastal aquifers; there are 242 West Bank settlements and 29 East Jerusalem settlements in addition to at least 20 occupied outposts (August 2005 est.)
Western SaharaWestern Sahara the waters off the coast are particularly rich fishing areas
WorldWorld the world is now thought to be about 4.55 billion years old, just about one-third of the 13.7-billion-year age estimated for the universe
YemenYemen strategic location on Bab el Mandeb, the strait linking the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, one of world's most active shipping lanes
ZambiaZambia landlocked; the Zambezi forms a natural riverine boundary with Zimbabwe
ZimbabweZimbabwe landlocked; the Zambezi forms a natural riverine boundary with Zambia; in full flood (February-April) the massive Victoria Falls on the river forms the world's largest curtain of falling water
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