Nowadays, instead of studying atlases, we make use of the internet. Therefore, it should come as absolutely no surprise that there are mountains of errors being made about the basic geography of the world. Below you’ll find 15 common errors that frequently leave geography teachers in tears.
1. Antarctica Has No Time Zone
It’s a common misconception that this frozen continent at the South Pole has no time zones. However, as we know from the science stations that are located in various parts of this massive ice shelf, there are actually nine different time zones in use in Antarctica.
2. Russia and Turkey are the Only Countries on Two Continents
You might believe that Russia and Turkey are the only two countries that lie on two continents, but according to geologists, the Asia-Europe boundary is the Caucasus watershed, which means that the border also cuts through Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan.
3. The Nile is the World’s Longest River
This is what is always stated in Geography books, but if you consider, as many studies indeed do, the tributaries, multiple channels of a river, and cut-offs that eliminate longer river bends, the Amazon beats the Nile by a whisker – 4,345 miles to 4,358.
4. Florida is America’s Southernmost State
The Florida Keys are a picturesque haven for tourists who flock to the southernmost geographical marker in Key West. However, it’s only the southernmost continental point. Hawaii, in fact, reaches down nearly to the 21st latitude, only 1,465 miles from the equator.
5. All 50 States Have Daylight Saving Time
This would be completely wrong. Hawaiians don’t switch their clocks like most of the mainlanders, and Arizona chooses not to recognize DST either.
6. Norway is the Northernmost Country in the World
Sorry to disappoint all Norwegians, but Norway is only the fourth most northern nation. Canada, Greenland, and Russia all reach closer to the North Pole, with Greenland’s Kaffeklubben Island being the world’s most northern piece of land.
7. Alaska Has the Smallest Population of all 50 States
This was true once upon a time, but according to a 2016 census estimate, Wyoming has the fewest residents, with just below 586,000, ranking it number 50 in state populations. Vermont comes next with around 625,000, while Alaska is 48th, having nearly 742,000 residents.
8. The World’s Longest Bridge is the Verrazano Narrows
Maybe it’s just American pride, but this bridge is not even close to being the world’s longest. That honor goes to the Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge in Beijing, China, which stretches a staggering 102.4 miles. In case you’re wondering, the Verrazano is No. 149 on the list.
9. Krakatoa is East of Java
Krakatoa, East of Java is the title of an exciting movie about the 1883 eruption that caused the loudest sound ever heard on earth. The problem is, this volcano is off the west coast of Java. Didn’t anybody bother to check this out before they shot a whole movie about it?
10. Canada is the World’s Largest Country
Not even close, I’m afraid. Russia is a massive 6,602,000 square miles, so big that is has a staggering 10 time zones. Canada is a distant second with 3,885,000 square miles. However, due to its six times zones, there’s a long gap in time between Vancouver in the west and St. John’s in Newfoundland in the east.
11. The Matterhorn is Europe’s Biggest Mountain
Switzerland’s picturesque peak might be the most visually striking mountain in the world, but it’s not even close to being the tallest in Europe. That accolade goes to Russia’s Mt. Elbrus, which rises to 18,510 feet in the Caucasus Mountains near the border with Georgia.
12. Geneva is the Capital of Switzerland
Geneva and Zurich might have reputations as world cultural centers, but the capital city is actually Bern, the country’s fifth largest city. Every international visitor to Bern is given a Toblerone chocolate bar as a welcome gift.
13. Great Britain and the United Kingdom Are the Same
These two terms are certainly not interchangeable. The United Kingdom is a country that includes England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. On the other hand, Great Britain is only part of that, specifically the island that consists of England, Wales, and Scotland.
14. Iceland is Covered with Ice
Despite its name, this small island nation in the North Atlantic is actually fairly mild.. Thanks to the warm North Atlantic Current nearby, the coasts of Iceland remain ice-free all winter. Sure there are glaciers, but there are also geysers and volcanic activity.
15. Lagos is the Capital of Nigeria
This used to be correct, but in 1991 the capital was moved to Abuja. There were two advantages to this move: Abuja is near the center of the country, and it’s the location of Wonderland, one of the country’s first amusement parks.