Interesting facts about the world’s least-known countries

Two men in vanuatu, one of the world’s least-known countriesChristopher Hogue Thompson/Creative Commons

A selection of some of the most interesting facts about the world’s least-known countries we’ve picked up over the years

This is a subjective topic I know. What counts as an interesting fact? What counts as one of the world’s least-known countries?

There is no scientific answer but when this question was posed on Q&A site Quora, it certainly threw up some noteworthy particulars about some of the more obscure sovereign and not-so-sovereign states of the world. 

Below I’ve picked out some of the most interesting facts about the world’s least-known countries we’ve gleaned from visiting over 80 countries.

11 cool passport stamps of the world

passport-stamps-ushuaia

Some unusual passport stamps to collect on your travels including microstates, geographical landmarks, inaccessible lands and a range of historical sights

It may not be fashionable but I’m a bit of a box-ticker when it comes to travel. I have a list of the countries I’ve visited and I keep track of memorable places such the highest, lowest and driest I’ve visited. I’m also rather proud of my passports (past and present) that have filled up with the stamps I’ve collected.

Travel roundup 2015: 12 amazing things that happened this year

world's most urban countries

This year has been a tumultuous one across the globe. A combination of political instability, acts of aggression and forces of nature has hung heavy in the headlines.

The travel industry has suffered, as one might expect when usually-safe areas suddenly become otherwise. Beneath the bleak picture, however, lie a set of strange, sweet or surprising events that have entertained or inspired us throughout the course of the year.

These range from silly (see April) to spectacular (December) and remind us that as long as humans walk the Earth, we’ll always have incredible people, places and events.

What are the hardest languages to learn?

hardest languages to learn lead 2020

The 10 hardest languages to learn for native English speakers based on data from the Foreign Service Institute at the US Department of State

We’ve written before about the best language to learn based on a number of different criteria. The verdict was French which, as a Romance language, is relatively easy for English speakers. (We stress the word ‘relatively’ because all language learning takes effort.)

Some of the most interesting data in the article comes from the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) at the US Department of State. The FSI trains diplomats in language learning and maintains an internal ranking of language difficulty (specifically, how long it would take a native English speaker to reach proficiency).

Here, we examine 10 of the hardest languages to learn based on FSI rankings.