Tuvalu, in the South Pacific, is an independent island nation within the British Commonwealth. Its 9 islands comprise small, thinly populated atolls and reef islands with palm-fringed beaches and WWII sites. Off Funafuti, the capital, the Funafuti Conservation Area offers calm waters for diving and snorkelling among sea turtles and tropical fish, plus several uninhabited islets sheltering sea birds.
Population: 11,646 (2019) World Bank
Currencies: Australian dollar, Tuvaluan dollar
Official languages: Tuvaluan, English
The Comoros is a volcanic archipelago off Africa’s east coast, in the warm Indian Ocean waters of the Mozambique Channel. The nation state’s largest island, Grande Comore (Ngazidja) is ringed by beaches and old lava from active Mt. Karthala volcano. Around the port and medina in the capital, Moroni, are carved doors and a white colonnaded mosque, the Ancienne Mosquée du Vendredi, recalling the islands’ Arab heritage.
President: Azali Assoumani
Population: 850,886 (2019) World Bank
Currency: Comorian franc
Ethnic groups: Afro-Arab 86%; Malagasy 14%
The history of the Comoros extends to about 1000 BC when the archipelago was first inhabited. The Comoros have been inhabited by various groups throughout this time. France colonized the islands in the 19th century, and they became independent in 1975
Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, is a mostly French- and Arabic-speaking country of dry shrublands, volcanic formations and Gulf of Aden beaches. It’s home to one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, the low-lying Lake Assal, in the Danakil Desert. The nomadic Afar people have settlements along Lake Abbe, a body of saltwater featuring chimneylike mineral formations. ? Google
Dialing code: +253
President: Ismail Omar Guelleh
National languages: Somali; Afar;
Currency: Djiboutian franc
Population: 973,560 (2019)
Kyrgyzstan, officially the Kyrgyz Republic, also known as Kirghizia, is a landlocked country in Central Asia. It is bordered by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China. Its capital and largest city is Bishkek. Kyrgyzstan’s history spans a variety of cultures and empires.
Vanuatu is a South Pacific Ocean nation made up of roughly 80 islands that stretch 1,300 kilometers. The islands offer scuba diving at coral reefs, underwater caverns and wrecks such as the WWII-era troopship SS President Coolidge. Harborside Port Vila, the nation’s capital and economic center, is on the island of Efate. The city is home to the Vanuatu National Museum, which explores the nation’s Melanesian culture
Kiribati, officially the Republic of Kiribati, is an independent island nation in the central Pacific Ocean. The permanent population is just over 110,000, more than half of whom live on Tarawa atoll. The state comprises 32 atolls and one raised coral island, Banaba.
Tajikistan is a country in Central Asia surrounded by Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. It’s known for rugged mountains, popular for hiking and climbing. The Fann Mountains, near the national capital Dushanbe, have snow-capped peaks that rise over 5,000 meters. The range encompasses the Iskanderkulsky Nature Refuge, a notable bird habitat named for Iskanderkul, a turquoise lake formed by glaciers.
Azerbaijan, the nation and former Soviet republic, is bounded by the Caspian Sea and Caucasus Mountains, which span Asia and Europe. Its capital, Baku, is famed for its medieval walled Inner City. Within the Inner City lies the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, a royal retreat dating to the 15th century, and the centuries-old stone Maiden Tower, which dominates the city skyline
Mayotte is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and the coast of Mozambique. It’s a department and region of France, though traditional Mayotte culture is most closely related to that of the neighboring Comoros islands. The Mayotte archipelago is surrounded by a coral barrier reef, which shelters a lagoon and marine reserve that are popular diving destinations
Nauru is a tiny island country in Micronesia, northeast of Australia. It features a coral reef and white-sand beaches fringed with palms, including Anibare Bay on the east coast. Inland, tropical vegetation surrounds Buada Lagoon. The rocky outcrop of Command Ridge, the island’s highest point, has a rusty Japanese outpost from WWII. The underground freshwater lake of Moqua Well lies amid the limestone Moqua Caves
Capital: YarenPresident: Lionel AingimeaContinent: OceaniaPopulation: 12,581 Currency: Australian dollarOfficial languages: Nauruan, EnglishCapital: Andorra la VellaDialing code: +376Currency: EuroContinent: EuropePopulation: 77,142 (2019)
Liechtenstein is a German-speaking, 25km-long principality between Austria and Switzerland. It’s known for its medieval castles, alpine landscapes and villages linked by a network of trails. The capital, Vaduz, a cultural and financial center, is home to Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, with galleries of modern and contemporary art. The Postmuseum displays Liechtenstein’s postage stamps.
Palau is an archipelago of over 500 islands, part of the Micronesia region in the western Pacific Ocean. Koror Island is home to the former capital, also named Koror, and is the islands’ commercial center. The larger Babeldaob has the present capital, Ngerulmud, plus mountains and sandy beaches on its east coast. In its north, ancient basalt monoliths known as Badrulchau lie in grassy fields surrounded by palm trees
South Ossetia, officially the Republic of South Ossetia – the State of Alania, or the Tskhinvali Region, is a de facto state in the South Caucasus recognised by most countries as part of Georgia.
Futuna is an 80 km² island with a population of 3,225 and a maximum elevation of 500 m in the Pacific Ocean, belonging to the French overseas collectivity of Wallis and Futuna. It is one of the Hoorn Islands or Îles Horne, nearby Alofi being the other.