World Facts

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Published: 15 Aug 2021

Modified: 27 Sep 2021

world facts

There’s a lot about the world that can surprise you, if you take the time and effort to find them. To spare you the trouble, here are facts from all around the world to stir up your appetite for more.

  1. There are 195 countries in the world today.
  2. As of June 2019, the world’s population numbers 7.58 billion people.
  3. The average life expectancy of people around the world is 72 years.
  4. 18 children are born for every 1000 people in the world as of 2019.
  5. 8 deaths occurred for every 1000 people in the world as of 2019.
  1. Humanity’s ancestors discovered fire approximately 500,000 years ago.
  2. Humans began farming during the New Stone Age.
  3. Sumer, the first civilization in the world, rose in Mesopotamia in 4000 BC.
  4. Most major religions first appeared between 900 to 200 BC.
  5. Universities first appeared in Europe during the High Middle Ages.
  6. The Black Death killed between 75 to 200 million people during the Late Middle Ages.
  7. Western imperialism first arose in the late-15th century.
  8. Modern democracy began with the American and French Revolutions in the 18th century.
  9. The United Nations was formed after the end of World War II in 1945 to prevent another world war.
  10. The Cold War lasted until Communism’s collapse at the end of the 20th century.
  1. Coca-Cola is unavailable in only two countries: Cuba and North Korea.
  2. South Sudan became the youngest country in the world after independence in 2011.
  3. There are 39 time zones around the world.
  4. There are currently 26 reigning royal families around the world.
  5. On average, 14 million storms rage across the world in a single year.
Table of Contents

Europe has a rainforest.

It’s surprising, but it’s true. Rainforests can grow in Europe’s temperate climate, the kind called temperate rainforests. Europe’s rainforest is in Bosnia and Herzegovina, near the Montenegrin border. Designated as a natural reserve in 1954, Perucica covers an area of 1,434 hectares. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Perucica Rainforest in the daytime.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Three of the Cradles of Civilization are in Asia.

Cradles of Civilization are where natural conditions allowed the first civilizations to rise. The most important of these conditions are plenty of water and fertile soil for farming.

Asia had three places with those requirements. The oldest is Mesopotamia, currently located in Iraq between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Sumer, the oldest civilization in the world rose there. Second is the Indus River of India, where the Harappan civilization rose and fell. Finally, there’s the Yellow River valley in Northern China, which birthed Chinese civilization.

The Amazon Rainforest is the biggest rainforest on Earth.

Located in South America, the Amazon Rainforest covers an area of 5.5 million km². This is further shown by how nine countries share the rainforest. Brazil has the biggest share, but other countries still have large parts of the forest on their soil. This includes Venezuela, Colombia, and Peru among other countries.

Rio de Janeiro has one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

One of the most iconic sights in Rio de Janeiro is the statue of Christ the Redeemer. Depicting Christ with his arms spread in welcome, the statue stands 30 meters tall. Despite appearances, the statue isn’t actually in the city. It stands on Corcovado Mountain, west of but visible from Rio de Janeiro. The statue became one of the new Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.

Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer in the daytime.
Photo by Jose Guertzenstein from Pixabay

Mexico City stands on what was once the old Aztec capital.

The old name of Mexico City was Tenochtitlan. It means prickly pear, referencing the legend of the city’s founding. According to the Aztecs, a god told their ancestors to find where the cactus blooms. They found it on an island in Lake Texcoco, where they built their city. This city became its capital and that of Mexico after the Spanish Conquest. Besides rebuilding and renaming the city, they also drained the surrounding lake.

Chicago is the railway capital of the USA.

And with good reason: 6 out of 7 of America’s Class I railroads pass through Chicago. That’s more than any other city, town, or place in all the United States.

London has always been the capital of Britain.

As far back as Roman times, in fact, when London’s name was Londinium. The origin of the name remains a contested one in academic circles. That it was the capital of the Roman province of Britain is a fact though. The fall of Rome saw the city abandoned until Alfred the Great rebuilt it in 886 AD. From there it grew as England’s capital and greatest city.

George Washington never lived in Washington D.C.

By now it’s accepted fact that the US President lives and works in Washington D.C. The White House is in the city, after all, as the capital of the United States. But America’s first president, George Washington, never lived in the city or the White House. He resided at his home in Vermont until his death. The first US President to actually live in the White House was John Adams.

Venice is sinking.

Venice is a city built on a lagoon after all, and its canals are an iconic sight. The city has a reputation for flooding in bad weather or high tides, only to come out alright. But according to scientists, this time the city might not come out of it all.

We’re sure you know all about how global warming is melting the world’s ice caps. This, in turn, causes the world’s sea levels to rise. And that might be what finally does Venice in. At current estimates, rising sea levels will drown Venice by 2100, and the city will not rise again.

Tokyo used to have a different name.

The current name only goes back to the Meiji Restoration. Before then Tokyo’s name was Edo. It means estuary, referring to the large bay it faces. By then it had been the capital of the Tokugawa Shogunate for over 300 years. After the shogun stepped down, the Emperor moved the capital from Kyoto to Edo. It was then that the city got renamed from Edo to Tokyo. It means eastern capital, in contrast to Kyoto, which means capital.

The Tokyo skyline at night, with Tokyo Tower in the middle.
Photo from Pixabay

Shanghai is one of the oldest cities in the world.

Archeology shows that the oldest settlements where Shanghai now stands go back 6000 years. It is also mentioned in texts from China’s Spring and Autumn Period. At the time it belonged to the Kingdom of Wu. Wu was later conquered by Yue, which in turn got conquered by Chu.

The Paris catacombs run for an estimated 300 km of tunnels.

Here’s something morbidly fascinating from world facts. The famous Paris catacombs go back to the late-18th century. At the time, Parisians still buried their dead in regular cemeteries on the surface. But by then Paris only had limited space and was overpopulated to boot. Cemeteries in the city had become little better than mass graves.

This led the government to move the dead to abandoned mine tunnels under the city. They also banned any more burials in the old cemeteries. At first, bones and bodies were only piled up in the catacombs. But in the 19th century, the French rearranged the bones into the tunnel walls. This was both to give dignity to the dead, and to make the tunnels a proper mausoleum.

Algeria is the largest country in Africa.

With a land area of 2.38 million km², Algeria is the largest country in Africa. But only 12% of this land’s developed, along the coast. The interior’s dominated by the vast Sahara Desert. Settlements there stand around oases as their main source of water.

Ghana is pretty much at the center of the world.

We here at world facts admit this is something of a pun, but with a basis in fact. Look at a world map, and you’ll notice Africa is around the middle of the map. Ghana is along its west coast, next to the equator, and actually on the 0-degree longitude. So yes, you could say Ghana is at the center of the world.

Poland played a key role in defeating the Ottomans in the Battle of Vienna.

In the 17th century, the Ottoman Empire launched a massive invasion of Europe. One of their commanders even claimed they wouldn’t stop until they’d taken Rome itself. In July of 1683, the Ottomans reached Vienna in Austria. They surrounded the city and tried to force it to surrender for 2 months. Help finally arrived in September.

King Jan III Sobieski of Poland meets with Emperor Leopold I of the Holy Roman Empire after the Ottoman defeat at Vienna.
Photo from Wikipedia

Led by Poland’s King Jan III, Polish, Austrian, and German forces defeated the Ottomans. In particular, the charge of Poland’s famed Winged Hussars broke the Ottoman lines. The defeat led not only to an Ottoman retreat into the Balkans. It also marked the beginning of the Ottoman Empire’s slow decline.

Afghanistan has the title Graveyard of Empires.

It’s not a very flattering title, but it is an ominous one. It goes back to the Arab conquests in the early Middle Ages. The Arabs conquered Persia and most of the Eastern Roman Empire in less than 50 years.

In contrast, it took them 200 years to conquer Afghanistan. Even then the best they could do was convert the people and exact tribute. Direct rule faced heavy resistance. Even the Mongols could only put down resistance by killing most of the Afghans. And that left them with empty lands that offered no tribute.

This led the British to follow the Arab example. Instead of conquest, they worked with local leaders to get the most from the country. This was an example the Soviets and Americans failed to follow in the 1980s and 2000s. In both cases, attempts to bring Afghanistan to heel only ended with endless fighting.

Portugal led the way at the start of the Age of Exploration.

The Age of Exploration lasted from the 15th to 17th centuries. It was when European explorers set out to fill the blank pages of the map. And Portugal was at the very lead, with two key figures.

One was Prince Henry the Navigator, who sponsored the various expeditions Portugal launched. The other was Vasco da Gama, who led the first expedition around Africa to India. In doing so he mapped the first all-sea route from Europe to the Orient. This, in turn, opened the door to further exploration and charting of trade routes across the seas.

Madagascar has a tradition where they parade the dead.

It’s called Famadihana. Every 5 to 7 years, the people of Madagascar exhume their dead relatives and replace their burial clothes. The rewrapped bodies are then paraded to show the dead are still remembered. A grisly and morbid example of world facts to be sure, but also a heartwarming one for all that.

There are no snakes in Ireland.

Outside of zoos and private pet owners, that is. Legend claims this is because St. Patrick banished them from the island. More likely it’s because the Ice Age was the last time Ireland had a connection to the mainland. This made it too cold for snakes to get to Ireland. Even when the ice melted, the surrounding water was still too cold for them to swim across.

Vatican City is the smallest nation on Earth.

Unsurprising, considering it only covers 44 hectares (or 500 m²) in surface area. In contrast to the second-smallest country in the world, the city of Monaco, which covers 2 km². Then again, there is a reason why the Vatican is also called a city inside a city. That is, it’s located inside the city of Rome. In fact, before Italy unified in the 19th century, the Vatican City was a district of Rome.

An aerial shot of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City.
Photo from Pixabay

Luxembourg has three official languages.

Those are German, French, and Lëtzebuergesch (Luxembourgish). The first two because those are the two countries Luxembourg is between. Luxembourgish though is for common conversation.

The largest wind farm in Africa is in Morocco.

This is Tarfaya Wind Farm, located 20 km from the town of the same name in Morocco. Built between 2012 and 2014, the farm has 131 wind turbines. Between them, they produce a total of 301 MW of power.

Canada is the second-largest country on Earth.

Canada covers an area of 9.98 million km². This makes it second only to Russia, which covers an area of 22.4 million km². Canada also stretches over 7000 km from east to west.

A hill in New Zealand has the longest name of any place in the world.

The name of that hill in New Zealand is Taumatawhakatangihanga-koauauotamateaturipukakapikimaung-ahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu. It’s of Maori origin and refers to one of their folk tales. The name is usually shortened to Taumata for convenience.

Lac Assal in Djibouti is the lowest point in the African continent.

Lac Assal is a salt lake in Djibouti, along Africa’s eastern coast. Lying 155 meters below sea level, it is the lowest point on the continent.

The guiding principle for North Korea is juche.

Juche means self-reliance in Korean. It is a form of Communism that developed from Kim Il-sung’s experiences fighting Japan. In practice, juche drives North Korea to achieve complete economic independence. Agricultural independence, in particular, is a major goal. Whether or not it seems to work is something world facts will leave to our readers.

Some of Pompeii’s walls have graffiti on them.

And not any graffiti either: Roman graffiti, dating back to before Vesuvius buried the town in ash. We’re sure you know all about that, how Vesuvius destroyed Pompeii in an eruption.

You might have thought that graffiti is a modern thing. It isn’t. The themes are quite familiar though. For example, “Gaius was here”. Or, “Atemitus got me pregnant”. That some things never change seems like something world facts will have to admit.

The pyramids of Egypt weren’t built by slaves.

The idea that slaves built the pyramids of Ancient Egypt is fictional. That, or based on Biblical references the historicity of which is still debated.

The pyramids of Egypt in the sunlight.
Photo from Pixabay

According to archaeologists, peasants built the Ancient Egyptian pyramids. They did so in the dry season when they couldn’t work on their farms. It wasn’t forced labor either, as records show the peasants received pay for their work. More than that, there was a spiritual benefit as well from building the pharaoh’s tomb. That is, they received a share in his afterlife.

It’s illegal to throw away food in France.

As long as it isn’t spoiled or rotten, of course. For example, old but still edible food from a supermarket. Or leftovers from restaurants. In most places, either gets thrown away. But starting in 2016, it became illegal to do so in France. Instead, they must donate old and uneaten food to food banks or charities. Now there’s something worth some thought from world facts.

The 1815 Eruption of Tambora was the biggest in history.

In 1815, Indonesia saw the biggest volcanic eruption in history. Tambora erupted on the island of Sumbawa and killed almost 100,000 people. The force of the eruption triggered tsunamis across the Pacific. It also put enough ash into the atmosphere to start a mini-Ice Age. In Europe, this led to 1816 getting called the Year Without a Summer.

Wombat poop is square.

Australia is pretty famous for its unique wildlife. These range from the gentle koala, to the iconic kangaroo. They also have plenty of poisonous snakes and spiders too. Another one of their unique animals is the wombat.

It’s a mammal about as big as a medium-sized dog. They also poop in squares. It’s the result of their digestive systems squeezing as much water out of their food. A stranger example from world facts to be sure. World facts can get quite strange, doesn’t it?

Argentina means silvery in Spanish.

The Spaniards thought the country was rich in silver, thus the name. The search for silver drove the Spanish colonists in settling the land. In the end, they found no silver in Argentina whatsoever.

Estonia made the first meal eaten in space.

Here’s an interstellar yet humble example of world facts. A factory in Põltsamaa in Estonia provided catering for the Soviet space program. The first meal eaten in space came ready to eat in tin tubes. Not very appetizing, but that was the only way they could go to space at the time.

People went naked in Ancient Greek gymnasiums.

It wasn’t only the gymnasiums either. Athletes competing in the ancient Olympic Games also did so naked. The people of Ancient Greece saw it as a way to encourage priding having a fit and healthy body.

Casu Marzu is a kind of cheese with live maggots.

The Casu Marzu is a type of cheese native to Sardinia, Italy. Part of how to make it involves letting it rot up to a point, and letting maggots nest in the cheese. It helps with giving it a unique flavor.

It’s supposed to be safe to eat, but people have to sign waivers before they can, ironically. It’s also gotten them into trouble with the EU, as casu marzu doesn’t reach its standards.

Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in history.

Historical records show the country dating back to the 9th century BC. It’s even referenced in the Bible. Do you remember the Queen of Sheba from the stories of King Solomon? Scholars actually equate Sheba to Ethiopia.

Haiti is the first black republic on Earth.

Revolutionary Toussaint L’Ouverture led a slave revolt against France in 1801. They defeated the French and declared themselves a free nation. Unfortunately, the French caught Toussaint L’Ouverture in a trap and imprisoned him. His death in prison angered his successor Jean-Jacques Dessalines. His retaliation saw every white person in Haiti at the time killed.

All Finns know how to ski.

Unless they’re children, in which case they’ll start learning soon. This is because of how far north Finland is. Winter in Finland sees so much snow that the best way to travel is by ski or by sleigh. This is especially true in the countryside.

That’s also the reason why Hans Christian Andersen set some of his stories in Finland. Remember the Ice Queen and its setting in Lapland? That’s actually Finland’s coldest and northernmost province.

The first African woman to win a Nobel Prize is from Kenya.

The activist and scientist from Kenya, Wangari Maathai, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Unfortunately, she died soon after in 2011 from complications of ovarian cancer.

Bangkok is not actually called Bangkok.

The full name of Thailand’s capital is one of the longest names in the world. It’s Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit.

Translated from Thai to English, it means “City of angels, great city of immortals, magnificent city of the nine gems, seat of the king, city of royal palaces, home of gods incarnate, erected by Vishvakarman at the behest of Indra”. Talk about something mouthful from world facts.

The Grand Palace amidst the Bangkok skyline at night.
Photo from Pixabay

The novel and film Jurassic Park is set in Costa Rica.

The island of Isla Nublar doesn’t exist in reality. But the country it belongs to does: Costa Rica. It’s a country in Central America, between Panama and Nicaragua. Its coasts lie on both sides of the continent. To the east, Costa Rica faces the Caribbean Sea. And to the west, it faces the Pacific Ocean.

The Nile is the longest river on Earth.

Running over 6000 km long, the Nile flows through eleven countries in Africa. These range from Tanzania in the south, to Egypt in the north. The river is an important travel route between those countries and a major source of water. This is especially true to the north, with the desert climate of countries like Egypt and Sudan.

Puerto Rico is US territory.

A former Spanish colony, America took Puerto Rico after defeating Spain in 1898. It remains US territory today, but with self-government. Puerto Ricans don’t elect members of the US Congress or the US President. They are US citizens, though.

Throat singing is a world-famous Mongolian tradition.

The singer sings in one pitch, and then sings in one or more higher pitches at the same time. It’s so iconic that UNESCO’s designated it a world cultural heritage. Something for Mongolia as a whole to take even more pride in, that’s for sure.

The Dominican Republic has the oldest church in the Americas.

The Catedral de Santa Maria La Menor is in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic‘s capital. Construction began in 1514 and finished in 1541.

China’s Rainbow Mountains give the impression someone painted the mountains over.

No one did, though. The rainbow-like bands of Zhangye Danxia Geo-Park in China are completely natural. The colors are thanks to the deposition of various kinds of rock over millions of years.

Machu Picchu is one of the most famous ancient sites on Earth.

And it’s not hard to see why. The view from the top of the mountains is breathtaking, at a height of 2.4 km. The ruins are both historic and mysterious, dated back to the 15th century. The mystery comes from the fact that no one knows what Machu Picchu was built for. It seems to have been an observatory for the Incas, but there’s evidence that’s not all it was either. All this means that thousands of tourists come to visit every day.

The ruins of Machu Picchu in the sunlight.
Photo by Yolanda Coervers from Pixabay

Chocolate came from Guatemala.

Or the Mayan people of Guatemala, to be precise. Long before the Spaniards came, the Mayans enjoyed chocolate. In fact, they enjoyed it so much that they called it the food of the gods. They even reserved the drinking of hot chocolate to royalty in Ancient America. Now there’s something sweet from world facts.

The Mongols invaded Vietnam three times.

The Mongols invaded Vietnam three times in the 13th Century. Each time, the Vietnamese defeated them. After the third invasion, the Vietnamese Emperor realized the Mongols would keep coming. So he entered into an agreement with them instead. In doing so, he ensured an end to the repeated invasions.

There is only one tropical rainforest in North America.

The El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical rainforest in North America. As a national park in the United States, it is under government protection. That said, tourists can hike through the jungle at designated times. The park features both rich animal and plant life, as well as religious sites for the island’s natives.

The Iguazu Falls of Argentina are the widest waterfalls in the world.

The Iguazu Falls divide the Iguazu River into the Upper and Lower Iguazu. The river spills over 2.7 km of the cliff line, split into over 200 waterfalls by outcrops along the cliff’s edge. Contrast to Victoria Falls in Africa, at only 1.7 km wide. The falls are also a major landmark along that part of Argentina’s border with Brazil.

The Space Needle is a world-famous observation tower in Seattle, Washington state.

Built in 1962 for the World Fair, the Space Needle stands 184 meters tall and 42 meters wide. The tower was built resistant against earthquakes and storms. No earthquake weaker than 9.1 can damage the Space Needle. It also only moves 25 mm for every 16 kph of wind.

The Space Needle amidst the Seattle skyline at night.
Photo from Pixabay

Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s tallest peak.

It’s also the tallest free-standing peak in the world. Most mountains and volcanoes are part of ranges like the Himalayas or the Rockies. Some stand-alone though. Mount Kilimanjaro is one example, standing 5.9 km tall in Tanzania, East Africa.

The idea for the Three Gorges Dam predates the People’s Republic of China.

The Three Gorges Dam in China is the largest power station in the world. Construction started in 1994 and finished in 2012. But plans for the actually go back to 1919, under Sun Yat-sen. Studies continued under Chiang Kai-Shek and even the Japanese in the 1930s. The Americans also supported the idea of a dam in the 1940s, as did Mao in the 1950s. Designing the current dam began in the 1980s, with construction starting in 1994.

The Taj Mahal is a Mausoleum.

Emperor Shah Jahan ordered it built for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth. Construction started in 1632 and finished in 1653. Shah Jahan was later entombed in the Taj Mahal with his beloved wife.

The purpose behind Stonehenge remains a mystery today.

Built from 5000 to 4000 years ago in the English countryside, the reason is still a mystery. Scholars have various theories, all having limited evidence. One theory is that Stonehenge is a primitive observatory. Another theory is that it was a religious site. Some have even theorized that aliens built Stonehenge. Stonehenge’s mystery may, in fact, be the only certainty of the place.

The Statue of Liberty has copper walls.

It looks like it’s made of stone, but it isn’t. It’s made from copper. This is deliberate, to make the Statue of Liberty light but rustproof. Being lightweight is a must, as the statue came from France. It had to sail across the Atlantic, after all. And it has to be rustproof to avoid rusting away once it arrives in America.

Mount Fuji is an iconic symbol of Japan.

Even before the modern period, Mount Fuji was a common theme in Japanese art. It appeared in various forms, from wall paintings to playing cards. Pilgrims climbed the mountain to show their faith, and poems made about its beauty.

mount fuji facts, world facts
Photo from Getty Images

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge once used lead paint.

The city replaced it once they found out the poisonous properties of lead paint. Given the scale of the Golden Gate Bridge, it took 30 years to finish. Replacement began in 1965 and finished in 1995.

The Trevi Fountain dates back to Roman times.

Its water comes from a spring that also provided for one of Rome’s aqueducts. According to legend, a young girl led the Romans to the spring. This is the source of its name Aqua Virgo or Virgin Waters. The fountain’s name comes from the three streets that surround it. Trevi Fountain, or Three Streets Fountain.

Mount Rushmore is actually incomplete.

The plans for Mount Rushmore meant to have the US presidents shown to their waists. Limited funds meant that only their heads got carved into the rock. Work started in 1927 and finished in 1941.

A traditional Japanese painting of Mount Fuji.
Photo from Pixabay

Plans for the Washington Monument once included Washington’s tomb.

The obelisk of the present monument was actually meant as a centerpiece. Only Washington’s family refused to move his body, so the plan changed. Limited funding also played a factor in scaling down the Washington Monument’s plan.

Washington state is the only one named after an American president.

This is even reflected by their flag. Washington state’s flag displays George Washington’s face in the center.

The deepest gorge in America is in Idaho.

Hells Canyon is in western Idaho, along the border with Washington and Oregon. At the bottom of the canyon runs the Snake River. At 2.43 km deep, it is the deepest gorge in America.

The mockingbird is the state bird of Arkansas.

The Arkansas General Assembly named the mockingbird their state bird in 1929. It’s shared as a state bird by other states such as Florida and Mississippi.

Delaware had fortifications built against the Germans in WWII.

Delaware is along the Atlantic coast of the USA. This put it at risk of submarine attacks after America joined WWII. As part of the country’s defenses, the US military built 12 towers in Delaware. These towers housed lookouts against German submarines.

A U-Boat of the kind to look out for off America’s coast during WWII.
Photo from Pixabay

Georgia has had 5 state capitals in its history.

The first was Savannah from 1777 to 1785. Georgia‘s state capital then moved to Augusta, where it stayed until 1789. Louisville became the state capital until 1807 when it moved again to Milledgeville. Finally, the state capital moved to Atlanta in 1868, where it remains to this day.

Mardi Gras is a Lent celebration.

New Orleans’ Mardi Gras celebration is famous not just in the United States but also across the world for its parades and parties. But there’s also a reason why it’s held only before Lent begins. Lent is a 40-day religious event where people hold back on their wants. And that’s what Mardi Gras is all about. People enjoy themselves as much as they can before they have to start holding back for 40 days.

The modern oil industry began in Pennsylvania.

In 1859, Edwin Drake drilled the first modern well for the modern oil industry in Pennsylvania. Oil wells remain in operation in the area even to this day. Drake’s oil well is now the site of a museum though. Called the Drake Well Museum, it’s dedicated to the history of the modern oil industry.

India’s Festival of Lights lasts for five days.

Depending on the calendar, India celebrates the Festival of Lights is in either October or November. The festival celebrates the triumph of the hero Rama and his reunion with his wife Sita. It also honors the prosperity goddess Lakshmi. During the festival, lanterns and lamps are lit through the night, and fireworks set off. This is also why it’s called the Festival of Lights in the first place.

The US Air Force Academy is in Colorado.

The US Air Force founded the academy in 1954 and graduated first class in 1959. The academy is to the north of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Arizona’s namesake battleship remains sunk at Pearl Harbor.

The US Navy named their battleships after the American states. One of those shared Arizona’s name, finished in 1916. The battleship was one of several at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. It was also the only one not repaired afterward, because of the extreme damage. Instead, the battleship’s remains became a memorial to the attack and its dead.

The Arizona Memorial in the sunlight, at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
Photo from Pixabay

South Dakota has the most mammoth fossils in the world.

Many fossils remain in the ground instead of getting put in a museum. Called Mammoth Site, it’s found near the city of Hot Springs, South Dakota.

The Dutch loves licorice.

The people of the Netherlands holds the title for consuming the most licorice in the world, with an average of 4 pounds (or 2 kg) per person every year.

The center of North America is in North Dakota.

The town of Rugby, North Dakota, is the geographic center of the continent. A stone obelisk stands in the town center in recognition of this fact.

The highest peak in North America is in Alaska.

Mount Denali is part of the Alaska Range, along the southern part of the state. Its name means Great One in the language of the Koyukon natives. Standing 7.45 km high, it is the highest peak on the continent.

Utah used to be part of Mexico.

That changed after the Mexican-American War of 1846 to 1848. Utah became part of the victorious USA. And it wasn’t only Utah. America took California and Nevada as well, along with parts of 7 other states. What a set of prizes, no matter how we here at world facts look at it.

Vermont has the least populated state capital in all the USA.

As of 2018, Montpellier, Vermont, only has 7,436 residents. Outsiders working in the city increase this to over 20,000 in the daytime, though.

Rivers define Iowa’s western and eastern borders.

The Missouri River is to the west of Iowa. And to Iowa’s east is the Mississippi River. Iowa is the only state with this distinction.

New York City, New York, was the USA’s first capital.

It was the capital from March 04, 1789, to December 05, 1790. George Washington took his oath of office in New York, at Federal Hall. In 1790 the capital moved to Philadelphia, in neighboring Pennsylvania.

New York at night.
Photo from Pixabay

Bannack in Montana is a ghost town.

A gold rush in 1862 led to the town’s founding. The population peaked in 1864 after the town became the territorial capital. Montana‘s capital moved to Virginia City only a year later in 1865. Bannack continued as a mining town, though its population dropped. The town’s last residents left in the 1970s. Even before then, Bannack became a national historical site in 1961.

Kentucky has the longest cave system on Earth.

Mammoth Cave is in the national park of the same name in Edmonson County, Kentucky. It stretches 640 km underground and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.

A ranger guides tourists through Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, USA.
Photo from Wikipedia

Danes always wait for the green light.

Pedestrians in Denmark always wait for the lights to turn green before they cross⁠—even if there are no cars or bicycles on the roads.

You can find the National Anthem of Singapore on the $1000 note.

If you manage to get your hands on one of these $1000 notes, flip it over and try to find the lyrics of the National Anthem of Singapore printed on them.

You can get from Norway to Russia through border crossing.

Believe it or not, Norway shares a border with Russia, all the way in the North. Despite the 122-mile long border, there is only one border crossing between the two countries at Storskog in Norway and Borisoglebsky (Boris Gleb) in Russia on the E105 highway.