One question that is likely to crop up on geography papers is: what is the biggest country in the world? Well just in case you are wondering, the answer is Russia!
Russia is the biggest country in the world by land mass and accounts for 11.5% of the world’s total land mass. Russia is also the biggest country in the world by size and it covers a total of 17,098,242 square kilometers.
Although Russia is the biggest country in the world and it spans nine time zones, vast parts of the country are largely inhospitable. If you traveled from the top of Russia, all the way down to the bottom, you would need to pack a large selection of clothing as the climate ranges from frigid cold in the frozen Arctic north to the mild temperate south.
As a result of its vast land mass, Russia is fortunate enough to have the world’s largest wealth of natural mineral and energy resources and the world’s largest forests. The lakes in this huge country also contain one quarter of the world’s supply of fresh water.
Because Russia is so large, it is not a country you can visit and expect to enjoy a whistle stop tour of the main attractions in a day or two. Quite simply, you would spend so much time traveling between destinations that it would end up being a tour of Russian airspace rather than tourist highlights!
Despite its physical size, Russia is sparsely populated and is only ninth on the list of most populous countries in the world. The biggest country in the world in terms of population is the People’s Republic of China, which accounts for nearly 20% of the world’s population. In terms of area, China is the third largest country and is only just behind Canada, although the official figure does take into account the outlying territories, including Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China is the second biggest country in the world by land mass.
With an estimated current population of 1.3 billion people, China’s expanding population has resulted in strict measures by the government to try and curb the growth rate. The one child per family policy is intended to stabilize the population growth by the 21st century, although how effective this is remains to be seen and many families in rural areas simply lie during the census to avoid penalties.
The cultural preference in China for male children has led to an imbalance in the male/female ratio and there are currently as many as 130 boys to 100 girls in some rural parts of China. Official government policies oppose forced sterilization and abortion, but in reality, these practices do occur, particularly in rural areas where local officials face harsh penalties for failing to adhere to the population growth guidelines.
Like Russia, China is too big to take in on one visit. To try and tick everything off on your itinerary during one holiday would be impossible as the country is just too vast and Hong Kong alone would account for one trip. However, if you have the time (and the money!) you will be able to do both of these fascinating countries justice.