The Largest Countries In The World

World Facts


The worlds largest nations, measured in square kilometers of land area.

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The Trans-Siberian railway, which passes through Russia, is the longest railway line in the world.

From Cape Horn all the way to the Arctic Circle, the world’s largest countries provide a beautiful snapshot of the variety of geography, climate and wildlife on the planet. Collectively, the world’s largest countries contain rainforest and tundra, mountains and valleys, coastline and desert.

As this we explore the largest nations, we visit five different continents, some of the world’s most spectacular geography, and every type of climate imaginable.

Excitingly, it’s always changing, too: history has taught that geopolitical boundaries shift dramatically as centuries pass. In the next decades, who’s to say which countries will become the world’s largest?

When 11.5 percent of all the land in the entire world is claimed by just one country, it’s not surprising to learn that the tenth largest country (Algeria) could fit into the largest (Russia) seven times over. When all 10 of the world’s largest countries are taken together, they total 49% of the earth’s entire 149 million square kilometres of land.

10 – Algeria

10 – Algeria

The Algerian Sahara, the largest expanse of Saharan desert.

Algeria, at 2.38 million square kilometers, is the tenth-largest country in the world by area and the only African country in the top 10.

Situated in Northern Africa, Algeria has a Mediterranean coastline 998 km long. 90 percent of the country is desert, and much of its desert regions are highly elevated. The Tell Atlas mountain range runs along the country’s northern border, while the interior, much of it hundreds of meters above sea level, contains the Algerian portion of the Sahara desert. The massive Algerian Sahara extends all the way to the south of the country past its borders with Niger and Mali.

9 – Kazakhstan

9 – Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked country.

Kazakhstan’s 2.72 million square kilometers stretch over vast plains and highlands. A cool and dry, but not quite desert-like, climate prevails for most of the year. Kazakhstanis experience a great range of temperatures throughout the year, though it doesn’t get as cold in Kazakhstan as it does in parts of its northern neighbor, Russia.

Formerly part of the USSR, the largest nation in the world for most of the 20th century, Kazakhstan’s current main claim to fame is its status as the largest landlocked country in the world—and the only landlocked country in the top 10.

8 – Argentina

8 – Argentina

Mount Fitz Roy in Patagonia, Argentina.

Argentina, the world’s 32nd most populous country, is the world’s eighth largest, and the largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world by area. Its 2.78 million square kilometers include some of the most varied geography and climate in the world.

Swampy, tropical conditions in the very north give way to freezing glacial regions in the south. Patagonia, one of the most spectacular and dangerous places on the planet, stretches from the southern Andes in the west to the Atlantic Ocean in the east. The southern tip of Argentina, known as Cape Horn, is one of the stormiest locations on the globe.

7 – India

7 – India

India is the second largest nation in terms of population, and seventh largest in terms of area

India’s boundaries have changed quite a few times over the past century, and even still, India claims that the northern region of Kashmir (an area disputed with Pakistan) belongs under Indian control completely. As it stands, without Kashmir, India’s territory stretches for 3.29 million square kilometers.

China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal each share a border with India, and its geography ranges from the majestic Himalayan Mountains to the tropical shores of the southern peninsula. Geologically, India is found on it’s own subcontinent, and geological studies show that this whole nation and it’s close neighbours were at one time separated from Asia by a sea.

6 – Australia

6 – Australia

The Twelve Apostles, Victoria State, Australia

The approximately 4.4 million square kilometer difference between Australia and India represents the second-largest size difference between countries ranked consecutively in the top 10. Australia, at around 7.69 million square kilometers, is over twice the size of India.

It’s the largest country in Oceania by far. Technically it is so large that it doesn’t even qualify as an island, it is a continental landmass.

The vast majority of its population live in coastal cities like Sydney in the east and Perth in the west, and with good reason: the Australian Outback is one of the world’s driest and hottest regions. Along with extreme climate and geography, Australia is known for its spectacular—and often deadly—wildlife.

5 – Brazil

5 – Brazil

Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The largest country in South America at over 8.51 million square kilometers, Brazil plays home to much of the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon. The Amazon is so dense and vast that explorers and scientists have found human civilizations that had never made contact with the outside world.

Brazil also has a lengthy Atlantic coastline on the eastern side, which stretches approximately 8,000 km. Most of its major cities, including Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo exist near the coastline.

4 – People’s Republic of China

4 – People_s Republic of China

The Great Wall of China stretches along a long stretch of the northern border of China.

China, the United States of America, and Canada each occupy just under seven percent of the globe’s surface. Of these three, China is the smallest—just barely—at approximately 9.6 million square kilometers. It shares a border with 14 different countries, including Afghanistan to the east, Russia to the north, and Vietnam to the south.

Its climate and its people vary dramatically. In the north, temperatures drop to subarctic levels, the center of the nation holds the Gobi, the world’s 4th largest desert, and in the south temperatures reach tropical levels regularly. With over 1.35 billion citizens, China is home to 56 recognized ethnic groups, has the world’s 18th largest Muslim population, the 19th largest Christian population, and with 1.9 doctors per 1000 people, China has more doctors than the entire population of Qatar.

3 – United States of America

3 – United States of America

Long meandering rivers of North Dakota cut through plains and canyons.

The United States, just bigger than China but slightly smaller than Canada, occupies 9.63 million square kilometers. Bordered by Mexico to the south, and Canada to the north, the United States is home to a diverse array of geography and wildlife.

Two North-South features split the nation into three distinct pieces. West of the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific states are known for year round temperate weather and long expanses of beach along the California coast. Sandwiched between the Rockies and the Mississippi River, the great plains stretch from Canada to Mexico, giving the United States one of the world’s most fertile growing areas. Lastly, the third of the nation east of the Mississippi is the industrial and economic hub of America, with major cities spread all along the Eastern seaboard.

2 – Canada

2 – Canada

The vast wilderness of Canada is popular for outdoor activity.

Canada’s 9.984 million square kilometers make it the largest country in the western hemisphere, and its 202,080 kilometer coastline means that it has a longer shoreline than any other nation. With a population density of 4 people per square kilometer, this means that each of Canada’s 35 million people could have 61 acres for themselves.

Positioned between the Arctic and the United States, Canada’s massive frozen tundra extends into the Arctic Circle. Split similar to the USA; in the western half of the country, the Rocky Mountains run north to south, and prairies provide huge grain and canola growing areas. Eastern Canada is the traditional heart of the nation, with Toronto, Montreal, and the national capital of Ottawa, all located in the East.

1 – Russia

1 – Russia

The landscape of Siberia, Russia.

Russia’s 17.1 million square kilometres easily make it the world’s largest by area. In fact, if Russia were to lop off 7 million square kilometers, it would still be the largest—and the lopped-off section would rank seventh overall!

Like China, Russia borders 14 different countries. Unlike China, none of Russia is tropical, though humid summers prevail in much of southern Russia. The Taiga, the world’s largest terrestrial biome, extends all the way from Eastern Canada throughout the vast majority of northern Russia. Massive oil reserves exist underneath Russia’s frozen forests and tundra; however, due to the expense and difficulty of extracting it, much of Russia’s oil wealth remains untapped.

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Source: WorldAtlas

The 10 Smallest Countries In The World

World Facts


A list of the 10 smallest countries by total land area. Some of the coziest nations, islands, and places on the planet.

Vatican City

Covering not even one kilometer squared, Vatican City is the world’s smallest country by land area.

With over 194 countries in the world, it’s easy to think the word “country” equates to a massive land area with large numbers of people. Some nations are so small that cities within other nations are giants compared to them. Mostly found in Europe, the Carribean, and the Pacific, there are many countries in the world with an area of less than 400 square kilometers. The top 10 smallest countries in the world cover a total area of 1491.4 km² which is smaller than the area of the city of Houston, Texas (1625.2 km²).

With their own governments and own culture, these small countries are some of the richest, most remote, and most intriuing places in the world. Let’s take a look at the 10 smallest countries in the world today:

10. Malta – 316 km²

10. Malta - 316 km²

Malta is another island country, and is located in the Mediterranean Sea. The Republic of Malta is actually made up of three islands: Gozo, Comino, and Malta, which is the largest of the three. This small country has a population of over 450,000 inhabitants, making it one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Another popular tourist destination, foreigners from all over the world come to Malta for its sunny weather, attractive beaches, rich history, and vibrant nightlife. Malta is made up of 116 squared kilometers, which puts it at number ten of the world’s smallest countries.

9. Maldives – 300 km²

9. Maldives - 300 km²

A popular tourist destination in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is the smallest country in Asia in terms of area and population. There are over 1,192 coral islands in the Maldives, which are spread over 90,000 sq.km, making it one of the world’s most dispersed countries. The country was once the colony of many empires, the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British, but became an independent country in 1965. Today, the Maldives has a vibrant tourism economy due to its famous white sand beaches and crystal blue waters. The Maldives are the world’s ninth smallest country with a land area that measures a total of 300 kilometers squared.

8. Saint Kitts and Nevis – 261 km²

8. Saint Kitts and Nevis - 261 km²

The Mother Colony of the West Indies, these 2 islands in the Caribbean were some of the first islands to be occupied by Europeans. They occupy a total of 261 kilometers squared, which makes Grenada the world’s eighth smallest country. Its economy is dependent on tourism, agriculture, and small manufacturing industries. The islands also provide fantastic diving sites due to abundant marine life. A major sugar exporter for centuries, the large plantations are now beautiful estates that have been converted into hotels and resorts.

7. Marshall Islands – 181 km²

7. Marshall Islands - 181 km²

The Marshall Islands, which is officially called the Republic of the MarshalI Islands, is an island country that can be found in the Pacific Ocean, approximately halfway between the US State of Hawaii and the continent of Australia. It is considered to be part of Micronesia. The area surrounded the islands are incredibly biodiverse, and include over 800 species of fish as well as 160 of coral. The area around the Marshall Islands also hosts a number of shipwrecks. With 181 square kilometers, the Marshall Islands are the world’s seventh smallest country.

6. Liechtenstein – 160 km²

6. Liechtenstein - 160 km²

A German-speaking country, this is the only nation in the world to be completely located in the Alps. Located between Switzerland and Austria, Liechtenstein is the richest country in the world by GDP per capita, with the lowest unemployment rate (1.5%). Getting into the country is a little tricky, as there is no airport within its borders. Visitors must go through Switzerland’s Zurich Airport to reach this Alpine country that’s still ruled by a prince! With 160 square kilometers, Liechtenstein is the world’s sixth smallest country.

5. San Marino – 61 km²

5. San Marino - 61 km²

Surrounded completely by Italy, San Marino is also known as the Most Serene Republic of San Marino. With a total of 61 square kilometers, it is the fifth smallest country in the world. it claims to be the oldest surviving sovereign state in the world, and is also one of the wealthiest in terms of GDP per capita. The 3rd smallest country in Europe, it has a population of only 30,000, boasting of one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world.

4. Tuvalu – 26 km²

4. Tuvalu - 26 km²

Formerly known as the Ellice Islands, Tuvalu is located in the Pacific Ocean northeast of Australia. With a total of 26 square kilometers, Tuvalu is the fourth smallest country in the world.There are about 10,000 inhabitants, with 8 km of roads, and only one hospital present on the main island. The country was once a British territory but became independent in 1978. Due to the country’s location further afield, tourism is not very significant. In 2010, less than 2,000 visitors came to Tuvalu, with 65% of them coming for business.

3. Nauru – 21 km²

3. Nauru - 21 km²

An island nation located east of Australia, Nauru is the smallest island country in the world. It was known in the 1980s for its booming phosphate mining but is now a quiet island off the radar of tourists. Formerly known as Pleasant Island, its phosphate resources are now depleted, leading to a 90% national unemployment rate, with the remaining 10% employed by the government. Nauru is also known as the country with the most obese people in the world, with 97% of its men and 93% of women being obese or overweight. Because of this, Nauru is also home to the world’s highest level of type 2 diabetes, with 40% of its population suffering from the ailment. Nauru has a total of 21 square kilometers, which makes it the world’s third smallest country.

2. Monaco – 2 km²

2. Monaco - 2 km²

Located on the French Riviera, Monaco is home to the largest number of millionaires and billionaires in the world per capita. It is also the world’s second smallest country, with only 2 square kilometers in total land area. Known for its gambling and luxury goods and services industry, Monaco is a favourite playground of the rich and famous. Bordered by France on three sides and on one side by the Mediterranean Sea, the residents of Monaco are mostly French-speaking. With a population of over 36,000, Monaco is the world’s most densely populated country. The most popular annual event is the Formula 1 race, with tracks passing through the city streets.

1. Vatican City – 0.44 km²

1. Vatican City - 0.44 km²

The world’s smallest country is the Vatican, also known as the Holy See. With only 0.44 squared kilometers, Vatican City is the world’s smallest country by land area. This country fits entirely within the Italian capital city of Rome, and is the center of the Catholic Church. It is also home to the biggest church in the world – St. Peter’s Basilica, which holds some of the most significant art works of the Renaissance such as The Pieta and the Creation of Adam. Its income comes from the voluntary contributions of over 1 billion members of the Roman Catholic Church around the world. The remainder of its economy comes from the sales of postage stamps, tourist mementos, and admission fees of museums.

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Source: WorldAtlas