10 June 2018

Puzzle: Learning about new countries

When I visited Mongolia this time, Roger introduced me to a book “Tuva or Bust”. If you have not read that book, chances are you would not know that there used to be a country called Tannu Tuva (kind of northwest of Mongolia). Or that the Noble prize winning physicist Richard Feynman never fulfilled his wish to visit that country in spite of years and years of efforts.

That got me thinking about how little I knew about countries. Actually, my knowledge of countries is pretty much stuck with what I had learnt (and how the world looked) during my school days – so let’s say mid 80s. Even then, I was terrible with countries from Africa.

After coming back from Mongolia though, I did make some effort to learn about the new countries that have formed in the last two decades or so. Previously, I could not even place them in the world map. Now I can. I am still struggling with the names of their capitals though.

I cannot give you this puzzle without ruling Sharmistha Kolay out of this game. She is a whiz kid when comes to geography. Not only can she name each and every country by continent and place them in a world map, she can name their capitals and …. get this… tell you what their flag looks like. I have never met anybody like her.

So here is the puzzle… I will name some newly formed countries… and you will have to name their capital. Try it by yourself. And then Google them up. How many did you get?

A. Countries that formed when USSR broke up:

-> “The Stans” in Asia
1. Tajikistan
2. Turkmenistan
3. Kyrgyzstan
4. Uzbekistan
5. Kazakhstan

-> Between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea
6. Azerbaijan
7. Armenia
8. Georgia

-> In Europe
9. Ukraine
10. Moldova
11. Belarus
12. Latvia
13. Lithuania
14. Estonia

B. Countries that formed when Yugoslavia broke up:

15. Serbia
16. Bosnia Hercegovina
17. Montenegro
18. Macedonia
19. Kosovo
20. Slovenia
21. Croatia

C. Other new countries

-> Africa
22. South Sudan
23. Eritrea
24. Namibia

-> Asia
25. East Timor (Timor-Leste)
26. Palau

-> Europe
27. Slovakia
28. Czech Republic

BTW, I could not even reach the one-third mark!!! How many did you get?

Finally for the bonus question… and maybe we will open this up to Sharmistha even… Have you heard of a country called the Republic of Artsakh? Look it up!!

Posted June 10, 2018 by Rajib Roy in category "Puzzles


  1. By rajibroy (Post author) on

    The answers now:

    1. Tajikistan: Dushanbe
    2. Turkmenistan: Ashgabat
    3. Kyrgyzstan: Bishkek
    4. Uzbekistan: Tashkent
    5. Kazakhstan: Astana
    6. Azerbaijan: Baku
    7. Armenia: Yerevan
    8. Georgia: Tbilisi
    9. Ukraine: Kiev
    10. Moldova: Chisinau
    11. Belarus: Minsk
    12. Latvia: Riga
    13. Lithuania: Vilnius
    14. Estonia: Tallinn
    15. Serbia: Belgrade
    16. Bosnia Hercegovina: Sarajevo
    17. Montenegro: Podgorica
    18. Macedonia: Skopje
    19. Kosovo: Pristina
    20. Slovenia: Ljubljana
    21. Croatia: Zagreb
    22. South Sudan: Juba
    23. Eritrea: Asmara
    24. Namibia: Windhoek
    25. East Timor (Timor-Leste): Dili
    26. Palau: Ngerulmud
    27. Slovakia: Bratislava
    28. Czech Republic: Prague


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