Geek Trivia

The Largest Number Of Country Names Start With The Letter?

The Largest Irrigation Project In The World Is Located In?

Answer: S

Imagine, if you will, that you’re a grade school student tasked with a portion of a group project that involves memorizing all the U.N. member countries that begin with a specific letter of the alphabet. If you’re a student who prides themselves on getting by with the least amount of effort, then a prayer to the academic gods is in order with a request that you get one of the following letters: F, H, J, O, Q, V, Y, or Z—letters that ensure you’ll only have to memorize three or fewer countries. Get stuck with Z, for example, and you’ll be tasked with memorizing only Zambia and Zimbabwe. Stuck with Y? You’re only in charge of remembering Yemen.

If you’re less lucky (or you really want the challenge of memorizing quite a few countries), then you might get stuck with T or M, where you’d have to memorize 11 or 19 countries, respectively—Tajikistan or Mauritania anyone? The real geography challenge, however, falls upon the student tasked with the letter S. There are 26 country names that start with the letter S, including short names that are easily recalled and spelled like Sudan and more complex names like “São Tomé and Príncipe” or Seychelles.

Before we leave the topic of novel geography trivia related to place names, here are two additional trivia gems. Countries that begin with the letter A, thanks to both the number (11) and the inclusion of “continent-as-a-country” Australia, make up 19.84 percent of the world’s land mass. In terms of population, it’s almost a tie between the letter I (with 8 countries and 23.56 percent of the world’s population) and the letter C (with 17 countries and 22.35 percent of the world’s population), thanks to the two big players in those letter categories: India and China.