Are These Countries Real or Fictitious?



By: Torrance Grey

6 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki commons

About This Quiz

Even if you got an "A" in geography class way back when, you may need to retake it, just to keep up with the latest names of well-known and lesser-known countries. Especially since the name of a country can change due to so many factors: interior politics, border wars, or eliminating the influence of a foreign power. In fact, as recently as 2011 South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan. If you're smirking right now, sure that you know it all, then go ahead - we dare you to get at least 20 correct when you take this trivia quiz.

Why is geography so challenging? Because the world is constantly changing! A new country name may be recognized by some nations, but not others. And there are other confusing factors: for instance, a name may sound familiar due to its repetition in the media. Consider Panem, the fictitious nation set on the ruins of North America in "The Hunger Games."

A country that changes names may also change its currency, flag and dominant language. So keeping current with the name change is just the tip of the iceberg, but that's what social studies class is all about. We're just interested in your geography knowledge, and whether or not you know it all.

We challenge you to take the quiz right now.


Myanmar is a nation in Southeast Asia. It used to be known as Burma.



Bhutan is a small south Asian nation with a remarkably high quality of life. It's known for its program of "Gross National Happiness."



"Panem" is the fictitious nation set on the ruins of North America in "The Hunger Games." Author Suzanne Collins named in after the Latin word for "bread," in support of the book's theme of "bread and circuses" keeping a population submissive.



Arendelle was the fictional Nordic country in "Frozen." (Just in case you were living under a rock for all of 2013 and 2014).



Zambia is a country in sub-Saharan Africa. When U.S. President Trump referred to the nonexistent nation of "Nambia," some people thought he might be combining the countries of Zambia and Namibia.



The African nation of Wakanda exists only in the Marvel universe. It is the chief exporter of "vibranium" and the home of the character, Black Panther.



This tiny European nation's name sounds more like a city. Its capital is Luxembourg City, and its official language is Luxembourgish. Its motto: "Names ... who has time?" (Okay, we made that last part up).



Chad is a nation in northern Africa. The name inspired an Onion headline in the 1990s: "President Clinton breaks off relations with Chad: 'He's just not the same when he drinks.' "



"Syriana" was the title of a 2005 film about oil politics in the Middle East. George Clooney and Matt Damon were the leads.



"Freedonia" is best known for being a small, autocratic country in the Marx Brothers's "Duck Soup." The name occasionally pops up in later fiction, as a joke or a metaphor.


Federated States of Micronesia:

Micronesia is a large scattering of islands in the south Pacific. The name, not surprisingly, is related to Polynesia.



Fiji is an archipelago of more than 300 islands east of Australia. Like the Hawaiian islands to the northeast, it exports a lot of sugar.


South Sudan:

If you scratched your head over this one, don't feel bad. South Sudan only gained its independence from Sudan in 2011.



Nope, we're not serious, and neither was Charlie Chaplin, who made "Bacteria" a nation in his satire, "The Great Dictator." It was ruled by a parody of Mussolini, called "Il Diggedy" instead of "Il Duce."



Moldova is a small country in Eastern Europe. For much of its history, it has been fought over by Russia (sometimes as the USSR) and neighbor Romania.



Gabon became independent from France in 1960. It is a petroleum-rich country, providing a moderately high level of prosperity.



When Melania Trump became America's first lady, it raised the profile of this eastern European country. Otherwise, it's easy to mix up with Slovakia, which was part of Czechslovakia until 1993.



Sokovia exists in the Marvel movies, as a fictitious Eastern European nation. Sokovia plays a major role in the movie "Avengers: Age of Ultron," as the home of the Maximoff twins, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.



This is one that might be confusing to Americans, who think of Georgia as a state. The "other" Georgia is a former Russian republic, which became independent in 1991 with the breakup of the USSR.



Again, there might be some confusion about this among Americans because they know "Angola" primarily as a notorious prison in southern Louisiana. But the nation of Angola lies on the southwest coast of Africa. It was colonized by the Portuguese and retains that cultural influence.


The Congo:

Officially, it's the Democratic Republic of Congo. For a time, it was known as Zaire, which was another name for the Congo River.



This was an early name for the region of modern-day Croatia. Shakespeare made it the setting of "Twelfth Night," but whether he was really thinking of Croatia or he just liked the name isn't clear. Either way, the beautiful name has captivated other writers: "Illyria" is the name of a novel by Elizabeth Hand and a character on Joss Whedon's "Angel."



Uzbekistan was formerly one of the USSR's constituent republics. It is known for being "doubly landlocked," meaning you have to cross more than two borders to reach it.



"Ruritania" was the Central European country that was the setting for "The Prisoner of Zenda" and two other novels by the same author, Anthony Hope. For a time afterward, any historical novel about high adventure in a fictitious European country was labeled "Ruritanian romance."



This one was made famous by sci-fi great Ursula LeGuin. It's the setting of her "Orsinian Tales."



This small nation is located between Spain and France. Its official language is Catalan.



Swaziland is situated low on the eastern coast of Africa. It is a monarchy, with an annual dance for the king, called the umhlanga, being one of the year's most important events.



Marvel isn't alone in creating fictional countries. Its rival, DC, does so too, and "Nairomi" is one of them. It's the African nation in "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice."



Uruguay is a small nation north of Argentina in south America. It is very progressive, with legalized same-sex marriage, and a sizable middle class.



This nation is a cultural chameleon. Its name sounds like it should be in Southeast Asia, but it's on the northern coast of South America, its culture is Caribbean-influenced, and its official language is Dutch, because it used to be Dutch Guyana.



You can be forgiven for thinking this one is fictional, because Sasha Baron Cohen cut a ridiculous figure as a fake Kazakh in the film, "Borat." But it's a real nation in central Asia, bordering China and Russia.



This one's from "The Princess Diaries," both the books and the movies. It's supposed to be a small country between France and Spain.


Dominican Republic:

The Dominican Republic is the eastern half of the island of Hispaniola. The other half is the nation of Haiti.


Union of the Comoros:

The Comoros are islands in the Indian Ocean. Sounds like paradise, but unfortunately the young nation (since 1975) has suffered civil unrest and great poverty.



Vespugia is a Madeleine L'Engle creation. It's a Spanish-speaking country ruled by a dictator in her book, "A Swiftly Tilting Planet." With "A Wrinkle in Time" getting the big-screen treatment, look for interest in all of L'Engle's work to pick up.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!