Are These Country Facts True or False?

By: Jonnathan Chadwick

Are These Country Facts True or False?
Image: Jean-Philippe Tournut / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Is eating a kangaroo sausage considered good luck in Australia? Do vanilla oranges really grow in Uruguay? Is a McDonald's Quarter Pounder really called a Royal with cheese in France?

You never really know the customs and norms of a country until you step foot on its soil. A thumbs-up gesture means "up yours" in Australia, shaking your head in Greece means "yes," and nodding your head means "no." Crossing your arms in Finland could get you into a fight and the gesture for "come over here" could get you arrested in the Philippines. The word "drugs" means "friends" in Russia, and if you order a glass of air in Indonesia, you'll get a glass of water.

The good thing about all these confusing norms is that they're just norms and not facts. The bad news is that the facts about some of these countries can be even more confusing. The geography, history, economy, politics, government and people of countries across the world have no limit of variety. Every corner of Earth is naturally unique, and one country's crime is another country's law.

It's complicated, but here are some tips: Kangaroo sausage isn't a thing, neither are vanilla oranges, and a Quarter Pounder at a French McDonald's is called a Royal Cheese. Now, what do you know about the rest of the world? Can you guess whether these country facts are true or false?

Iceland There are no mosquitoes in Iceland.
True
Iceland is not covered by ice, that's Greenland, but remarkably, there are no mosquitoes in Iceland. Nobody knows exactly why but there are plenty of theories out there. Nevertheless, this automatically puts Iceland at the top of greatest countries ever.
False

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Chinese couple on computer China is home to the most Google and Facebook users in the world.
True
False
Google and Facebook tally billions of users around the globe, but the services are banned in China. Chinese citizens use WeChat and Baidu in place of the U.S. companies, and hopes for the tech giants to get a significant foothold in the country don't look great.

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Hong Kong money The smallest denomination of banknote used in Hong Kong is a 10-dollar bill.
True
The smallest Hong Kong banknote is a $10 bill, and any value under that comes in a coin format. Hong Kong is home to the $1, $2, $5 and $10 coin, so plan to walk around with a pocket full of change when visiting the country.
False

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Jamaica There are no McDonald's restaurants in Jamaica.
True
As impossible as it is for Americans to imagine a society without McDonald's, the fast-food giant is wildly successful all over the world. Their operations haven't worked out in several countries, and their beef and tiny burgers weren't up to par for Jamaican appetites.
False

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Donauinselfest 2015 The largest attendance ever at a music festival took place in 2015 in Argentina.
True
False
According to Guinness World Records, the most-attended music festival ever took place in 2015, and it was the Donauinsel Festival (aka the Danube Island Festival) in Donauinsel, Austria. Wisconsin's Summerfest is also one of the world's largest.

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Twins Switzerland has the highest rate of twins born in the world.
True
False
The African country of Benin records about 28 pairs of twins per every 1,000 births, which is the highest rate of twins in the world. The rate of twin births has steadily been increasing since records have been kept, and more than 3% of Earth's population is a twin.

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Canadian coastline Canada has the longest coastline on the planet.
True
Canada doesn't have the greatest rep around the world weather-wise, and even when they should be able to boast about having the most coastline on the planet, they can't because it's so cold and all that coastline is wasted.
False

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Hot air balloons New Zealand It is illegal to fly in a hot air balloon with a rooster in New Zealand.
True
False
According to the Internet, this is a real law, but according to the government of New Zealand, no, it isn't. It should be illegal to fly in a hot air balloon with a rooster in every country in the world, so it's easy to see why many believe this law is real.

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Languages English is the official language of America.
True
False
With more than 330 million citizens and 220 English-only speakers, there is no official language of America. Understanding basic English is a requirement to citizenship for foreign-born people, but other than that, it's not the country's official language.

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Old Kyoto, Japan The country of Japan was founded in 1260 BC.
True
False
Japan celebrates the mythological date of February 11, 660 BC as its National Foundation Day. The story has it that this was when the first Emperor of Japan took his reign of the country. America was founded more than 2,300 years later in 1776.

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Geneva, Switzerland Zurich and Geneva are the official co-capitals of Switzerland.
True
False
There is no capital of Switzerland, and the government is seated in the city of Bern. Zurich and Geneva are two of the better-known cities in the country, but they don't function as co-capitals. Geneva is also known as the world's best chocolate factory.

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Tall versus short The average height of someone living in the Netherlands is 6 feet, 4 inches.
True
False
People from the Netherlands are tall. They are the tallest people in the world on average, but they don't average a height of 6'4'', they average about 6'0''. Denmark, Norway, Croatia and Germany are all home to similar averages.

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Reims, France France has 12 different time zones.
True
France has a bunch of territories around the world, from French Polynesia to Futuna, and they span 12 different time zones. No country has more time zones than France, and there are more than 24 time zones across the entire world.
False

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Papua New Guinea There is only one official language listed in Papua New Guinea.
True
False
Papua New Guinea is home to the most spoken languages on Earth, and it is believed there are more than 850 languages in the country. The country lists five official languages, and one of them is English. Tok Pisin is the country's most widely used language.

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Unicorn The national animal of Scotland is the unicorn.
True
JK Rowling spent plenty of time writing the Harry Potter fantasy series in Scotland, and you just have to walk around the country for a few minutes to see that it is covered in folklore and fantasy. The unicorn also represents Scotland on the United Kingdom's royal coat of arms.
False

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Lemaire Channel in Antarctica More than 99% of all of the world's fresh water can be found in Antarctica.
True
False
Antarctica is home to 90% of the world's ice and 70% of the world's fresh water. It is not home to more than 99% of the world's water or fresh water. It is home to the South Pole, not to be mistaken with the Arctic, which is home to the North Pole.

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Soccer in Greenland Greenland is not allowed to join the FIFA football league because the country is covered in ice and people can't play football there.
True
Greenland has a national football team, but it is not allowed to join FIFA because grass doesn't live long enough in Greenland to sustain a football pitch for a full season. The country is always freezing. Iceland, on the other hand, is home to a globally successful football club.
False

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Lima, Peru The only officially documented encounter with extraterrestrial life occurred 5 miles north of Lima, Peru in 1994.
True
False
Any, if any, contact with extraterrestrial life is kept under heavy wraps, and if any official alien meeting occurred just outside of Peru, it has officially been kept a secret. Extraterrestrial sightings have been reported around the world forever, but whether you believe them is up to you.

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Driving in Finland Speeding fines in Finland are based on how much money you make.
True
You can only speed so fast in America before your speeding charge turns into reckless driving, so speeding tickets in the U.S. only go so high, but in Finland, they are based on your income. People have been fined $100,000 for doing 15 miles over the speed limit.
False

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Macau The small nation of Macau generates 20x more gambling revenue than Las Vegas.
True
False
Macau is an independent nation of China and is known for its gambling, but it does not generate 20 times more gambling revenue than Sin City. It produces about seven times that revenue. Unlike Sin City, visitors go to Macau to gamble and gamble, not to party.

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Mauna Kea The tallest mountain in the world is located in the United States.
True
The highest mountain in the world is Mt. Everest, but the tallest mountain in the world is Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The volcano is more than 13,000 feet high, and more than 20,000 feet low, totaling more than 33,000 feet tall. Mt. Everest is 29,000 feet high and tall. It doesn't go beneath sea level.
False

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Temple of Poseidon, Greece You're not allowed to wear high heels to historic sites in Greece.
True
Greek officials finally decided to enact this rule at archaeological sites after decades of wear and tear at some of the world's most iconic historical monuments. Monuments all around the world have unique guidelines for visiting, and it's always best to check before arriving.
False

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Driving in Japan Drivers in Japan drive on the right side of the road.
True
False
Citizens in Britain and all former British colonies are known for driving on the left side of the road, and everybody else drives on the right, except for citizens in Japan, who drive on the left side even though they were never under British rule.

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Monaco The country of Monaco is smaller than Central Park in New York City.
True
Monaco's population of just under 40,000 people all live in an area in France that is smaller in size than NYC's Central Park. Home to one of the world's most famous Grand Prix races, Monaco is the place to be if you're looking for a lavish vacation.
False

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Traffic Jam in Beijing China once had a highway traffic jam that lasted two weeks.
True
The infamous China National Highway 110 traffic jam of 2010 stretched 60 miles, and some drivers were stuck in the mess for a full five days. People set up shop along the highway to sell water and food at astronomical prices.
False

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Tea in Middle East Non-Muslims are not allowed to eat in public during Ramadan in Saudi Arabia.
True
Saudia Arabia isn't the only Muslim country that bans public eating during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Tourists are given a warning if they're caught eating in public, but others face fines and possible jail time.
False

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Cars in Shanghai It is illegal to own a red car in Shanghai, China.
True
False
This is another Internet law that stemmed out of nothing. You can own a red car in Shanghai and anywhere in China. Rumor has it that police officers pull over red cars more than others, but that holds no water.

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Cats There are more cats in the United States than official U.S. citizens.
True
False
There are more than 330 million U.S. citizens and about 90 million American cats. That number only includes family pets, and there is no way to calculate the population of cats that are in the country unofficially.

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Students taking test New Zealand allows students to use text speak in school.
True
Orwell's "1984" nightmares have been slowing becoming a reality ever since the book was published, and New Zealand allowing students to write things like "rul8" instead of "are you late?" on their tests and homework are yet another confirmation.
False

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Buckingham Palace London's Buckingham Palace is the largest residential palace in the world.
True
False
Everybody has a different definition of a palace, but Buckingham Palace isn't the world's largest by most definitions. Beijing's Forbidden City, which is a city, sometimes gets the crown. The Royal Palace of Madrid and the Romanian Parliament are also among the world's largest.

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Vatican City Vatican City is the second-smallest country in the world.
True
False
Vatican City sits within Rome and is the smallest UN-recognized country in the world. It is also the least populous country in the world and home to the Pope. Since it is home to some of the world's most visited sites, the population explodes daily.

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Flip flops It is illegal to drive with flip-flops in 17 U.S. states.
True
False
This urban legend has been floating around since people began driving. You are allowed to drive with flip-flops in all 50 U.S. states, although it isn't recommended. You should drive wearing whatever makes you safe and comfortable.

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New York City New York City is the most populous city in North America.
True
False
The Big Apple is the most populous city in America, but the most populous city in all of North America is Mexico City. The next U.S. Census takes place in 2020, but as of now, NYC's population hovers around 8.6 million, and Mexico City tops 8.8 million.

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Luggage It is illegal to carry three packs of gum in your luggage when entering Singapore.
True
Singapore's infamous ban on chewing gum lasted from 1992 to 2004 and helped keep the city clean. Citizens can now buy gum from registered sellers like doctors and pharmacists, but importing and selling is still banned. Tourists can enter with up to two packs of gum.
False

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Australia Australia is the biggest island in the world other than Antarctica.
True
False
Greenland is the biggest island in the world. Australia and Antarctica are both considered continental landmasses. Every continent is technically an island except for Asia and Europe. But because it is surrounded by water on all sides, you can say Eurasia is the largest island on Earth.

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Kites It is illegal to fly a kite in Delhi, India without a license.
True
Some cities in India and around the world have banned kite flying because the fun hobby can turn deadly. Kite flying competitions are dangerous and falling kites and augmented kite strings can be fatal to pedestrians and bike riders.
False

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Royal Australian military personnel The National Army of Vatican City is larger than the Canadian and Australian Armed Forces combined.
True
False
The National Army of Vatican City is not a real thing, and the Vatican is one of just about a dozen countries that doesn't have official military forces. Italy naturally protects it since it is in Italy, and the city has its own police force. The Swiss Guard protects the Pope.

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Antarctica Antarctica is the largest desert in the world.
True
The largest hot desert in the world is the Sahara Desert, which is located in northern Africa, but the largest desert in the world is Antarctica, which is bigger than the Sahara, Australian and Arabian deserts combined.
False

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Zhang Xin China has more billionaires than any other country on Earth.
True
False
The United States is home to more than 580 billionaires, which is the most of any country. It is also home to Jeff Bezos, who is considered the wealthiest person in the world. China is home to 476 billionaires, and India has 131 billionaires.

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Paradise sign Lovely, Carefree, Paradise, Smileyberg and Happyland are all town names in America.
True
Lovely is in Kentucky, Carefree is in Arizona, Paradise is in Michigan, Smileyberg is in Kansas and Happyland is in Connecticut. Best, Beauty, Bountiful, Celebration, Friendly and Success are all real town names in America.
False

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