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Welcome to The World Factbook
The World Factbook provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities. Our Reference tab includes: maps of the major world regions, as well as Flags of the World, a Physical Map of the World, a Political Map of the World, a World Oceans map, and a Standard Time Zones of the World map.
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December 31, 2018
The Pacific Island nation of Kiribati falls on both sides of the International Date Line and is thus the only country to be the last to usher out the old year and the first to welcome in the new year.
December 20, 2018
Did you know that Bouvet Island in the South Atlantic Ocean is the most remote island in the world (the farthest from any other point of land)? A territory of Norway, the island is 1,639 km (1,019 mi) from Antarctica.
December 14, 2018
There are 11 countries whose names begin with an 'A'; all but two of them also end with an 'A'. Can you name the two 'A' countries that don't end with an 'A'?
December 06, 2018
All of the Energy numbers, including those for "Electricity," "Crude oil," "Refined petroleum products," "Natural gas," and "Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy," have been updated with the latest data available.
November 28, 2018
The number of countries by continent varies greatly. Africa has the most with 54; South America only has 12. To find out how many countries compose the other four inhabited continents (Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania), and which countries appear on what continent, visit the 'World' entry and go to the Geography category>countries by continent.
November 21, 2018
While a number of countries around the world celebrate harvest festivals, several observe a special Thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving in the United States takes place on the fourth Thursday of November and typically includes a turkey dinner, with lots of trimmings. Liberia, an African country settled by freed American slaves beginning in 1822, adopted a number of American customs including Thanksgiving. In Liberia, Thanksgiving celebrations occur on the first Thursday of November and the repast consists of roasted chicken, accompanied by mashed cassavas and green bean casserole.
November 14, 2018
Most maritime commercial cargo is containerized, and the distribution of container ports is a useful indicator of world maritime trade. The "Ports and terminals" entry in the Transportation section of the World entry has been updated to reflect the latest statistics on world container traffic. This entry includes the 20 largest container ports in the world as measured by the throughput of "Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units" or TEUs, twenty feet being the standard measurement of a cargo container. In addition, major container ports are listed in individual country entries with their respective throughput. Of the 20 largest container ports in the world, 15 are in East Asia, 3 in Europe, 1 in North America, and 1 in the Middle East.
November 08, 2018
This Sunday, 11 November 2018, marks the centenary of the end of World War I. At 0510 on 11 November 1918 on a railroad siding in the Forest of Compiègne in northern France, the German delegation signed the terms of the armistice that ended the fighting at exactly 1100 on that day. When the United States entered the deadlocked conflict on 6 April 1917, the US Army numbered 127,151 soldiers, 19 months later, on 11 November 1918, the US military numbered 4.7 million and about 10,000 US soldiers were arriving daily in France. It was their numbers, as well as US materiel and capital, that proved crucial in enabling the final Allied victory.
November 01, 2018
In the Government section, "Legislative branch" field, the 'election results' entry has been expanded for all European countries with the addition of text describing 'composition,' which tallies the number of men and women and the percent of women in unicameral and bicameral legislatures. The total percent of women in bicameral legislatures is included as a note at the end of lower chamber composition data. In coming weeks, composition data will be added for countries in other parts of the world.
October 25, 2018
Did you know that The Sudd is a vast swamp in the north central region of South Sudan in Africa? Formed by the White Nile, its size varies but can reach some 15% of the country's total area during the rainy season, making it is one of the world's largest wetlands.