Quiz: Can You Identify These Countries By Their Outlines?
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Can You Identify These Countries By Their Outlines?
By: Narra Jackson
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Some people think the world of themselves and have their whole lives mapped out. Others just spend a lot of time thinking about the world and staring at maps. If you’re one of these atlas aficionados, you probably have a pretty good idea of what the prominent features of our planet look like — and the countries that span its surface. That’s no small feat. With over 200 countries in existence today, it’s hard not to get all those lines in the sand (and across rivers, fields, mountains, and seas) mixed up.

So how did the world end up with so many patches of national territory that have such weird shapes? About 400 years ago, the Holy Roman Empire and several other European powers ratified the Peace of Westphalia, which brought an end to the Thirty Years’ War in Central and Northern Europe. This included the forerunners of major European states today such as Poland, Norway, and The Netherlands. Could you recognize the outlines of those countries as they are now, nevermind back then? The Westphalian treaties also established the principle that each nation state has sovereignty over its domestic affairs and territory as international law — which gave birth to the modern nation-state as a coherent entity. Following this, national borders as we know them began to emerge first in Europe — among them, the borders of France. Do you know what the borders of France look like?

This process then expanded all over the globe as France and other European imperial powers exported this idea of national sovereignty to the Americas, Africa, and Asia. However, history didn’t stop there. Countless wars and arbitrary territorial agreements between colonial powers have led to the creation of countries whose borders sometimes make no sense or are completely inexplicable. Jordan and Saudi Arabia are both examples of this phenomenon. Do you remember what the borders of those two countries look like? What about Kazakhstan, whose borders partly reflect exacting attempts by Soviet ethnographers to keep distinct human populations intact?

On the other hand, some countries are lucky enough to be defined partly or even entirely by natural geographic features, which can make them very easy to identify. They say no man is an island — but the nation of Cuba is! And in Australia’s case, an entire continent. Would you be able to pick these two countries out of a lineup based on just their silhouettes?

And Italy is famous the world over for its distinctive shape. How many countries with a long history of incredible soccer players can claim to look like a boot kicking a ball?

Regardless of precisely what they look like, there’s a profound story behind each country’s modern borders. And if you know what to look for, these ultimately imaginary lines can tell you something about a nation’s politics and culture. How keen is your eye? Can you tell one country apart from another? Take this quiz to find out!

1 of 50
What boot-shaped country is this?
2 of 50
What country is known for the original Olympics?
3 of 50
Which country is famous for its cigars?
4 of 50
Can you name this country that borders the Atlantic?
5 of 50
Can you name this Asian country?
6 of 50
What is the name of this oil-rich nation?
7 of 50
What country was once ruled by Ferdinand Marcos?
8 of 50
Which country is named for its small size?
9 of 50
Which country is also the name of a food?
10 of 50
In which country do people run with the bulls?
11 of 50
Which country is famous for Oktoberfest?
12 of 50
Which country would you visit to see the Eiffel Tower?
13 of 50
What country includes the Palm Islands and Dubai?
14 of 50
What landlocked South American country is shown here?
15 of 50
Which European country is famous for knives and neutrality?
16 of 50
Which country is bordered by Argentina and Brazil?
17 of 50
Which country would you visit to see Kuala Lumpur?
18 of 50
Bogota and Medellin are in which country?
19 of 50
Which Asian country is its own capital city?
20 of 50
Which country's name sounds like a crocheted blanket?
21 of 50
The city of Warsaw is in which country?
22 of 50
Which Asian country used to be called Siam?
23 of 50
Which is the world's largest landlocked country?
24 of 50
Which country shares borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia?
25 of 50
Jakarta is the capital of which country?
26 of 50
Which African country lies between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers?
27 of 50
Which country would you visit in order to tour Amsterdam?
28 of 50
Which African nation is known as the "land of a thousand hills"?
29 of 50
Which country was once known as Persia?
30 of 50
Caracas is the capital of which South American country?
31 of 50
Transylvania is a region in which European country?
32 of 50
Which country was part of the former Yugoslavia?
33 of 50
Which Central American country is north of El Salvador?
34 of 50
Which country is on the north coast of Borneo in Southeast Asia?
35 of 50
Which country is at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula?
36 of 50
Which country is known for Oslo and fjords?
37 of 50
Tashkent is the capital of which Central Asian country?
38 of 50
In which African country would you find the city of Dakar?
39 of 50
Minsk is the capital of which Eastern European country?
40 of 50
Which Balkan country includes the city of Belgrade?
41 of 50
Which country lies between Afghanistan and India?
42 of 50
The city of Vilnius is in which European country?
43 of 50
This North African country is right across the Mediterranean from Spain. Which country is it?
44 of 50
Which Balkan country has a capital city called Sofia?
45 of 50
Which Caribbean nation is the birthplace of singer Rihanna?
46 of 50
Which European country declared independence from Serbia in 2008?
47 of 50
Which African country borders Kenya and Uganda?
48 of 50
Which Arab nation includes the cities of Petra and Amman?
49 of 50
Which African country has a capital called Addis Ababa?
50 of 50
Which Balkan country is southeast of Sarajevo?
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