Home life · Trivia

193 countries, and a challenge

Regular readers of this Blog will know that Trivia and Quiz Questions feature heavily on these pages. Although these topics take up much of my time, I am an occasional rather than a regular quizzer. I do not have many friends who are into this sort of thing, and have not taken part in a pub quiz since 2018.

Entirely unprompted by me, my 15-year-old daughter spent much of the recent half-term holiday improving her knowledge of the world’s 193 countries. Or rather the 196 that are listed on this Jetpunk quiz. You get 15 minutes to list every country, and each one is filled in on a map as you progress. If you haven’t tried it before, have a go.

She has attempted this challenge many times on her mobile phone (where predictive text makes it quicker than using a computer keyboard) and can now name all 196 territories with plenty of time to spare.

This means that we can now talk about this core general knowledge topic with very little danger of her rolling her eyes or getting bored. The official number of countries in the world is currently 193. Vatican City and the State of Palestine have Observer status but are not full members of the UN. The Jetpunk challenge counts Vatican City as a country, and also includes Kosovo and Taiwan. Neither of these fits the usual definition of a country: “a sovereign state that is also a member of the UN in its own right”. There is no mention of Palestine.

On my first go I managed 174 of the 196 answers. Here are the 22 that I didn’t get, arranged by region.

Europe: Albania, Andorra

Asia: Bahrain, Lebanon, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman

Africa; Central African Republic, Comoros, Djibouti, Gabon, Ghana, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe

North America: El Salvador, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago

Oceania: Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu

There are some real schoolboy errors there. How could I miss Albania, Ghana and Rwanda? I will try to improve my scores, but in the meantime I am enjoying the fact that someone else in the family might be into this sort of thing.

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