Our Earth is divided into many countries, 195 countries to be exact. While every one of these countries are made up of different shapes and sizes, there are some truly massive ones that take up large areas of land, as well as some so small they're called microstates.
If you're well educated on your geography, then you know that Russia is the largest country on our planet, covering an area of a whopping 6.6 million square miles and covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area. Russia easily beats out Canada, which comes in second, and the United States of America coming in third as the largest countries on Earth.
There are a number of gigantic countries on our earth and we've listed the top ten that take up extensive areas on our planet. While we can probably easily guess which of these countries are our biggest, do you also know which countries make up the top ten list of the smallest?
Along with the most massive countries on the planet, there are also a few independent states; some so small they are called microstates. And if you guessed Monaco as the smallest country in the world, you almost nailed it, but there is one other country that is a lot smaller with just 0.17 square miles in total land area, and is almost 120 times smaller than the island of Manhattan!
Check out this list of the top ten largest countries in the world and the top ten smallest. You'll probably be surprised at just how big or how small these countries really are.
It's clear that Russia is the largest country on Earth. Russia covers an expanse of 6.6 million square miles and is so massive; it includes nine different time zones and shares its borders with fourteen other nations. According to History, while Russia covers approximately 17% of the world's inhabited land, it is only home to 2% of the world's population, with over 144.3 million people calling this country home. Russia is a transcontinental country, covering much of eastern and northeastern Europe and the entirety of northern Asia, making it located in two parts of the world. Russia is truly a gigantic nation.
'O Canada! Our home and native land!' Canada is the second largest country on Earth and covers an area of a whopping 3.9 million square miles. However, without its lakes, Canada would be smaller than the United States. That being said, the country actually has more lakes than the rest of the world's lakes combined. Even though it's the second largest nation, its population is only about one-fifth of Russia. According to the BBC, nearly 90% of Canadians live within 124 miles of the border with the United States, which means that the nation contains areas of wilderness to the north. It also means that it gets extremely cold in the north as well. The Canadian north contains two climatic regions, artic and subarctic, which means it going to get pretty chilly.
18 The United States Of America
The United States of American ranks as the third largest nation on Earth covering an area of 3.8 million square miles. The U.S. has some of the world's largest lakes, including Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, the deepest canyons like the stunning Antelope Canyon in Arizona, impressive rivers, including the Colorado River, which stretches through seven states, and some of the most populous and famous cities, including Los Angeles, New York and Las Vegas. Each state in the U.S. varies in size, with Rhode Island being the smallest of just 1,545 square miles, while Alaska takes the prize as the largest state with a land area of 663,268 square miles.
China takes the fourth spot on this list of the largest countries on Earth with a total area of 3.7 billion square miles. Despite its large size, China is in one time zone compared to Russia, which has nine different time zones. Also, like Russia, there are fourteen neighboring countries surrounding China. While this Asian nation isn't as large as the three nations’ we've listed above, it does have the largest population, with a whopping 1.379 billion people living there. In fact, one in every five people in the world is Chinese. The geography of this nation is also very diverse, with unique natural landscape of Mount Sanqingshan National Park to the glorious and bustling cities of Beijing and Shanghai.
The vast South American country of Brazil comes in fifth as the world's largest country with a land area of 3.2 million square miles. The nation stretches from the Amazon basin to the north to the scenic Iguaçu Falls all the way to the south. Brazil is also the largest country in both South America and Latin America, where it covers 47.3 % of the South American continent's land area. With over 208 million people, Brazil is the sixth most populous nation, with the city of Sao Paulo being the most populated. Brazil is also geographically diverse, where you'll find hills, mountains, plains, woodland, the acclaimed Amazon Rainforest, Brazilian Highlands, and vast stretches of coastline.
Australia is the world's sixth largest country with a land area of 2.9 million square miles. The nation is often referred to as the "island continent" with it being isolated from the rest of the world. Even though Australia is rather large, the population is only 22.6 million. A desert known as the 'outback,' with scorching temperatures, little water and almost no vegetation, covers more than one-third of Australia. You'll find most cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth located in the southwest and southeast, where the climate is more bearable and a lot more comfortable.
India is the seventh largest country on Earth with a total area of 1.2 million square miles with six bordering nations, including, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, China, Nepal and Pakistan. Like much of the countries we've listed, India also has varied geographical features. You'll find running rivers, stunning waterfalls, lakes, mountains, vast coastal plains; islands sprinkled around the peninsular country, and surrounding oceans. India is known as the "land of rivers" for the numerous rivers it has, such as the major Ganges River and Yamuna River. You might also be familiar with India's famous mountain range and the world's highest, the Himalayas, which rise in the north of the country.
Argentina is the second largest country in South America but lands in eighth place as the largest country on Earth, covering an expanse of 1.07 million square miles. To the west of the country you'll find the impressive Andes Mountains, creating a continuous highland where you'll also find Chile, and on the east, you'll find the Atlantic Ocean. In the northern region of Argentina, there are four neighboring nation's, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil and Uruguay. The South American country is divided into four regions, the Andes, the Pampas, which are fertile lowlands, the north and Patagonia to the south, which features arid steppes, grassland and deserts.
Kazakhstan is located in Central Asia and Eastern Europe and has a total land area of 1.05 square miles, making it Earth’s ninth largest country. It is a massive nation with only sixteen million people and is the largest landlocked country in the world, with Russia to its North, China to its West, Uzbekistan down South and the Caspian Sea on its Western border. With the exception of mountains in the east and southeast, the nation is mostly flat and arid, with over 85% of the country covered in steppe, plains, semi-desert and desert. The nation’s capital, Astana, is sometimes nicknamed the world's weirdest capital city because its modern and striking architecture is surrounded by open steppes, making it seem like a mirage.
Algeria is the tenth largest country on Earth and the largest nation on the continent of Africa with a land area 919,595 square miles. Along the coast, you'll find the main towns, fertile lands, beach resorts and 90% of the nation's population. Going southward, you'll find the Sahara desert, where Earth's hottest surface temperatures have been recorded and which constitutes more than four-fifths of the nation's land area. Algeria's neighboring countries consist of Tunisia and Libya to the east, to the south by Niger, Mali, and Mauritania, to the west by Morocco and Western Sahara (an unrecognized state), and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea.
Let's take a look at the top ten smallest nations in the world, starting with number ten, Malta. This small island country has a land area of 122 square miles and is located in the Mediterranean Sea. Malta is actually the largest of three islands of The Republic of Malta, which consists of Gozo, Comino, and Malta. The population on this stunning island is a little over 450,000, but it is a very popular tourist destination because of its beautiful weather, beaches, nightlife and important history. The nation gained its independence in 1964, but for centuries, this small nation has been molded by eleven different foreign rule, including the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Sicilians to name a few, leaving behind traces of their culture which are scattered among the islands.
Maldives is the ninth smallest country on Earth with a total area of just 116 square miles. There are over 1, 192 coral islands in the Maldives spread over 90,000 square kilometers, making it one of the most disparate countries in the world. The nation is found in the Indian Ocean and is considered part of South Asia and is one of the smallest Asian countries in terms of size and population with approximately 427,756 people. The Maldives is known to be a popular tourist destination because of its warm weather, sandy beaches and beautiful pristine waters. If you want to check out this paradise, go soon, scientists believe by 2050 or 2100, it may no longer exist because of its low lying islands, rising sea levels can impact these islands.
8 Saint Kitts And Nevis
Located in the Caribbean, Saint Kitts and Nevis are two small islands that occupy a total area of 104 square miles, making it the eighth smallest country in the world. These islands are known for their spectacular beaches and pristine jungle forests, and they rely heavily on tourism. St. Kitts is also known for its amazing tropical weather all year round and its never too cold to go for a swim. The country is also a popular hotspot for divers due to its abundant marine life. It's also known throughout the world as Sugarcane Island and has been a major sugar exporter for centuries. If you visit, you'll see how former plantations have been changed to become hotels and resorts.
7 Marshall Islands
The Marshall Islands is an island country that is found in the Pacific Ocean, halfway between Hawaii and the continent of Australia. It is the seventh smallest country on the Earth with a total area of just 70 square miles. Geographically, the country is part of the larger group of island group of Micronesia. As of January 2017, Marshall Islands had a population of only 55,036 people. It's known for its lovely slivers of white sand beaches and lush green vegetation. It is also extremely biodiverse with over 800 species of fish as well as 160 of coral. You'll also find a number of shipwrecks here.
There are approximately 37,000 people living in the 62 square miles of land in Liechtenstein, which falls in sixth place as the world's smallest country. This is the only nation completely located in the Alps with its natives speaking German. Liechtenstein is located between Switzerland and Austria and is the richest country in the world by GDP per capita. Believe it or not, the nation is ruled by a prince, named His Serene Highness Prince Hans-Adam II, who invites the residents of this tiny nation to his castle once a year, to have a drink. The country is also not only landlocked, but double landlocked, with Austria to the north and east and Switzerland to the south and west, which are themselves landlocked.
5 San Marino
Surrounded by Italy, San Marino is the smallest republic in the entire world with a land area of only 24 square miles. The nation is also the least visited countries in all of Western Europe because hardly anyone knows about this tiny nation! San Marino is the fifth smallest nation in the world, with a population of approximately 30,000 people. It's considered one of the calmest and peaceful places in the entire world and oddly enough, remains untouched by massive tourism. The nation is located on a hill named Mount Titano where the main city is also located. San Marino also claims to be the oldest surviving sovereign state in the world, and is one of the wealthiest in terms of GDP per capita.
Tuvalu is a Polynesian island located between Hawaii and Australia in the Pacific Ocean and comes in fourth as the world's smallest nation with a land area of just 10 square miles. There isn't much tourism here, possibly because of its location, but you will find some 10,000 people living here. The nation consists of three reef islands and six true atolls, and with its small size and population, along with a lack of natural resources, Tuvalu has the smallest economy in GDP. Like we mentioned with the Maldives, and its low elevation, this island nation is also threatened to sea levels rises. However, Tuvalu is a gorgeous nation and a remote country that offers a stunning landscape and marine treasures.
Nauru is the third smallest country in the world with a total area of 8.1 square miles. This tiny nation is located east of Australia and is the smallest island nation in the world. While the island features dazzling white sand beaches scattered with palms, it is a quiet nation off the map of tourists. In the 1980's, this island was known for its phosphate mining, but these natural resources slowly depleted, leading to a skyrocketing unemployment rate. Sadly, this country is also known as the country with the most obese people in the world. Shockingly, it was identified that 94.5% of Nauru residents are overweight, and because of this, Nauru is home to the world's highest level of type 2 diabetes, with a whopping 40% of people suffering from it.
Monaco is located in the French Rivera and is known as the place to be for millionaires and billionaires. This nation, bordered by France on three sides and on one side by the Mediterranean Sea, is the second smallest country in the world, with a total land area of just 0.78 square miles. Monaco is favorite among celebrities and people who truly live a life of luxury. With a population of over 36,000, the residents who live here mainly speak French. It's also famous for gambling, with its casinos in Monte Carlo, and its most popular event, the Formula One race, which is held each year.
1 Vatican City
With a total area of a mere 0.17 square miles, Vatican City, also known as the Holy See, is the smallest country in the world. Technically, Vatican City is an independent city-state, encircled by a two-mile border with Italy, governed as an absolute monarchy with the pope at its head. In fact, this nation has its own pharmacy, post office, and telephone system media outlets. Vatican City is the center of the Catholic Church and is home to the biggest church in the entire world, St. Peter's Basilica. Most of the country's 600 or so citizens live abroad, which included 71 cardinals, 109 members of the Swiss guard, 51 members of the clergy and one nun inside these walls. The largest group of citizens was the 307 members of the clergy in different diplomatic positions around the globe.