Geography Quiz
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Welcome to the SSQQ Geography Quiz!

Written by Rick Archer
First published: July 1999 /  Last Update:  August 20

Rick's Note: This quiz is on the level... there are a few curveballs and a few attempts at levity, but this is a legitimate test equivalent to a final exam for a college level Geography course.

I have little doubt there is a mistake in here somewhere, but I have researched the answers carefully enough to make it a fair test of your ability.  I think you will enjoy using your wits!  Some of the questions are easy, but others will definitely separate the brains from the brawns. 

Yes, I have an answer sheet for you.  But first, please email your answers to Rick Archer at    I will send you the answers immediately if you get at least half right or appear to have tried hard.

Some people ask for the answers without taking the Quiz.  Please don't bother.


I don't mind if you use your reference books and the Internet.  Why not?   Everyone else does!!   

originally ran the contest in July 1999.  Not many people did very well.   About 5 people got more than 10 right out of the original 25 questions.  Then something odd happened.  When I ran the quiz again in 2001, this time I had over two dozen people with more than 20 correct answers.  Curious why there had been such an improvement, I asked a couple of my respondents how they had done so well. 

You guessed it - they admitted they had used the Internet.  That is when I realized the first group had taken the test in an era before the Internet had come into its own as a research tool.

So, yes, please use the Internet.  I have added some questions that almost can't be answered without research.  That is part of the fun of this quiz - you learn all sorts of new and interesting things.

If you would like to read the story about the event that inspired the SSQQ Geography Quiz plus read a funny article by Dave Barry, click:

   The SSQQ Geography Story and Dave Barry 


The SSQQ Geography Quiz

  1.  Warm up question. Which of the following Mediterranean Islands is actually a Country?  

a. Balearics
b. Corsica
c. Sicily
d. Malta
e. Crete

   2. Name the only country in the world whose flag has an irregular shape  (i.e. not a square like Switzerland or the common rectangle like the United States flag).  
  Bonus Question:  What is the only country in the world with a flag that is different on both sides?   
(Contributed by Joan Dawkins)
   3 Now that Panama is completely cut in two by the Panama Canal, some people consider Northern Panama part of North America while South Panama is part of South America.  

Can you name two countries in the world that have land on two different continents divided by water?  
(Hint #1:  Russia is not one of them.  Hint #2:  Spain doesn't count.) 

   4. Name the area (much larger than Mexico) with the most inaccurate name of any territory in the world.

(Hint: this one is easy. The name was clearly thought up by an overzealous travel agent.)

   5.  Everyone knows that Mt. Everest is the tallest mountain in the world.

So what is the second Highest mountain?   What country is it in?

  Bonus Question: Technically speaking, there is actually one mountain in the world taller than Everest. It is located in the United States. 
Can you guess its name?
   6.  There is a mainland country of 11,000 sq. miles (about the size of Maryland) whose nation's capital is located on an island out in the ocean.  
What is its name?

Bonus Question 1: As a follow-up, find another capital separated from the mainland out in the middle of a sea. This country is about 17,000 square miles and has a population of about 6 million.  Although the bulk of the country is located on the mainland, its largest city and capital is out on an island in a major sea.

Bonus Question 2: The capital of a Persian Gulf nation lies on a island separated from the mainland by about 200 yards of water.  This one shouldn't be too hard to figure out.  So, to add to the fun, name a Persian Gulf nation that actually is both an island and a country.

   7.   Everyone knows about the problems on the island known as Ireland, but there one other island country in the world with almost as many headaches over divided loyalties.  The island country we are looking for has, like Ireland, been legally separated into two halves for political purposes.  
What is its name?
   8.  What is the only country in the world that is situated in all four hemispheres?   (Contributed by Joan Dawkins)  
   9.  Talk about thin!!  This country is the Ally McBeal of the planet.  It is ten times longer in one direction than the other.
Name the world's most anorexic country.
   10.  Here's an easy one.  Give the new world names of countries formerly known as Ceylon, Burma, Siam, and Dahomey.    
   11.  What is Red,  White  , Blue,  Black,  Yellow, and wet all over?  
   12.  There are tremendous economic and strategic advantages for a country to have access to the sea.  Bolivia, for example, is a land-locked country that lost its ports to Chile around the turn of the century in 1904 and has desperately coveted a corridor to the Pacific ever since.

Here is a double question. 

I am one of the world's largest countries (Top 30), but I was completely landlocked until 1885 when I bought a tiny sliver of coastline about 20 miles wide to provide access to the sea.  Who am I?

I am one of the world's largest countries (Top 30) and I am completely landlocked.  As long as humans have walked the earth, I have had complete access to the sea but that all changed in 1991.  Who am I?

   13.  Hi there. My name is ________ and I used to be a pretty good quarterback for the Miami Dolphins.  Now in retirement I got a cushy job loaning my name to one of the world's smallest countries.  Can you name my country?  
   14.  I am an enormous land mass bigger than Saudi Arabia, Libya, or Mexico, but no one will let my gymnastics team into the Olympics because I am not a country.  Who am I?  (Hint : Not Antarctica, not Arctic Circle).  
   15.  My name is Lake Superior, but I am feeling kind of Erie because I am considered only the 2nd largest Lake in the world. 
Who's occupying First Base in the Planetary Lake Department?  
   16.  About time, an easy one.  What country lies entirely within the Alps?   (contributed by Joan Dawkins)  
   17.  I believe that Over-Population is the Earth's most pressing problem. China averages 300 people per square mile, but that feels like living on the Moon compared to India's staggering 672 people per square mile.  Then again, Japan averages 865 people!!  Have you seen Tokyo lately??  It has become wall to wall skyscrapers.

By comparison, Canada averages about 7 people a square mile and Australia about 6.  Russia, the largest country on Earth, averages about 33 people.

One country, however, gets my vote for hell on earth with the cataclysmic average of 40,000 people per square mile.  Can you name it?

   18. Name the only country in the world whose name starts with "Q".   Can you think of it without looking on the Internet?  
   19.  Europe has Big Ben, but Asia, Africa, Australia, North America, and South America all have something Really Big that Europe doesn't have.  
What can it be?
   20.  Bellaire, Texas, USA, home to the world-famous SSQQ Dance Studio (which sponsors this web site), is a tiny city completely surrounded by the enormous city of Houston, Texas.  It is not uncommon for a small city to be surrounded by a larger city, but only a few countries exist within the borders of a larger country.

an you name two large countries that actually have two separate smaller countries existing completely within its borders (Please note: one of the 4 "contained" countries does at least share a single border with the larger country)

What are the names of the 2 large countries and the 4 smaller countries?  
  Bonus Question:  It is a little known fact that there is also a third country surrounded as well by one of the two large countries above. 
Can you name it?   This is pretty obscure, so don't invest too much time.
   21.   So everybody has heard of the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal.  Big deal.
Anybody want to guess where the longest River-Canal connection in the world is located?
   22.   Which country's Flag is almost completely identical to the State of Texas Flag!?! 
The nerve of those rude copycats!!  (Or did we copy their flag? Hmm.)
   23.   Here is a toughie:  Russia, the United States, Spain, Angola, and Azerbaijan all have a unique problem in common that none of the other 190 countries are burdened with.  What could this unusual problem be?  
   24.    What do Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Zambia all have in common besides the Zambezi River?  
   25.   Here's an interesting question I borrowed from Encarta, the Microsoft Encyclopedia:

Can you name the world’s only two double-landlocked countries?

(Note: "Double landlocked" means that not only are these countries landlocked, but so is every country that borders them.  In other words, these two countries are nowhere near the sea.)


What was the first city in the world to boast having a population of over 1 million? 
(Contributed by Todd Schenk)


I am a country that was named after the NBA's most famous player.  In addition, my capital was once named after another NBA city.
Would you care to guess my name and the former name of my capital?    (Contributed by Todd Schenk)


What state contains the geographic center of the United States of America?   (Contributed by Todd Schenk)


Here is a tricky one. We know the Panama Canal completely divides Panama country into two parts separated by water.

What famous Monster is partly responsible for completely separating 1/3 of an island country into two parts by a combination of rivers, lakes, and canals?

   30.   How about an easy geography question about a country that doesn't even exist?  According to Dave Barry, the noted geographer, quite a few countries were founded by a prolific guy named "Stan". This group includes well-known countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan plus several ex-Soviet Union satellite countries such as Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Dave's favorite Kyrgyzstan, and a huge ex-USSR country named Kazakhstan. Now for some fun. 

In the 1970s, an excellent movie starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine was adapted from a Rudyard Kipling novel.  The movie was about two scallywags who somehow managed to conquer an entire country all by themselves!!  Name the movie and name the fictional country. 

    31.  Size-wise I am one of the 20 largest countries in the world and my citizens regularly are in the top dozen medalist nations at the Summer Olympics.
Unfortunately, I have lots of land that no one wants to live in.  Only 10% of my country is inhabited.  People make fun of me and some even call me the "Big Doughnut" because no one lives in the middle.  Who am I and why did I get this nickname?
   32.  There is a large, well-known country (one of the 20 largest countries in the world).  This country has at least 10 and maybe more political regions.  For example, Germany has 16 states with Bavaria being one of the them.  France has 27 regions or departments such as Basse-Normandy. 

In this country, one of its coastal regions comprises one-sixth of the nation's territory, but over HALF of its coastline. 

In other words, one single region in a large country contains more coastline than all the other regions combined. 

Can you name the country and the political region in question? 

    33.  Finally an easy one. Which is the only land mass in the world not claimed by a single country?  
    34.  What country has more lakes than ALL the other countries on the planet combined?  
    35.  Name the only city in the world that rests on two continents.  
    36.  Name the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.  It was founded a couple thousand years before Rome.  
    37.  A few years ago, this trivia question made the rounds:  What US State has no natural lakes, only man-made ones?

The answer was supposed to be Ohio, but several people who grew up next to lakes in Ohio were justifiably outraged.  After some investigation, it was revealed that the largest lake in Ohio is 345 acres in size and its name is "Aurora Pond".   That is about half of a square mile.  By comparison, Lake Tahoe in California is 190 square miles.  The Great Salt Lake in Utah comes in at 2625 square miles.  So maybe that trivia question is legitimate.

Now here is an even stranger trivia question. 

The largest lake in one of the USA's 50 states has never even been seen by the majority of the state's population.  What is the name of the state and why hasn't anybody ever seen the state's biggest lake?   Good luck figuring this one out.

   38.  Here's an easy one.  Most islands are territories.  However, some islands are actually nations that can send teams to the Olympics . 
On a list of the 17 smallest countries in the world, five of these countries are islands in one spot just 300 miles apart.  Where is that spot? 
   39.  I am huge, but in some ways easily overlooked.  If you look at the map of the world, you can't help but notice me.  I was once part of the European Economic Union, however I am simultaneously so obscure the only way you can reach me by commercial airline is through Copenhagen. 
Who am I and why is this?
   40.  I am the highest waterfall in the world.  My water drops 15 times further than the famous Niagara Falls in the USA.  What is my name?  
   41.  What area of the world contains 25% of the world's forests?  
   42.  Where is the driest place on Earth?  
   43.  What river separates two continents?  
   44. Which one of the following countries is NOT land-locked?  (in other words, which country below has direct access to an ocean or a major sea?)
  01. Bolivia
02. Paraguay
03. Jordan
04. Macedonia
05. Uganda
06. Ethiopia
07. Mali
08. Armenia
09. Mongolia
10. Uzbekistan
   45. Once upon a time, Yugoslavia in the Balkan region was one of the dominant states in all of Europe.  Many people are surprised to learn that Yugoslavia did not even exist until after World War I and now it is gone again. 

Yugoslavia was created as a political idea by Europe's leaders following World War I.  Yugoslavia had quite a bit of potential.  For example, Yugoslavia had many successes at the World Basketball Championships. The national basketball team captured world titles in 1970, 1978, 1990, 1998 and 2002... more world titles than the USA won during the same period!

Unfortunately, the population of Yugoslavia consisted of many diverse ethnic groups that really did not like each other very much.  After some particularly bloody civil wars in the 1990s, Yugoslavia splintered into many separate states.

Which one of the following nations were not formed as part of the breakup of Yugoslavia?

  01. Serbia
02. Herzegovina
03. Albania
04. Montenegro
05. Slovenia
06. Macedonia
07. Bosnia
08. Croatia
09. Kosovo
   46. Which one of the following is not an African "nation"?   Can you do it off the top of your head? 
  01. Gabon
02. Djibouti
03. Guyana
04. Namibia
05. Gambia
06. Zambia
07. Guinea
08. Burundi
09. Ghana
10. Burkina Faso
   47. USA Real Estate Deals.

This American land purchase was considered the real estate steal of the century.  The USA got a big chunk of land for 2 cents an acre.
Can you name it off the top of your head?  If not, you shouldn't have much trouble finding the answer on the Internet.


Bonus Question 1:  What popular cruise destination in the Caribbean was purchased by the USA for security reasons?

Bonus Question 2:  This question is harder.  What major parcel of land is considered to be "the one that got away"? 
The USA was in hot pursuit of a major land purchase in 1947 that never came through. 




   48. After the European discovery of America, some people used the term "Seven Seas" to refer to seven of the largest bodies of water in the world.
On a list of the TEN largest bodies of water in the world, three of the bodies of water in the list below do not belong. 
Can you name all three?
  01. The Gulf of Mexico
02. The Black Sea
03. The Atlantic Ocean
04. The Persian Gulf
05. The Indian Ocean
06. The North Sea
07. The Caribbean Sea
08. The Mediterranean Sea
09. The Arctic Ocean
10. The Pacific Ocean
   49. Which one of the following Caribbean islands is not a "nation"?
  01. Dominica
02. Trinidad
03. St Vincent-Grenadines
04. Antigua
05. Barbados
06. Grenada
07. Dominican Republic
08. Martinique
09. St Kitts
10. St Lucia
   50. Which one of the following Central American areas is not a "nation"?
  01. Costa Rica
02. Grand Cayman
03. Mexico
04. Guatemala
05. El Salvador
06. Honduras
07. Belize
08. Nicaragua
09. Colombia
10. Panama
   51. Which one of the following is not a European nation?
  01. Andorra
02. Liechtenstein
03. Luxembourg
04. San Marino
05. Vatican
06. Malta
07. Cyprus
08. Monaco
09. Moldova
10. Crete
   52. Which one of the following is not a South American "nation"?
  01. Bolivia
02. Paraguay
03. Peru
04. Ecuador
05. Suriname
06. French Guiana
07. Venezuela
08. Chile
09. Colombia
10. Brazil
   53. Which one of the following Pacific islands is not a "nation"?
   01. The Solomons
02. Micronesia
03. Fiji
04. Samoa
05. Nauru
06. Tonga
07. Tahiti
08. Kiribati
09. Tuvalu
10. Vanuatu


  Bonus Question: One of the ten islands above is simultaneously a nation and a territory as well.  Can you name which one and why?  
  54. What is the name of the world's largest desert?   What continent is it in?  
  55. Which is the ONLY state in America that has not a single national park, monument or any other site of note in the entire federal system?   
  56. I am an island nation somewhere in the Eastern Hemisphere.  Unfortunately I am feeling puny and stranded because 99% of my island's land mass belongs to two other countries.  Who am I and what is the name of my island?
  Bonus Question: Once upon a time there was one other island co-owned by three different nations, but no longer.  What is the name of the island and what happened to it?  
  57. Woe is me!!  I am an island nation expected to be the first nation in the world to disappear due to global warming.  In 1999, two of my little islets disappeared and now another islet has lost all its coconut trees due to salination.  Who am I and where will my people go?
  Bonus Question: I too am an island nation and I too am worried about disappearing because I am the lowest country in the world.   
  58. Ethnic loyalties are a constant source of strife on our planet.  For example, ethnic strife in Sudan, Rwanda and the Balkans have left countless thousands of people dead in recent years.  When one group gains the upper hand, often the losers become refugees without a homeland.  This of course is the situation the Palestinians find themselves in at this very moment as do many African people fleeing the constant fighting. 

With the plight of the Palestinians dominating the headlines, there is a group of 30 MILLION people who live today in one particular region of our Planet, but do not have a country.  There are so many of these people that they are spread out over four different countries.  Who are they?
(Contributed by Joan Dawkins)

  59. Two islands are currently arguing over which is the "Most Remote Inhabited Island on Earth".  Go visit Google and figure out their names.
(Contributed by Joan Dawkins)
  60. Here is a fun one.  There is an island in the Caribbean that has two different names.  That is because two European countries share the island (peacefully I might add).  The border between the two territories was said to be created by a walking contest between representatives of the two countries.  To this day the locals claim that one of the men cheated by running.  What are the two names?  
  61. About time, an easy one.  I am a Top 20 country in population, but my country is all wet.  It consists of 13,000 islands.  What's my name?  
  62. Where is the longest undefended border in the world located?  
  63. Finally we wrap things up with an easy one.  What is the only river in the world that empties into two oceans?  




Rick's Note: After you have taken the quiz, email your answers to Rick Archer at 

If you get half the answers correct, I will be happy to supply you with my entire answer sheet.

1. By the way, you may have noticed many of the questions were contributed by someone else.  if you have some geography questions you would like to see added to this list, please feel free to contribute!  This quiz is offered for free to the world.  It can be your puzzle too.  I will add them to the list and give you credit.  

2. One lady said most these questions assumed the whole world lived in the USA.  Good point!   So if you can think of any interesting question from your part of the world, share it with us.  This is a Global Geography Quiz, so I encourage the entire planet to participate in broadening the scope. 

I hope you have enjoyed the SSQQ Geography Quiz.  I  certainly enjoyed making it up and expanding over the years.

Rick Archer


   The SSQQ Geography Story and Dave Barry 

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