If you’ve ever studied a world map or spent time considering world geography, you probably have a feel for some of the largest and smallest countries.
However, whether you’re talking about land size or population, some countries are much smaller than you might think.
There’s no question that Russia is a very large country. By area, Russia is the largest country in the world. However, if you were looking at a Mercator map, it’s not as big as depicted.
On a Mercator map, the sizes of some countries are stretched so they can be properly depicted. This happens because the Earth is a slightly oblong globe, while a map is flat.
If you’re looking at a map, the closer the countries are to the north and south poles, the more their size is exaggerated. This is very true for Russia.
On a Mercator map, Russia looks like it’s about twice the size of the continent of Africa. In actuality, Russia is only about half the size of Africa, with a total size of 6.602 million square miles.
Russia also has a relatively small population compared to its land size and is home to only about 143.4 million people.
So even though Russia is the largest country on the planet, it can be deceiving when viewed on a map.
Like Russia, Greenland appears much larger on a map than it truly is. Greenland looks like it’s equal to or even larger than the entirety of Africa.
In reality, Greenland is about 14 times smaller than Africa, with a total size of 836,300 square miles. Greenland also has a small population and is only home to about 56,650 people.
Most people are relatively familiar with Singapore because it has such a high population. Singapore has a population of about 5.454 million people, and because of this, most people assume the country is of at least a medium size.
Singapore, however, has a very high population density, and it is actually only about 281.3 square miles in size. It’s so small that it’s known as a city-state.
Seychelles is an archipelago located off the eastern coast of Africa. The country comprises about 115 islands, so most people assume it’s relatively large.
However, Seychelles only covers about 175.7 square miles, and this gorgeous country has a population of only about 99,200 people.
Namibia, which is located at the southwestern edge of Africa, isn’t usually considered to be a small country, land-wise. It has a total size of about 318,261, making it a medium-sized country.
It’s also bigger, land-wise, than many of its neighboring countries, including Kenya, which has a population of about 55 million people.
Taking these things into consideration, most people would assume that Namibia also has a similar population size. However, Namibia is only home to about 2.587 million people.
The country’s low population is due to the fact that most of its land is incredibly dry desert. In fact, the Namib and Kalahari deserts make Namibia the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa.
Because the country has little area to grow food, it cannot sustain a large population.
Malta, which is located in the Mediterranean Sea, is made up of three islands, so most people assume the country is of at least medium size.
Malta is one of the smallest countries in the world, though, and has a total size of only 122 square miles. In comparison, Rhode Island, the smallest state in the U.S., has a total size of 1,214 square miles.
Andorra is located in Europe between France and Spain, so most people assume that this scenic, mountainous country is about the same size as other nearby European countries.
France is about 213,011 square miles in size, while Spain is about 195,364 square miles in size. Andorra, however, is only about 180.7 square miles.
Palau is a chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean. The country contains more than 500 islands, so it makes sense to think it’s quite large. However, Palau is tiny, and most of its many islands are very small.
In total, Palau is only about 177.2 square miles, and this beautiful country has a population of just over 18,000 people.
The Maldives is another island nation. This island chain is located southwest of India and Sri Lanka, two relatively large countries.
Although The Maldives has a population of about 543,620 people, the islands only cover about 115 square miles.
Liechtenstein is located in Europe between Austria and Switzerland. It’s relatively well-known, which makes some people assume it has a medium or large size.
The country, however, is so small that it’s known as a microstate. It’s only about 61 square miles in size and has a population of just over 38,000 people.
Ireland isn’t too small, land-wise. It has a total size of about 32,595 square miles, which is about the size of its neighboring country, England. However, Ireland’s population is only about 5 million.
England, on the other hand, has a population of almost 56 million people. Ireland’s small population can be traced back to a terrible famine, known as The Great Famine, that occurred in the mid-1800s.
Another country located in Europe, Monaco is scenic and is a popular place for gambling, so it’s frequented by tourists.
Because of its larger-than-life vibrancy, many people assume the country is of at least medium size.
Monaco, however, is only about 499 acres, or around 0.78 square miles, in size. It has a total population of about 39,520 people.
San Marino is a microstate near Italy, and, unlike other European countries, it’s very tiny. It has a total size of about 23.63 square miles, making it one of the smallest countries not only in Europe but in the world.