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Fun Facts About Countries

A dozen fun facts from around the globe.

France has the most time zones: If you count everything, including overseas territories, then France claims the title by covering 12 time zones. The United States would be the runner-up with 11 and then Russia with 9.

Kenya: The Kalenjin tribe in this East African nation produces the world’s best long-distance runners. In one Berlin marathon a few years ago, male runners from this single tribe placed first, second, third, fourth and fifth; women runners from the tribe nabbed first, second and fourth place.

Canada has the most lakes in the world: With over 3 million lakes, 9 percent of Canadian territory is actually fresh water and over 60 percent of all the lakes in the world are found within its borders.

Denmark: Bicycles are much more prevalent than personal automobiles in this European country. Only four out of 10 Danes own a vehicle, while nine out of 10 own a bike.

Your least likely to bump into someone in Mongolia: At 4 people per square mile Mongolia is the least densely populated country on Earth. Compare this to the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong, that has the highest population density in the world, with 340,000 people per square mile.

England: Brits are famously fond of tea - reportedly drinking 165 million cups a day. But it was a Portugeuse woman who first brought the drink to the isles. After Catherine of Braganza wed King Charles II in 1662, her favorite libation, tea from China, quickly caught on in the royal palace, then the rest of the country.

More languages are spoken in Papua New Guinea than anywhere else: Although English is its official language, only 1-2 percent of the population actually speak it. As the most linguistically diverse country in the world, over 820 languages are spoken in Papua New Guinea or 12 percent of the world’s total.

America: The stars and stripes make up one of the most recognizable flags of any country in the world. But did you know the modern iteration containing 50 stars was designed for a class project by an enterprising high school student in 1958, who anticipated the addition of Alaska and Hawaii a year later? Amazingly, the boy's unimpressed teacher gave him a B-.

India gave the world its sweet tooth: Although sugarcane originated in Southeast Asia, it was first chemically refined about 2,500 years ago in India. (Thanks, India!)

Nigeria: The Yoruba people in the southwest part of this African nation are known for giving birth to more twins than anywhere else in the world, at a rate of 50 per 1,000 births. The best explanation so far is that Yoruba people eat a type of yam that contains an ovarian stimulate that might release more eggs.

Philippines: About a quarter of all overseas nurses come from this island nation, making it the world’s top supplier of nurses.

South Africa: There is a street in the city of Soweto called Vilakazi Street that was once home to two very famous South Africans: Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Both won Nobel peace prizes.


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