Afghanistan has historically been the link between Central Asia, the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent. It is therefore a nation made up of many different nationalities.Population of Afghanistan is 25,853,797,the religions are Sunni Muslim 84%, Shi'a Muslim 15%, other 1%. Afghanistan has mostly mountains and desert. The climate is dry, with cold winters and hot summers.
Scholars believe the Albanian people are descended from a non-Slavic, non-Turkic group of tribes known as Illyrians, who arrived in the Balkans around 2000 BCE. Modern Albanians still distinguish between Ghegs (northern tribes) and Tosks (southern tribes). After falling under Roman authority in 165 BCE, Albania was controlled nearly continuously by a succession of foreign powers until the mid-20th century, with only brief periods of genuine self-rule.Area: 28,748 sq. km.Capital--Tirana.Terrain: Situated in the southwestern region of the Balkan Peninsula, Albania is predominantly mountainous but flat along its coastline with the Adriatic Sea.Climate: Mild temperate--cool, wet winters; dry, hot summers.
Algeria, the second-largest state in Africa, has a Mediterranean coastline of about 998 kilometers (620 mi.). The Tellian and Saharan Atlas Mountain ranges cross the country from east to west, dividing it into three zones.Algeria's weather is irregular from year to year. In the north, the summers are usually hot with little rainfall. Winter rains begin in the north in October. Frost and snow are rare, except on the highest slopes of the Tellian Atlas Mountains. Dust and sandstorms occur most frequently between February and May. Area: Total--2,381,740 sq. km. Land--2,381,740 sq. km.Capital--Algiers.Terrain: Mostly high plateau and desert; some mountains; narrow, discontinuous coastal plain. Mountainous areas subject to severe earthquakes; mud slides.Climate: Arid to semiarid; mild, wet winters with hot, dry summers along coast; drier with cold winters and hot summers on high plateau; sirocco is a hot, dust/sand-laden wind especially common in summer
Andorra is the last independent survivor of the March states, a number of buffer states created by Charlemagne to keep the Muslim Moors from advancing into Christian France.Terrain: Mountainous.Climate: Temperate, cool, dry.Area: 468 sq. km.Population: 69,150.Ethnic groups: Catalan, Spanish, French, Portuguese.Religion: Roman Catholic.Languages: Catalan (official), Spanish, French, Portuguese.
In 1482, when the Portuguese first landed in what is now northern Angola, they encountered the Kingdom of the Congo, which stretched from modern Gabon in the north to the Kwanza River in the south. Mbanza Congo, the capital, had a population of 50,000 people.rea: 1,246,700 sq. km. (481,400 sq. mi), about twice the size of Texas.Cities: Capital--Luanda (pop. 3.8 million); Huambo (750,000); Benguela (600,000).Terrain: A narrow, dry coastal strip extending from Luanda to Namibia; well-watered agricultural highlands; savanna in the far east and south; and rain forest in the north and Cabinda.Climate: Tropical and tropical highland.
From 1880 to 1930 Argentina became one of the world's 10 wealthiest nations based on rapid expansion of agriculture and foreign investment in infrastructure.Area: 2.8 million sq. km. (1.1 million sq. mi.); about the size of the U.S. east of the Mississippi River; second-largest country in South America.Climate: Varied--predominantly temperate with extremes ranging from subtropical in the north to arid/sub Antarctic in far south.
Armenia first emerged into history around 800 BC as part of the Kingdom of Urartu or Van, which flourished in the Caucasus and eastern Asia Minor until 600. After the destruction of the Seleucid Empire, the first Armenian state was founded in 190 BC.Between the 4th and 19th centuries, Armenia was conquered and ruled by, among others, Persians, Byzantines, Arabs, Mongols, and Turks.Area: 29,800 sq. km. (11,500 sq. mi.); slightly larger than Maryland. Cities: Capital--Yerevan. Terrain: High plateau with mountains, little forest land. Climate: Highland continental, hot summers, cold winters.
Aruba's first inhabitants were the Caquetios Indians from the Arawak tribe. Fragments of the earliest known Indian settlements date back to about 1,000 A.D.Area: 180 sq. km. (112 sq. mi.). Cities: Capital--Oranjestad (pop. 60,000, 1995).Terrain: Flat with a few hills; scant vegetation .Climate: Subtropical.
Australia was uninhabited until stone-culture peoples arrived, perhaps by boat across the waters separating the island from the Indonesia archipelago about 40,000 years ago. Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, and English explorers observed the island before 1770, when Captain Cook explored the east coast and claimed it for Great Britain (three American colonists were crew members aboard Cook's ship, the Endeavour). Area: 7.7 million sq. km.Cities: (2001) Capital--Canberra (pop. 311,500). Other cities--Sydney (4.0 million), Melbourne (3.5 million), Brisbane (1.6 million), Perth (1.3 million).Terrain: Varied, but generally low-lying.Climate: Relatively dry, ranging from temperate in the south to tropical in the north.
The 1955 Austrian State Treaty ended the four-power occupation and recognized Austria as an independent and sovereign state.Area: 83,857 sq. km.Cities: Capital--Vienna (2003 pop. 1.5 million). Other cities--Graz, Linz, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt.Terrain: Alpine (64%), northern highlands that form part of the Bohemian Massif (10%), lowlands to the east (26%).Climate: Continental temperate.
Azerbaijan combines the heritage of two venerable civilizations--the Seljuk Turks of the 11th century and the ancient Persians. Its name is thought to be derived from the Persian phrase "Land of Fire," referring both to its petroleum deposits, known since ancient times, and to its status as a former center of the Zoroastrian faith.Location: South Caucasus; bordered by Russia to the north, the Caspian Sea to the east, Iran to the south, and Georgia and Armenia to the west.Area: 33,774 sq. mi. (includes Nakhchivan and Nagorno-Karabakh); slightly smaller than Maine.Cities: Capital--Baku.Terrain: Caucasus Mountains to the north, lowland in the central area through which the Kura River flows.Climate: Dry, subtropical with hot summers and mild winters; forests, meadows, and alpine tundra in the mountains.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus made his first landfall in the Western Hemisphere in The Bahamas.Area: 13,939 sq. km.Cities: Capital--Nassau, New Providence. Second-largest city--Freeport, Grand Bahama. Terrain: Low and flat. Climate: Semitropical.
The site of the ancient Bronze Age civilization of Dilmun, Bahrain was an important center linking trade routes between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley as early as 5,000 years ago.rea: 710 sq. km. ( 274 sq. mi.); approximately four times the size of Washington, D.C.Cities: Capital--Manama, pop. (2002 est.) 148,000. Other cities--Al Muharraq. Terrain: Low desert plain (highest elevation point–122 m).Climate: Hot and humid from May-September, with average highs ranging from 30-40 C (86-104 F). Maximum temperatures average 20-30C (68-86F) the remainder of the year.
Bengal was absorbed into the Mughul Empire in the 16th century, and Dhaka, the seat of a nawab (the representative of the emperor), gained some importance as a provincial center. Area: 147, 570 sq. km.Cities: Capital--Dhaka (pop. 10 million). Other cities--Chittagong (2.8 million), Khulna (1.8 million), Rajshahi (1 million).Terrain: Mainly flat alluvial plain, with hills in the northeast and southeast.Climate: Semitropical, monsoonal.
ritish sailors who landed on Barbados in the 1620s at the site of present-day Holetown on the Caribbean coast found the island uninhabited. As elsewhere in the eastern Caribbean, Arawak Indians may have been annihilated by invading Caribs, who are believed to have subsequently abandoned the island. Area: 431 sq. km.Cities: Capital--Bridgetown.Terrain: Generally flat, hilly in the interior.Climate: Tropical.
While archeological evidence points to settlement in today's Belarus at least 10,000 years ago, recorded history begins with settlement by Baltic and Slavic tribes in the early centuries A.D.Area: 207,600 sq. km.Cities: Capital--Minsk. Terrain: Landlocked, low-lying with thick forests, flat marshes and fields. Climate: Cold winters, cool and moist summers, transitional between continental and maritime.
Belgium derives its name from a Celtic tribe, the Belgae, whom Caesar described as the most courageous tribe of Gaul. However, the Belgae were forced to yield to Roman legions during the first century B.C. For some 300 years thereafter, what is now Belgium flourished as a province of Rome.Area: 32,547 square kilometers (12,566 sq. mi.), about the size of Maryland.
Cities: Capital--Brussels Capital Region (pop. 992,041). Other cities--Antwerp (452,474); Ghent (228,016); Charleroi (200,460); Liège (184,303); Bruges (116,811); and Namur (105,705).
The Mayan civilization spread into the area of Belize between 1500 BC and AD 300 and flourished until about AD 1200. Several major archeological sites--notably Caracol, Lamanai, Lubaantun, Altun Ha, and Xunantunich--reflect the advanced civilization and much denser population of that period.Area: 22,923 sq. km. Cities: Capital--Belmopan (2000 pop. est. 8,305) Other cities and towns--Belize City (54,125), Corozal (8,075), Orange Walk (13,795), San Ignacio & Santa Elena (13,545), Dangriga (9.020), Punta Gorda (4,425) and San Pedro (4,965).Terrain: Flat and swampy coastline, low mountains in interior.Climate: Subtropical (dry and wet seasons). Hot and humid. Rainfall ranges from 60 inches in the north to 200 inches in the south annually.
Bermuda is an archipelago consisting of seven main islands and many smaller islands and islets lying about 1,050 kilometers (650 mi.) east of North Carolina.Area: 58.8 sq. km. (22.7 sq. mi.).Cities: Capital--Hamilton (pop. 3,461). Other city--St. George (pop. 3,306).Terrain: Hilly islands.Climate: Semi-tropical.
For the first centuries of the Christian era, Bosnia was part of the Roman Empire. After the fall of Rome, Bosnia was contested by Byzantium and Rome's successors in the west. Slavs settled the region in the 7th century, and the kingdoms of Serbia and Croatia split control of Bosnia in the 9th century.
With its estimated 177 million inhabitants, Brazil has the largest population in Latin America and ranks fifth in the world.Area: 8,511,965 sq. km.Cities: Capital--Brasilia (pop. 2.1 million). Other cities--Sao Paulo (17.9 million), Rio de Janeiro (10.7 million), Belo Horizonte (2.6 million), Salvador (2.6 million), Fortaleza (2.1 million), Recife (2.9 million), Porto Alegre (3 million), Curitiba (1.6 million). Terrain: Dense forests in northern regions including Amazon Basin; semiarid along northeast coast; mountains, hills, and rolling plains in the southwest, including Mato Grosso; and coastal lowland.Climate: Mostly tropical or semitropical with temperate zone in the south.
British Virgin Islanders
The first Bulgarian state was recognized in 681 A.D. and was a mixture of Slavs and Bulgars.Area: 110,994 sq. km.Major cities: Capital--Sofia (1.2 million).Others--Plovdiv (350,000), Varna (300,000). Terrain: Bulgaria is located in South Central Europe. The terrain is varied, containing large mountainous areas, fertile valleys, plains and a coastline along the Black Sea. Climate: Continental--mild summers and cold, snowy winters.
Throughout its history, the present-day territory of Macedonia has been a crossroads for both traders and conquerors moving between the European Continent and Asia Minor. Each of these transiting powers left its mark upon the region, giving rise to a rich and varied cultural and historical tradition.Area: 25,713 square km.Cities: Capital--Skopje 600,000; Tetovo, Kumanovo, Gostivar and Bitola 100,000+ (2001 est.). Geography: Situated in the southern region of the Balkan Peninsula, Macedonia is landlocked and mountainous. Climate: Three climatic types overlap--Mediterranean; moderately continental; and mountainous-producing hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters.
Until the end of the 19th century, the history of Burkina Faso was dominated by the empire-building Mossi. The French arrived and claimed the area in 1896, but Mossi resistance ended only with the capture of their capital Ouagadougou in 1901.Area: 274,200 sq. km.Cities: Capital--Ouagadougou (pop.1 million). Other cities--Bobo-Dioulasso (450,000), Koudougou (90,000).Terrain: Savanna; brushy plains and scattered hills.Climate: Sahelian; pronounced wet and dry seasons.
In the 16th century, Burundi was a kingdom characterized by a hierarchical political authority and tributary economic exchange.Location: Central Africa. Area: 27,830 sq. km.Capital--Bujumbura.Warm but not uncomfortable in Bujumbura; cooler in higher regions.
Although Cambodia had a rich and powerful past under the Hindu state of Funan and the Kingdom of Angkor, by the mid-19th century the country was on the verge of dissolution. After repeated requests for French assistance, a protectorate was established in 1863.Area: 181,040 sq. km.Capital--Phnom Penh.Climate: Tropical monsoon with rainy season June-Oct. and dry season Nov.-May.
The earliest inhabitants of Cameroon were probably the Bakas (Pygmies). They still inhabit the forests of the south and east provinces. Bantu speakers originating in the Cameroonian highlands were among the first groups to move out before other invaders.Area: 475,000 sq. km.Capital--Yaounde.Terrain: Northern plains, central and western highlands, southern and coastal tropical forests. Mt. Cameroon (13,353 ft.) in the southwest is the highest peak in West Africa and the sixth in Africa. Climate: Northern plains, the Sahel region -- semiarid and hot (7-month dry season); central and western highlands where Yaounde is located -- cooler, shorter dry season; southern tropical forest --warm, 4-month dry season; coastal tropical forest, where Douala is located -- warm, humid year-round.
In August 2002, Prime Minister Jean Chretien announced his intention to leave office in early 2004. It is anticipated that he will be succeeded as Prime Minister and as leader of the Liberal Party by Mr. Paul Martin, a Liberal M.P. and former Finance Minister. It was widely expected that the new Prime Minister would call elections in Spring 2004 and that the Liberals would retain a majority in Parliament.Area: 9.9 million sq. km. (3.8 million sq. mi.); second-largest country in the world. Cities: Capital--Ottawa (pop. 1 million). Other major cities--Toronto (4.5 million), Montreal (3.4 million), Vancouver (2.0 million). Terrain: Mostly plains with mountains in the west and lowlands in the southeast. Climate: Temperate to arctic.
The Cape Verde Islands are located in the mid-Atlantic Ocean some 450 kilometers (about 300 mi.) off the west coast of Africa.
In 1462, Portuguese settlers arrived at Santiago and founded Ribeira Grande (now Cidade Velha)--the first permanent European settlement city in the tropics. In the 16th century, the archipelago prospered from the transatlantic slave trade. Rugged volcanic islands. Climate: Dry, temperate.
Chad is a landlocked country in north central Africa measuring 1,284,000 square kilometers (496,000 sq. mi.), roughly three times the size of Texas. Most of its ethnically and linguistically diverse population lives in the south, with densities ranging from 54 persons per square kilometers in the Logone River basin to 0.1 persons in the northern B.E.T. desert region, which is larger than France.Area: 1,284,634 sq. km. (496,000 sq. mi.); about twice the size of Texas.Cities: Capital--N'Djamena (pop. 1 million est.). Other major cities--Moundou, Abeche, Sarh. Terrain: Desert, mountainous north, large arid central plain, fertile lowlands in extreme southern region. Climate: Northern desert--very dry throughout the year; central plain--hot and dry, with brief rainy season mid-June to mid-September; southern lowlands--warm and more humid with seasonal rains from late May to early October.
The northern Chilean desert contains great mineral wealth, primarily copper and nitrates. The relatively small central area dominates the country in terms of population and agricultural resources. This area also is the historical center from which Chile expanded until the late 19th century.756,945 sq. km. Capital--Santiago (metropolitan area est. 6 million). Other cities--Concepcion-Talcahuano (840,000), Vina del Mar-Valparaiso (800,000), Antofagasta (245,000), Temuco (230,000). Terrain: Desert in north; fertile central valley; volcanoes and lakes toward the south, giving way to rugged and complex coastline; Andes Mountains on the eastern border. Climate: Arid in north, Mediterranean in the central portion, cool and damp in south.
China is the oldest continuous major world civilization, with records dating back about 3,500 years.
9,596,960 sq. km.Capital--Beijing.Plains, deltas, and hills in east; mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west.Climate: Tropical in south to subarctic in north.
Croatia serves as a gateway to eastern Europe. It lies along the east coast of the Adriatic Sea.Croatia is situated between central and eastern Europe. Its terrain is diverse, containing rocky coastlines, densely wooded mountains, plains, lakes and rolling hills
Cuba was the last major Spanish colony to gain independence, following a lengthy struggle begun in 1868.Flat or gently rolling plains, hills; mountains up to 2,000 meters.Capital--Havana
Greek and Turkish Cypriots share many customs but maintain distinct identities based on religion, language, and close ties with their respective "motherlands." Greek is predominantly spoken in the south, Turkish in the north. English is widely used.Central plain with mountain ranges to the north and south.Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.
The Czech Republic was the western part of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic. Low mountains to the north and south, hills in the west.
The Danes, a homogenous Gothic-Germanic people, have inhabited Denmark since prehistoric times. Danish is the principal language.Capital--Copenhagen . The terrain, location, and prevailing westerly winds make the weather changeable.
The island of Hispaniola, of which the Dominican Republic forms the eastern two-thirds and Haiti the remainder, was originally occupied by Tainos, an Arawak-speaking people.
The Dutch are primarily of Germanic stock with some Gallo-Celtic mixture. Their small homeland frequently has been threatened with destruction by the North Sea and has often been invaded by the great European powers. Capital--Amsterdam
Advanced indigenous cultures flourished in Ecuador long before the area was conquered by the Inca empire in the 15th century. In 1534, the Spanish arrived and defeated the Inca armies, and Spanish colonists became the new elite.Capital--Quito
Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world and the second-most populous on the African Continent. Nearly all of the country's 70 million people live in Cairo and Alexandria.Desert, except Nile valley and delta. Climate: Dry, hot summers; moderate winters
The United Kingdom's population in 2002 was nearly 60 million--the second-largest in the European Union and the 21th-largest in the world. Its overall population density is one of the highest in the world.Capital--London
Estonians are one of the longest-settled European peoples, whose forebearers, known as the "comb pottery" people, lived on the southeastern shores of the Baltic Sea over 5,000 years ago.Capital--Tallinn.Climate: Temperate, with four seasons of near-equal length. Annual precipitation averages 50-75 cm.
Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world. Herodotus, the Greek historian of the fifth century B.C. describes ancient Ethiopia in his writings.Capital--Addis Ababa (pop. 2.3 million). Climate: Temperate in the highlands; hot in the lowlands.
The origins of the Finnish people are still a matter of conjecture, although many scholars argue that their original home was in what is now west-central Siberia. The Finns arrived in their present territory thousands of years ago, pushing the indigenous Lapps into the more remote northern regions.Capital--Helsinki.Climate: Northern temperate.
Melanesian and Polynesian peoples settled the Fijian islands some 3,500 years ago. European traders and missionaries arrived in the first half of the 19th century, and the resulting disruption led to increasingly serious wars among the native Fijian confederacies.Capital--Suva (pop. 167,000),
◦ Baltic Germans
◦ Greek Macedonians
Papua New Guineans
◦ Baltic Russians
São Tomé and Príncipe