People > Note: Countries Compared

DEFINITION: Country people note.
Afghanistan A worshipper waits outside a mosque in Kabul
Albania Albanians flock to the Adriatic during the summer
Angola Angola has emerged as a leading oil producer and one of Africa's fastest-growing economies
Argentina The gaucho, traditional skilled horseman of the Pampas
Armenia Armenia excels at chess
Australia Australia's aboriginal people are now in the minority
Austria Austria was home to Gustav Klimt, famed for his erotic paintings, such as The Kiss
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan has large oil and gas reserves
Bahrain Bahrain has been part of the Formula One championship circuit since 2004
Bangladesh Pilgrims arrive near Dhaka for the Biswa Ijtema, the world's second biggest Muslim gathering after the Hajj
Barbados Agriculture is a major contributor to the economy
Belarus Ice fishing is a popular activity in Belarus
Belgium Comic strip hero Tintin was created by Belgian cartoonist Herge
Belize Belize has the world's second longest barrier reef
Benin Voodoo supreme chief Dagbo Hounon Tomandjre arrives for a festival
Bhutan Bhutan has a rich artistic heritage
Bolivia Bolivia has plenty of mineral resources
Botswana Botswana's San bushmen may be the world's oldest human population, a major genetic study reported
Brazil Brazil has an advanced space programme
Brunei Brunei's population is two-thirds Malay with a sizeable Chinese minority
Bulgaria Bulgaria was home to the ancient Thracian people, some of whose relics can be seen in Sofia
Burkina Faso Droughts and coups have contributed to Burkina Faso becoming the world's third poorest country
Burma The Bamar, after whom Burma is named, make up the largest of numerous ethnic groups
Burundi Burundi's 12-year civil war ended in 2006, but at least one rebel group remained active after that
Cambodia Students re-enact Khmer Rouge crimes during an annual Day of Anger remembering the brutality of the regime that ruled in the 1970s
Cameroon Baka Pygmies, the original dwellers of Cameroon's forests, enjoy small logging concessions
Canada Canada is rich in wildlife which survives in freezing conditions, including polar bears
Cape Verde Cape Verde has earned a reputation for political and economic stability
Chad Decades of violent conflict and corruption have left Chad one of Africa's most impoverished countries
Chile A monumental statue stands on Easter Island, a distant possession of Chile
China A symbol of strength, the dragon appears in many folk traditions and was once the emperor's emblem
Colombia Coffee is one of Colombia's major exports
Comoros The Comoros islands have few natural resources and its people are heavily dependent on foreign aid
Cook Islands The Cook Island's natural assets include fine beaches and volcanic mountains
Costa Rica Costa Rica has a disproportionately high percentage of the world's biodiversity
Cote d'Ivoire Cocoa is one of Ivory Coast's major exports and sources of income
Croatia The main square in the Croatian capital Zagreb
Cuba Cigar rollers in a Havana factory produce one of Cuba's best known exports
Cyprus Greek-Cypriot soldiers look across at a Turkish-controlled area next to the UN buffer zone
Czech Republic The Czech Republic has a rich architectural heritage
Democratic Republic of the Congo A contest for DR Congo's vast mineral wealth has fuelled the fighting in the country
Denmark The Little Mermaid - depicting the fairy tale character - is an icon of Copenhagen
Djibouti Djibouti is dependent on foreign aid
Dominica The West Indies often play test cricket matches in Roseau, Dominica
East Timor The 27-m high statue of Jesus near Dili was built under Indonesian rule
Ecuador The Chimborazo volcano, located along the equatorial bulge, puts its summit at the furthest point from the centre of the earth
Egypt Islam is the main religion in Egypt
El Salvador The Pipil are one of the groups making up El Salvador's small indigenous population
Equatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinea is one of the continent's smallest countries
Eritrea Eritrea's geography includes mountains such as these outside the capital Asmara
Estonia The orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Tallinn
Ethiopia Ethiopia's rich heritage includes the Church of St George, carved out of solid rock at Lalibela
Federated States of Micronesia A chief on the island of Yap prepares a chew of betel nut, a mild stimulant and major export
Fiji Traditional Fijian chiefs still play a role in society
Finland Finland is a good place to see the natural light displays called aurora borealis
France The Palace of Versailles, a symbol of France's former monarchy
French Polynesia Tahiti is popular with tourists and the surfing community
Gabon Many Gabonese still maintain traditions
Georgia The Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi
Germany Berlin's Brandenburg Gate was at one time at the dividing line between East and West Berlin
Ghana Ghana has been a major contributor of armed forces to numerous UN peacekeeping operations in Africa
Greece Figures on Acropolis Hill survey Athens, a teeming metropolis
Grenada Kirani James shone a spotlight on Grenada by winning the Men's 400m in the 2012 Olympic Games
Guam The waters off Guam are the scene of major US navy war games
Guatemala Fruit has played an important part in politics
Guinea Rich in mineral reserves, Guinea is poverty-stricken due to economic mismanagement and instability
Guinea-Bissau Years of political and economic instability have left Guinea-Bissau impoverished
Guyana Guyana's largest river, the Essequibo, flows from the country's far south to the Atlantic coast
Haiti Mangoes are one of Haiti's few exports
Honduras Bananas and coffee are two major exports
Hong Kong Bamboo is still used to construct and maintain Hong Kong's ultra-modern steel and glass buildings
Hungary Bathers enjoy thermal pools in one of Europe's biggest spa complexes, in Budapest
Iceland Iceland is famed for its thermal springs
India India Gate in New Delhi honours Indian soldiers who fell in the First World War
Indonesia Indonesia has one of the highest population densities
Iran Iran's rich heritage includes the centuries old Si-o-Se Pol bridge in Isfahan
Ireland Dublin street scene
Israel Tel Aviv is also known as the White City for its collection of more than 4,000 buildings in the Bauhaus style
Italy In 2011 Italy marked 150 years of unity, promoted by commander Giuseppe Garibaldi, whose statue is pictured left
Jamaica Jamaica is the birthplace of reggae music and the Rastafari spiritual movement
Japan Cars are one of Japan's main exports
Jordan Native Jordanians are descended from Bedouin tribes, but most of the population is made up of Palestinian immigrants
Kazakhstan One of Kazakhstan's main exports is wool
Kenya The Great Rift Valley, which crosses several East African countries, has the earliest evidence of human beings found
Kiribati There are concerns that rising sea levels could threaten Kiribati's low-lying islands
Kuwait Kuwait is one of the world's largest oil producers
Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyz authorities are hoping that unspoilt scenery will attract more visitors
Laos Most of the arable land is used to grow rice
Latvia Riga is thought to have the finest collection of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe
Lebanon Baalbek - the classical sanctuary of Heliopolis - has some of the world's best-preserved Roman remains
Lesotho Landlocked Lesotho is among the world's poorest countries and has the third highest HIV-Aids rate
Liberia Civil war in the 1990s destroyed Liberia's economy, left 250,000 dead and created thousands of refugees
Libya Libya's economy is expected to stabilise following the 2011 conflict
Liechtenstein Triesenberg, overlooking the Rhine valley
Lithuania A model presents a creation by a Lithuanian fashion designer during a Vilnius festival
Luxembourg Luxembourg is home to the European Court of Justice
Madagascar Madagascar is vulnerable to tropical cyclones which can cause extensive damage
Malawi Food security is a key issue for Malawi where 60% of people live below the poverty line
Malaysia Malaysia is one of the world's largest palm oil producers
Mali Singer-songwriter Salif Keita has earned world renown
Malta Marsaxlokk port is a key container terminal
Marshall Islands A worker butchers sharks for their fins in this picture taken in 2003, before the Marshall Islands declared the world’s largest shark sanctuary.
Mauritania Much of Mauritania is short of water
Mexico Popocatépetl, or Smoking Mountain, is one of Mexico's most active volcanoes
Moldova Moldova gained independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union
Monaco The annual Monaco Formula One Grand Prix is held on the streets of the city state
Mongolia Mongolia has long traded hides for goods which it cannot cultivate due to harsh environmental conditions
Montenegro Montenegro, which means "Black Mountain", is seeking membership of the European Union
Morocco The Berber people of North Africa have struggled to retain their cultural identity
Mozambique Gorongosa National Park is only just recovering from the civil war
Namibia The San bushmen of the Kalahari Desert maintain a nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle
Nauru Nauru is the world's smallest republic
Nepal A Sadhu - Hindu holy man - prepares for a religious festival
Netherlands Rembrandt: Greatest artist of the Dutch school
New Caledonia New Caledonia hosted the 2011 Pacific Games
New Zealand Auckland: New Zealand's largest city and a major port
Nicaragua Managua's Oriental Market was set up by survivors of the 1972 earthquake
Niger Children at an Islamic school in Niamey
Nigeria In the bustling commercial capital Lagos, rapid growth is straining infrastructure
Niue Rugby is popular in Niue
North Korea The capital Pyongyang features several propaganda posters
Norway Natural gas is a major source of Norway's wealth
Oman Islam is the main religion in Oman
Pakistan Pakistan is a major textile producer
Palau The Blue Holes underwater caves have become a favourite with divers
Panama Much of Panama is dense jungle
Papua New Guinea With over 700 traditional societies, Papua New Guinea is the world's most culturally diverse nation.
Paraguay The ruins of the Jesuit Missions at Santisima Trinidad del Parana - built in the year 1706 - are on Unesco's World Heritage List
Peru Peru is made up of indigenous people and descendants of Spanish settlers
Philippines Good Friday reenactment of the crucifixion near Manila: The Catholic faith plays a major role in large parts of the Philippines
Poland Poland can trace its roots back over 1,000 years
Portugal Portugal saw solid growth in the 1990s but needed a bail-out in 2011
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico is a popular holiday destination
Qatar Qatar is one of the richest countries in the region
Republic of Macedonia Macedonia has both Christians and Muslim communities
Romania Parliament Palace in Bucharest has become one of the must-see sights for foreign visitors
Russia Moscow's Red Square
Rwanda Much of Akagera National Park was settled by civil war refugees in the late 1990s
Saint Lucia The Pitons - two peaks of ancient dormant volcanoes - feature on the island's flag
Samoa Samoa has many fine beaches attracting a growing number of tourists
San Marino San Marino has pledged to make its banking system more transparent
Sao Tome and Principe Sao Tome has several attractions for tourists
Saudi Arabia Millions of Muslims visit Mecca every year
Senegal Controversial colossus: The pet project of President Wade has provoked fierce opposition
Serbia A boy takes part in the ceremonial burning of dried oak branches on Orthodox Christmas Eve in Belgrade
Seychelles The Coco de Mer coconut - found only in the Seychelles - is the world's largest seed
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone is trying to encourage tourists to enjoy its natural beauty
Singapore Many people have access to the latest technologies
Slovakia Slovakia is home to a small number of European bison, which were saved from extinction
Slovenia Slovenia was seen as the most liberal republic within the former Yugoslavia
Solomon Islands Christianity is the dominant religion in Solomon Islands
Somalia Mogadishu bears the scars of decades of fighting
South Africa Sun and sea: Hout Bay near Cape Town
South Korea South Korea is a major exporter of transport equipment and electronics
South Sudan The Sudd: One of the world's largest wetlands
Spain The story of Don Quixote - depicted here by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso - is loved the world over
Sri Lanka A Sri Lankan mahout and a temple elephant take part in a ceremony
Sudan Sudan's capital Khartoum lies at the confluence of the Blue Nile and the White Nile
Suriname Maroons - descendants of run-away slaves of African origin - make up a sizeable part of the population
Swaziland Young women parade at the annual Reed Dance, where the king can choose a new bride
Sweden Sweden is a major arms exporter
Switzerland The Matterhorn has provided mountaineers with a major challenge
Syria Syria has numerous ancient relics
Taiwan Taiwan is one of Asia's big trading nations
Tajikistan Ethnic Tajiks speak a language closely related to Persian
Tanzania The drama of Tanzania's game parks is a major tourist attraction
Thailand Thailand currently supplies about a third of global rice exports
The Bahamas Island beaches are a major attraction for visitors
Togo The people of Togo's Tamberma Valley live in fortified villages founded in the 17th Century
Tokelau Most islanders live by fishing and farming
Tonga Exercise class for a healthy lifestyle: a move away from the traditional fish diet has contributed to an obesity epidemic
Trinidad and Tobago Oil and gas dominate the economy but tourism is an important earner
Tunisia Dates and other agricultural products are important export earners
Turkey Islam is the main religion
Turkmenistan Turkmenistan has the smallest population of the five former Soviet republics in Central Asia
Tuvalu Funafuti atoll is home to nearly half of the population of Tuvalu
Uganda A silverback mountain gorilla sits in Uganda's Bwindi National Park, a major attraction for visitors
Ukraine A Ukrainian naval dancer performs in Sevastopol, which is home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet
United Arab Emirates Burj Khalifa became the world's tallest structure in 2010
United Kingdom Britain is one of the world's major military powers
United States A worker scans a gigantic digital billboard in New York, a city which embodies the idea that Americans do things on a grand scale
Uruguay Devotees perform a ritual of the Afro-American religion of Umbanda, which spread to Uruguay from Brazil
Uzbekistan A street cafe chief in Tashkent prepares 'plov' - Uzbekistan's national dish
Vanuatu Vanuatu tops travel book publisher Lonely Planet's list of the world's happiest places
Venezuela Venezuela's indigenous population is concentrated near the rainforests of the south and west
Vietnam Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has thousands of little islands
Yemen A boy climbs stone columns 15m high at the entrance to a temple traditionally associated with the Biblical Queen of Sheba
Zambia The Victoria Falls attract many foreign visitors to Zambia
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe's population stands at around 13 million


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