There are 196 officially recognised countries in the world, each having a unique identity. Here are a few fascinating but lesser-known facts about 15 countries in the world.
1. People in Turkmenistan get gas for free.
Natural gas in Turkmenistan is in abundance and citizens have been getting it free of charge since 1993 with water and electricity. Match boxes are not free; most of the time people do not extinguish the stoves just to save some money on the match boxes. Though of late the country is mulling about abolishing the free supply.
2. Widows in Ghana need to have sex with strangers to cleanse their spirits.
In Ghana, when the spouse of a woman dies, she is expected to cleanse her spirit so that she can continue with her normal life. In order to cleanse the spirit, she must sleep with a total stranger. It doesn’t matter who the person is as long as he is a stranger and is not related to her in any way.
3. The official language of Fiji is Hindi
India is not the only country which recognises Hindi as the official language. Fiji uses Hindi as the official language too and it is known as Fiji Hindi or Hindustani. Though not exactly the Hindi we use in India, Fiji Hindi is influenced by Awadhi, Bhojpuri and other Bihari languages besides many Fijian and English words. The reason that Hindi made its way to the South Pacific Ocean is that under the British rule, Indians were taken to Fiji as labourers to work on the fields and the descendants of those today comprises more than 40% of the country’s population.
4. Fathers of teenage girls in Cambodia make huts for their daughter to have premarital sex.
Among the members of the Kreung tribe in Cambodia, when a girl reaches her teenage years, her father would build her a love hut where she is expected to have sex with different guys until she decides for herself a suitable husband. Divorce, however, is illegal there.
5. December 30, 2011 didn’t exist in Samoa.
Samoa skipped an entire day and missed out December 30, 2011 after it switched to the opposite side of the International Date Line in order to improve its trade with Australia and New Zealand. When the clock struck midnight on Thursday, December 29, the country took a leap in time and landed on Saturday, December 31.
6. Bhutan is the only carbon negative country in the world.
The tiny himalayan nation Bhutan is the only country in the world that absorbs more carbon than it produces, making it the only carbon sink country in the world. It absorbs 6 million tons of carbon while it produces 1.5 million tons annually.
7. Tokelau is the first country in the world totally powered by sun.
Tokelau, located in southern Pacific Ocean, was the first country to become 100% solar powered in the year 2012. Apparently it also gives away its top domain .tk for free in order to raise awareness about the country in the world.
8. Kiribati falls in all the four hemispheres.
The Republic of Kiribati, which consists of 33 atolls and one isolated island, is the only country in the world to fall within all (eastern, western, southern and northern) four hemispheres.
9. Niue has the images of Mickey Mouse and Goofy in its currencies.
The island nation of Niue located in the Pacific features in its currency, the Niue dollar, images of fictional characters that include Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Snow White, characters from Pokemon, the Godfather etc. It also earns a royalty whenever a collector buys its coins.
10. Andorra remained in war on Germany and nobody noticed for decades.
During the World War I, Andorra, a tiny nation between France and Spain, declared war on Germany but didn’t send an army to fight as it didn’t have any army in the first place and everyone seemed to have forgotten it. Much later after the Treaty of Versailles was signed in the year 1958, the technical fault was recognized and the issue was solved. Andorra, after remaining in war with Germany for about 40 years (technically) declared peace in the year 1958.
11. Ethiopia follows a calendar which is seven years behind the Gregorian.
Due to alternate calculations to determine the date on which the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive Jesus, Ethiopia still follows a traditional calendar and is seven years behind the Gregorian calendar. So while the world has entered in the year 2017, the Ethiopians are but still in the year 2010.
12. Tuvalu earns most of its revenue due to its name and not resources.
Another island nation in the Pacific Ocean, most of Tuvalu’s revenue comes from the lease of its top-level domain. It received $50 million in exchange for the rights to the Internet domain .tv besides a stake of 20% in the company DotTV, which helped it to finally become a member of the UN in the year 2000 after previously failing to pay the membership fee of $ 20,000.
13. Laos is the most bombed country in the world.
Laos is the most bombed nation in the word. During the Vietnamese war, the United States dropped about two million tonnes of bombs over the country of which 30% are believed to have not exploded and continue to kill people till today. More bombs were dropped over Laos than the number of bombs dropped on all parties during the Second World War 2.
14. Nauru doesn’t have a capital.
Nauru is the only country in the world that has no capital. Though Yaren is often considered as its capital due to the largest settlement of people there and the presence of parliament, it is but not the official capital of the country. Previously known as Pleasant Island, it is situated in the Central Pacific.
15. There are more companies in Liechtenstein than people.
Liechtenstein has a staggering GDP of $3 billion though it is only 62 square miles in area. The sixth smallest country in the world also has more registered companies than its entire population.