Category Archives: Country Facts

Basic information about countries

What an unbelievable coincidence!

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Not only do Poland and Indonesia have exactly the opposite meaning for this word, their flags are opposites as well!

Words in different languages that look or sound similar but differ significantly in meaning are called “false friends.” Words like these can lead to miscommunications with speakers of other languages that are weird, confusing, and hilarious.

The Spanish word embarazada is another good example of a false friend.  Embarazada sounds very close to the English word embarrassed, but actually means pregnant. Many Spanish students will come across this “friend” at some point. Even professionals can miss it sometimes-  this mistake was made by a pen company whose Spanish advertisements for ballpoint pens translated to: “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”

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German and English in particular have a ton of language frienemies to watch out for.

Several English words with very different German meanings:

bald - soon

herb - bitter, harsh;

fast- almost

Mist - dung

Gift - poison

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Japanese Flag

About Japan – Population, nature, cities, flag, food, and much more!

Japanese Flaggeography and nature

Japan is a collection of over three thousand islands. Imagine having to remember the names of all of those! These islands are in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Asia. Most of Japan is made up of forest and mountains, and because of how steep a lot of these parts are, they are not places where people can live. Japan is also prone to earthquakes and volcanoes!

population

Over 110 million people live in Japan. Even though Japan is not a very big country, this is the 10th largest population in all the world! Since a lot of the land in Japan is not land that people can live on, this means that the cities are very crowded.

capital city & important cities

The capital city of Japan is Tokyo, which has 8 million people who live in the city, and somewhere around 30 million who live in and around the city! Other major cities in Japan include Yokohama and Osaka. Japan has really cool buildings that are different from the buildings you would find anywhere else in the world, and these major cities are the main places where you can see these buildings.

flag

Japan’s flag is called the “sun-mark flag” or the “sun disc.” It is a white flag with a red circle in the middle. This flag is considered a powerful symbol to the Japanese people.

food

The Japanese eat food that usually has rice or noodles and some sort of meat. Seafood is an important part of the Japanese diet, which is not surprising since Japan is surrounded by the ocean! The Japanese also make a lot of soup dishes, and over the last 100 years bread has also become a popular part of Japan’s diet. While these are the most basic parts of the Japanese diet, the spices that they use in their food is what really sets them apart from other Asian food!

music-dance

Japanese music has a very, very big range. Over all of history, Japan has put a lot of importance on their music, and they have different kind of traditional music that has been around for ages! In recent years, Japan has become big fans of music from America, and a lot of U.S. musicians travel to Japan for part of their concert tours. Japan is also a leader in instrumental music. If you have ever thought that instrumental music is boring, you just might change your mind after listening to the music that the Japanese make!

currency

The Japanese use the Japanese yen for their money. Even though Japan is a small country, the yen is one of the strongest currencies in all the world, right up there with the U.S. dollar, the British pound, and the European euro.

language

The official language in Japan is…want to take a guess? Japanese! More than 99% of the country speaks Japanese, which is very similar to Chinese. Nowadays, a lot of schools are also making students learn English as a second language. Since a lot of worldwide business is done with English, Japan hopes to keep their future bright with this plan of teaching students a second language.

Japanese lessons for kids 

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About Spain – flag, population, music, food, and more

geography and nature

Usually, when we think of Spanish, we think of countries like Mexico and Panama, but that’s not where the language of Spanish started! Spanish started in…Spain! Spain is a country in Europe, and it is considered to be on of the prettiest countries in the world. It has mountains, plains, rivers, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean for people to enjoy.

population

About 46 million people live in the country of Spain, which gives it the 27th biggest population in the world! France is the only country in Western Europe that is bigger than Spain.

capital city & important cities

Spain is known for how pretty it is, and tourists come from all over the world every year to visit some of its major cities. The biggest city in Spain is its capital, Madrid. Unlike most of the major cities in Spain, which are right along the coast, Madrid is in the middle of the inland part of the country. Some of the other major cities in Spain are Barcelona, Valencia, and Seville, and lots of people from all over the world visit these cities each year.

flag

The Spanish flag has a red stripe on top, a red stripe on bottom, and a big yellow stripe in the middle. There is also a second flag for Spain that has this same design, but with the Spanish coat of arms set in the yellow portion.

food

A lot of people think that Spanish food would pretty much be the same thing as Mexican food, but these people would be way off! Spanish dishes use a lot of seafood, especially along the coasts. Inland, they also eat lots of meals with soup and bread, and they enjoy using meats and cheeses. Between the pretty land and the delicious food, it seems like Spain would be a pretty good place to visit!

music-dance

Spain has always been one of the leaders in the world for music, and nowadays the country has made the switch from being one of the best countries for classical music to being one of the best countries for modern music. In fact, people come from all over the world every year for Spain’s music festivals!

currency

Spain uses the euro for money, just like almost all of the countries in Europe. Because all of these countries use the same type of money, it makes it very easy for people to travel from country to country.

language

In Spain, they speak Spanish. Well, what else would they speak! But actually, there are a lot of people from other countries who live in Spain, and there are also small groups that have lived in Spain for ages and speak their own languages. Even though Spanish is the official language, it does not mean that Spanish is the only language spoken.

Spanish lessons for kids 

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About Greece – flag, population, food, geography and more

geography and nature

Greece is one of the oldest and most famous countries in the whole world. Greece sticks out into the Mediterranean Sea and Aegean Sea, and it is made up mostly of mountains in the inland part. Not only have a lot of the world’s most famous stories come from Greece, but Greece was also the first country to ever have Olympics. In fact, Greece was having the Olympics hundreds and hundreds of years before the rest of the world joined in! Talk about trend-setters! Greece was really at the front of the crowd from way back when.

population

About 11 million people live in Greece, which gives Greece the 74th most people in the world. Greece is the 96th biggest country, so this is a pretty nice number of people, and it gives the people of Greece plenty of room to roam!

capital city & important cities

The capital city of Greece is Athens, which is one of the oldest and most important cities in the whole world. Fewer than 1 million people live in Athens, and most of the people in Greece are spread out in all the different major cities, including Thessaloniki, Piraeus, Patras, Iraklio, Larissa, and Volos, all in addition to Athens.

flag

The flag of Greece looks a lot like the flag of the USA in some ways, because it has stripes across it, and it has an area in the corner of the flag without stripes. Unlike the USA flag, though the flag of Greece has white and blue stripes, and instead of stars it has a white cross. This became the official Greece flag in 1822, but pieces of it were being used for a lot of years before this time.

food

Greece food is popular all over the world, and not only is it delicious, but it is healthy too! A lot of the dishes in Greece have vegetables in them, and they also use a lot of nuts and seeds. Because Greece is surrounded by water on three sides, seafood is also a big part of the diet, and cheese is very popular in Greece as well.

music-dance

The music of Greece goes way, way back in time! Greece has been one of the leaders in music since Ancient times, and the things that Greece musicians were doing all the way back then have influenced music all through history. Even though Greek music today does not have a lot of really popular modern musicians, the things that they have done for music over time will never be forgotten.

currency

Like most of Europe, Greece uses the Euro for their money. The Euro is the strongest money in the whole entire world!

language

Greek is the official language of Greece, and even though there are very small pockets of people in Greece who speak something besides Greek as their first language, most people speak Greek and nothing else. This would make it tough on these people when they travel outside their country, but it would sure make things easy whenever they stayed at home!

Greek lessons for kids 

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About Italy – flag, population, food, and more

geography and nature

Italy is a very easy country to recognize on a map because of the way it is shaped like a boot. In fact, with the Italian island of Sicily just off the coast at the bottom tip of Italy, some people say it looks like Italy is a boot that is kicking Sicily! Italy is mostly surrounded by the water of the Mediterranean, while some of the country has the nice, warm weather you would expect on the coast, other parts have mountains and can be pretty cold. If you’re going there for a beach day, be careful where you go!

population

Italy has about 63 million people who live there, which makes it 23rd highest in all the world. This population is spread out all over the country, instead of being just in the cities alone.

capital city & important cities

The capital city of Italy is Rome, which is one of the oldest and most important cities in all of history! If you visit Rome nowadays, you will see that it still runs like a normal, modern city, but a lot of the famous sites are still there to see. At one point in history, the Roman empire stretched over about half of the known world, and this sense of pride and history is important to the people who live there. Other major cities in Italy include Milan, Naples, Florence, and Venice, and all of these are very big spots for tourists!

flag

The Italian flag is very easy to spot, and because of how much Italians love their country, you can find their flag all over the world. The Italian flag has a white stripe down the middle, and it has a green stripe on one side and a red stripe on the other.

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food

Italian food is probably the most popular style of “foreign food” all over the world, and this is mostly because Italian food is so important to the Italians! Italians have given us things like pasta, lasagna, and (best of all!) pizza. Not only do Italians enjoy their food, but they also take a lot of pride in making food that is some of the most delicious in the world.

music-dance

Throughout the ages, Italy has produced some of the greatest music in the world. From the old days of classical music and folk music, to the famous Italian opera singers, Italy is known for their high taste in music. Just like with their food, Italians take pride in their music, and they have a very rich tradition that is still going on today!

currency

Just like most other countries in Europe, Italy uses the euro for their money. The euro is the strongest currency in the whole world!

language

The official language of Italy is Italian. Well, what else would it be! Of course, there are also some other languages that are spoken in small pockets of the country. In fact, the Italian government recognizes twelve official minor languages!

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China Flag

About China -flag, population, food, and more: Interesting facts about Chinese Culture

geography and nature

China is either the third or fourth largest country in the whole world. It might seem funny that we don’t know whether it is third or fourth largest, but this is because there is land between China and India that both countries believe belong to them. If the land belongs to China, it is the third largest country. If the land belongs to India, China is fourth, because the United States would be bigger than it. Because China is so big, the land is very different depending on where in the country you go. There are mountains, jungle, rivers, cities, oceans, plains, and everything in between!

population

China has the largest population in the world…over 1 billion people! Talk about a lot of people. That’s more than three times as many as the number that lives in the United States!

capital city & important cities

Chinese for kids

The capital city of China is Beijing (which sounds like this: “Bay-jing”). China has changed its capital several times over the years. Some of the other major cities in China are Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongquing, and Hong Kong.

flag

The flag of China is red with a big golden star in one corner, and four smaller stars beside it. This has been the flag for China since 1949.

food

Chinese food is very popular in parts of the world outside of China, but the “Chinese food” that most of us know is different from the food they eat there. Chinese food usually includes rice and food that is cut into bite-sized pieces, and just like in Chinese food restaurants, they Chinese usually eat with chopsticks. While we might think it’s hard to eat with chopsticks, they might think it’s hard to eat with a fork!

music-dance

Music is a very, very big part of Chinese culture! For a long time music has been a feature of everyday life, and as music changes all over the world, Chinese music is doing the same. Chinese rock has become popular in China, and instrumental music has always been important to the people of China. Not only to Chinese musicians use the instruments that we are used to seeing, but they also use things like bamboo pipes and gongs!

currency

The Chinese use the Renminbi for their money, and the main currency is the Yuan. The word Renminbi means “People’s currency.”

language

The main language spoken in China is not called “Chinese,” as some people think, but is actually called “Standard Mandarin.” There are also some different languages spoken in other parts of China, and the study of English has become popular for students who want to learn a second language.

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About France – facts, flag, population, food, and more

geography and nature

While France might look little compared to a country like Canada or the United States of America, it is the biggest country in the whole European Union. Also, France has a whole bunch of land in other parts of the world, like in North America, South America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Ocean. It might not be so bad to be a mayor of a town in the Caribbean, huh!

population

France has the 20th largest population in the world, with about 65 million people. Almost 12 million of these people live in Paris alone, and the rest are spread out over the rest of the country.

capital city & important cities

Paris is the capital city of France, and it is also one of the most popular vacation spots in the world! Even though Paris is known for being a very expensive city to visit, it attracts about 45 million visitors each year! Some of the other major cities (and popular tourist spots!) in Europe are Lyon, Marseille, and Nice (which sounds like this: “Nees”).

flag

The flag of France has a white stripe down the middle, with a blue stripe on one side and a red stripe on the other. People who speak English usually call the French flag the “French tricolor” or even just “the tricolor.”

food

French cuisine (which is the fancy way of saying “French food”) is considered to be some of the best food in the world! Food is a very important part of French life, and people come from all over the world to eat the food they prepare. Some of France’s most famous foods are their wines and their cheeses, and their food has had a big influence on a lot of the food that Americans eat every day.

music-dance

France is known for their culture (which is another way of saying that they are known for being fancy), and their long history of classical music is one of things that has come from this! France is one of the most important countries for classical music, and this has been a big part of their lifestyle for a long, long time.

currency

For a long, long time the country of France used the Franc for their money, but now they use the euro, which is the currency that almost all of Europe uses. The euro is the strongest currency in the whole world!

language

French is the only official language of France, and it is the language that almost everyone speaks, but there are some other languages that people speak as well. These are called “regional languages,” and they are languages that have been around in certain areas for a long, long time!

Learn more about France

French lessons for kids 

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About England – facts, flag, population, music, food, and more

geography and nature

England is on the island of Great Britain, which also includes Scotland and Wales. England is the largest country on the island, taking up two-thirds of the area on the island! It is surrounded by the Irish Sea, North Sea, and Atlantic Ocean, but it is very close to the mainland of Europe. In just the small area that England occupies, it has everything from mountains to rivers to hills to lakes to marshes, and everything in between! Outside of the cities, England is known for being very green, and usually very cold!

population

England has 51 million people who live in the country. If you compare this to the 300 million people who live in the United States of America, this might not seem like a very big number…but if you compare how big the USA is to how small England is, you realize that a lot of people live in England! In fact, there is only one country in Europe that is more densely populated (“densely populated” means how crowded a place is!). A large chunk of the population in England lives in London, so you can imagine how crowded that one city must be!

capital city & important cities

England is split up into nine regions, and below the regions it is split up into 48 counties. London, which is the capital of England, is in the London Region. That makes sense, doesn’t it!

flag

The flag of England is a white background with a solid red stripe going across it in the middle, and another solid red stripe going up-and-down in the middle. This symbol is called Saint George’s Cross, which represents Saint George, who was a Roman soldier and priest who died in the year 303 (over one thousand, seven hundred years ago!).

food

One of the most famous English food dishes is called “fish and chips,” which is fried fish with french fries (a really delicious meal!). A lot of England’s meals use meat, like roast, lamb, chicken, sausage, and beef, and they are known for their simple approach to food. They might keep it simple in England, but they’re also big on taste! In England, tea is also a big part of the diet.

music-dance

Music from England has been some of the most popular and best-selling music in the world. In fact, the most successful band in the history of the world, The Beatles, came from England, and a whole bunch of other rock and roll bands got their start in England as well. The song called “God Save The Queen” is the official anthem of the United Kingdom (which includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland), and many people consider it to be the national anthem of England as well.

currency

England uses the pound sterling for their money, and it is one of the most important currencies in the whole world! Only the U.S. dollar and the Euro have higher value than the pound, and even tough England could decide to use the Euro since they are part of Europe, they have decided to keep their own currency.

language

The official language of England is English, but you probably guessed that on your own! What you might not know is that Cornish, a language from the olden days of England, is still one of the official minor languages!

English lessons for kids 

UK Flag

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About Israel – facts, flag, population, music and more


As far as the stuff you will find in the land of different countries, Israel might be one of the coolest countries there is! In Israel, you will find mountains, desert, forest, rivers, and the Mediterranean sea, and you will even find the Dead Sea, which is the lowest point on the surface of the Earth! Most of the people who live in Israel live along the Mediterranean, and if you ever have a chance to visit the Mediterranean coast, you just might choose to live there too!

population

About 75 million people live in Israel, which puts it in 95th place of all the countries in the world. About 50 million of these people live along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

capital city & important cities

The capital city of Israel is Jerusalem, which they also share with the country of Palestine. Jerusalem is one of the most important cities in the history ofIsrael, and in modern times the city of Tel Aviv is one of the most important cities also. Tel Aviv is the main city for money in Israel, and Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the history of the world.

flag

The flag of Israel is white with a blue stripe from one side to the other close to the top and close to the bottom. In the middle of the flag is the “Star of David,” which is named for King David, who was one of the very old kings of Israel. The Star of David also is important in Judaism, which is the main religion ofIsrael.

food

The food in Israel is a combination of a whole bunch of different cultures coming together. Israel was a country a long, long time ago, and then, they were not a country again until 1948. Because of this, a whole bunch of different types of food from that area of the world have come together to make up the usual diet in Israel, which includes a whole bunch of Arab and Mediterranean foods that are really tough to pronounce, but that taste delicious!

music-dance

Because the people of Israel have been around since the beginning of recorded time, they have some very old music! Some of the songs that are still around from way back then are called the “Songs of the Land of Israel.” But it’s not just old songs that the people of Israel like. They also like music from that part of the world, like Greek music, and they are fans of the same sorts of music people listen to in America, like jazz and pop rock. Israel also has an orchestra (which is a big group of very talented musicians who play instrumental music together) that is known all over the world!

currency

The money that people use in Israel is called the new shekel. There was an older shekel that they used in the country, but in 1986 they made the switch to the new shekel, and they have been using this for their money ever since!

language

One of the main languages in Israel is Hebrew, which is one of the oldest languages in the world! The other main language in Israel is Arabic, which is similar to Hebrew in a lot of ways. One of the really interesting things about these two languages is that only about 10 million people in the world speak Hebrew, but about 280 million people in the world speak Arabic!

Hebrew lessons for kids 

 

Learn more about Israel

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About USA – facts, flag, population, music and more

geography and nature

The United States of America is the third or fourth largest country in the whole world! It’s kind of funny that they don’t know if it is third or fourth, huh? This is because China and India both think that certain parts of the border between their countries belong to them. If China is right, then it is a little bit bigger than America. If China is wrong, then America is bigger! Russia and Canada are the other two countries that are bigger than America, and Alaska (not Texas or California!) is the biggest State in the country.

population

There are only two countries in the whole entire world that have more people living in them than the United States has. Those two countries are India and China, but don’t think that the U.S. is trying to catch those two. While the U.S. has about 300 million people, those two countries have right around one billion! Talk about feeling crowded, huh? This is one time when the United States is happy staying in third place!

capital city & important cities

The United States of America has some of the most popular cities in the world! The capital city of the United States is Washington, D.C., and if you are wondering which State Washington D.C. is in, you’ll be wondering for a really long time! Washington D.C. is actually in the District of Columbia, which is between Maryland and Virginia. It’s pretty cool that Washington D.C. gets its own area, isn’t it? Some of the other major cities in the U.S. are Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles. People come from all over the world to visit these cities, and all of them are full of history and cool things to do.

flag

The United States flag is called the “Stars and Stripes.” It has thirteen stripes that represent the original thirteen colonies, and the fifty stars on the blue background represent the fifty States.

food

Because America has so many people from all over the world living in its borders, the food that Americans enjoy covers almost everything in the world! “American” food is usually thought of as things like hamburgers, apple pie, chocolate chip cookies, and potato chips, but American versions of food from around the world are also very popular. Pizza, pasta, Chinese food, Mexican food, and Indian food are all very popular in America, and so is seafood and Southern-style food like barbeque. America is full of great food from all over the world, and people have plenty of chances to pick and choose what they like!

music-dance

Some of the biggest changes in the history of music have come in America! One of the reasons for this is because America has been the largest wealthy nation in the world over the last fifty years, and so singers and musicians from other countries have usually followed the path of popular American music. Several forms of popular music, like jazz, rock and roll, hip hop, and country have all gotten their beginnings in America!

currency

America uses the dollar for money. The dollar is backed by the Federal Reserve, which is the bank that is backed by the government. The U.S. dollar is one of the strongest currencies in the world!

language

The primary language spoken in America is English, because the U.S. was first settled by people from England. Because of all the people from other countries who live in America, there are lots of other language spoken in the country as well. In fact, more than 10% of the population speaks Spanish as their main language!

 

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