No BS, just loads of fun! Here's an IQ-busting quiz that is sure to jump-start your brain.
Each country has a 2-letter code assigned by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization). The codes are based on the country names listed by the United Nations. Some of them are pretty straightforward, and you can tell which country they represent right away.
Others might prove to be a bit more of a challenge, especially when the country names are somewhat similar. Take the largest country in South America, for example, and the other one that's the only English-speaking country in Central America. Do you think you can distinguish which code is used for each? Take a guess - then take the quiz to see if you're right!
Perhaps, the most challenging codes are those given based on the country's name in its native language or on its past names. Quite a few of them in Europe should readily spring to mind. If you don't know them, no worries - we will give you a heads up on their backstories as you make your way through the quiz.
The average person will get many of these country codes correct at a glance, but it will take a true general knowledge whiz to find all the right answers. So, which are you? The quiz will tell!
France is the largest country in the European Union and the most popular tourist destination in the world, receiving over 80 million visitors annually. It is sometimes referred to as the Hexagon because of its shape.
Italy is very easy to recognize on a map, as it is shaped like a high-heeled boot. Italy surrounds two other countries: Vatican City and San Marino (the smallest and fifth-smallest countries in the world, respectively).
Canada is the second-largest country in the world, in terms of total area. It is also said to be the world’s most educated country – over half of all adult Canadians have a tertiary degree.
Brazil is the largest country in South America and Latin America. It is also the only country in the Americas with Portuguese as its official language. Another distinction Brazil holds: it ranks second (after the U.S.) for the country with the most airports.
Sweden, part of Scandinavia, is bordered by Norway and Finland. You can thank Sweden for Volvo, IKEA and armed neutrality.
India is the world’s largest democracy. It has a population of over 1.3 billion which means there are more people in India than there are in the entire Western Hemisphere.
Classic American foods include apple pie, hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza. Some estimates say that the amount of pizza eaten in the U.S. in one day is equivalent in area to 100 acres.
The Netherlands routinely ranks as one of the happiest countries in the world. It is also the world’s largest consumer of coffee. It is estimated that the amount of coffee the Dutch drink is the equivalent of each person in the country having two and a half cups each day.
The East African country of Kenya is about the same size as the U.S. state of Texas. The country has a population of approximately 48 million people. It is also home to some of the largest land animals in the world, including rhinos, hippos, leopards, lions, buffalo, giraffes and elephants.
The country’s official name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is made up of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The U.K.’s monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who is noted for (among other things) sending personalized birthday cards to U.K. citizens on their 100th birthday.
Over 250 ethnic groups live in Nigeria and there are over 500 indigenous languages spoken in the country. One cool way to look at it: Nigerians speak approximately 13% of all the languages in the world!
The term Argentinazo is often used to refer to the December 2001 crisis in Argentina. For two weeks during this period of unrest and riots, the country had five different persons take over the role of president.
Vietnam is the world’s largest producer of black pepper and cashew nuts, accounting for over 35% of all the cashews produced annually worldwide. It is also the second largest exporter of both rice and coffee.
Denmark is made up of a peninsula and an archipelago of over 400 islands. The largest of these islands is Zealand. Contrary to what most people assume, it is not the source of the name of the country of New Zealand, which is instead named after Zeeland, a Dutch province.
Indonesia is made up of over 17, 000 islands and is the world’s largest archipelago and largest island country. Borneo and Sumatra are located in Indonesia.
“South” in Dutch is “Zuid” and the Dutch name for the country is Zuid Afrika, hence ZA is its two-letter code. The country is well known for its rich mineral resources and it has been estimated that nearly half of all the gold ever mined in the world has come from one location in South Africa – Witwatersrand.
The country is officially called Reino de España or Kingdom of Spain. It has one of the oldest national anthems in the world. Although Spain's anthem has no lyrics, there have been occasions when lyrics were created for it, became popular and then faded away to no longer be used.
Germany has the largest population of all the European Union countries – 82 million. In Germany, it is not illegal for a prisoner to escape from jail, since it is believed that wanting freedom is a basic human instinct.
Although it is called the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ), this 160-mile long strip of land between South Korea and North Korea is actually one of the most militarized areas in the world. South Korean soap operas and music (K-Pop) have become quite popular around the world.
The indigenous people of Australia lived there from approximately 50, 000 years before British arrival. Mount Wingen in New South Wales, Australia, is often called Burning Mountain because of coal which has been smoldering continuously underneath it for over 6,000 years.
Sean’s Bar (or simply Sean’s) is Ireland’s oldest pub, as well as the oldest pub in Europe. It opened in 900 A.D. under the name Luain’s Inn. Sean’s was owned briefly by Culture Club's lead singer, Boy George, in 1987.
Out of the seven countries which make up Central America, Belize is the only one to have English as its official language. In all of the other countries - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama - the official language is Spanish.
Trinidad and Tobago is a twin-island republic with the island of Trinidad being much larger than the island of Tobago. One of the hottest peppers in the world is the Moruga Scorpion pepper, named after a village on Trinidad’s south coast.
Evidence of the biodiversity of Costa Rica can be seen in the fact that the country has over 50 species of hummingbirds. The country also has five active volcanoes, one of which, Arenal, has been one of the most active volcanoes in the world since 1968, after having been dormant for hundreds of years.
Japan is made up of over 6,000 islands, the largest of which are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku. Interestingly, there is a building (the Gate Tower Building) on the main island of Honshu with a highway exit ramp running through it. Apparently, it was the only agreement the landowner and city planners could come to.
Not many persons know that Portuguese is the official language of Mozambique. Scrabble lovers, however, may already know that the word “Mozambique” carries the highest possible score of all one-word country names. Too bad proper names are not allowed.
China is the fourth largest country by area. Although China covers five geographical zones, the country has only one official time zone. That means in the western portion of the country, noon on the clock is actually around 3 pm.
Although the United Nations (UN) was formed in 1945, Switzerland only became a member in 2002. This is despite the fact that several UN organizations and agencies have had their headquarters in Switzerland for decades now. The seemingly unusual two-letter code for Switzerland stems from the Latin name it was once known by: Confoederatio Helvetica (CH).
Some Afghans play a sport called Buzkashi, in which two teams on horseback try to grab a goat carcass and place it in a goal. It is a traditional game which resembles the game of polo.
Jerusalem, in Israel, is one of the world’s oldest cities and is considered by Judaism, Christianity and Islam to be one of the holiest places on Earth. Historians approximate that during its long history, the city has been besieged 23 times and attacked 52 times; captured and recaptured 44 times; as well as destroyed twice.
Mexico, officially known as the United Mexican States, has a population of over 120 million. Spanish is informally thought of as the official language of Mexico but, in fact, the country has no official language. There are 68 native, regional languages which are recognized by the Mexican government.
Panama is often referred to as the Isthmus of Panama – an isthmus being a narrow connection between two larger pieces of land, the continents of North and South America in Panama’s case. Panama is said to be the only place on Earth where you can watch the sun rise on the Pacific Ocean and set on the Atlantic Ocean, from the same country.
Finland has approximately five million people and three million saunas. The country is said to have more saunas than cars and what’s really cool (or, in this case, hot) is that there are even cars with built-in saunas in Finland! Even cooler is that one particular Burger King location in Finland has a sauna for customers to relax in with their order!
The word kiwi has three meanings in New Zealand. It is the name of a small, flightless, nocturnal bird which is native to the country. There is also the kiwifruit which originated in China but which New Zealand is the third-largest producer of. Of course, New Zealanders proudly use the term “Kiwi” to refer to themselves, as well.
The island of Jamaica is known for its many famous citizens, including reggae music legend Bob Marley and great athletes like Usain Bolt. On the culinary scene, it is Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, jerk pork and Appleton Estate Rum which bring this tiny island much of its attention.