The Getaway
Geography Facts That Are Easy to Get Wrong

You may have a hard enough time navigating around your house in the dark, let alone learning which place is where on a map. However, getting your geography facts straight can make it easier for you to see the virtues of traveling and learning about history and culture. Some of the following facts may give you pause for thought.


01 Kansas City is one city

Many people believe that Kansas City is one sole city that borders the Missouri and Kansas state lines. However, Kansas City is a separate municipality in each state. Therefore, there is a Kansas City, Missouri, and a Kansas City, Kansas. It's easy to see why people get muddled about the location of each municipality. For example, the Kansas City Chiefs football team and the Kansas City Royals baseball team hail from Missouri, not Kansas.

"Bloch Fountain in front of Union Station, Kansas City, MO" snipes213 / Getty Images

02 Great Britain and the UK are one and the same

London, United Kingdom Photo by Heidi Fin on Unsplash

Great Britain, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland make up the United Kingdom. Moreover, Great Britain is not another name for England. It is made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and the surrounding islands. Ireland stands alone and outside the UK and Great Britain — just to get everything straight.


03 Holland and the Netherlands refer to one country

Colors from Amsterdam Photo by Samuele Giglio on Unsplash

Many people think that the Netherlands and Holland refer to the same Dutch nation. However, they have been steered off course, as Holland actually refers to the provinces, North Holland and South Holland in the Netherlands. The Netherlands feature 12 provinces overall, with "Holland" technically representing two of them. So, saying Holland is a country is like saying the Canadian province of Quebec is the country of Canada. However, this can also get confusing, as Quebec also represents the capital city of Quebec, which is the largest province in Canada. Quebec City is the oldest Canadian city.


04 The Statue of Liberty Is part of New York City

Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York City, New York, USA Photo by Laurenz Heymann on Unsplash

You can't help but think of the Statue of Liberty when you think of New York City. It has been the city's icon since 1875. So, why is the statue listed on the Register of Historic Places for New Jersey? While the statue's home of Liberty Island is part of New York Harbor, the statue technically is in New Jersey. So, you may include the Statue of Liberty as the sight to see in New York, but it really is a New Jersey attraction.


05 Egypt is solely an African nation

Panoramic view of a resting camel and the pyramids in Giza narvikk / Getty Images

People are wrong if they believe that Egypt solely belongs to the African continent. The Suez Canal changes this assumption, as a small peninsular area in the country extends beyond the canal and reaches into Asia. Therefore, geographically, Egypt is considered trans-continental and part of both Africa and Asia.


06 The Nile is the longest river in the world

Nile River, Aswan, Egypt Photo by Mo Gabrail on Unsplash

Most people you meet will tell you that the Nile River is the longest river in the world. While the river's span of almost 4,123 miles is noteworthy, the tally for the Amazon River comes out to be 4,188 miles. If you have scheduled a trip down the world's longest river on your bucket list, you may need to change your travel plans.


07 Toronto is the capital of Canada

Financial District, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Photo by Arturo Castaneyra on Unsplash

If you live outside of Canada, you may have always believed that Toronto is the country's capital. Toronto is a capital -- of the province of Ontario, just like Lansing is the capital of Michigan in the U.S. The capital of Canada is Ottawa, which lies near Montreal on the Ottawa River.


08 Florida lies the farthest south in the U.S.

Distance sign in the key West's beach cristianl / Getty Images

When tourists visit the Florida Keys, they often believe they have hit the southernmost point in the U.S. However, they have landed in the wrong tropical locale. The state that features the southernmost point and is also the southernmost U.S. state is Hawaii. In fact, Ka Lae, which actually means "the point," in Hawaiian, is the official most-southern point in the U.S. Make it a "point" to remember that.


09 Geneva is the capital of Switzerland

The beautiful city and the lake of Geneva with a boat, fountain, city and mountains in the distance Photo by Lukas Blaskevicius on Unsplash

While Geneva is the place you should go to buy a mechanically intricate timepiece, you need to get a compass if you think Geneva is the capital of Switzerland. Also, Zurich is not Switzerland's capital. The official capital is Bern, although that fact is not recorded on paper. When it comes to that type of proof, Switzerland really does not have a capital.


10 Puerto Rico is a country

Puerto Rican flags hanging from a balcony Photo by Tatiana Rodriguez on Unsplash

Yes, it's true. Puerto Rico has its own culture, and Puerto Ricans mostly speak Spanish. However, Puerto Rico is not an official country geographically. Instead, the island is part of the U.S. and is listed as a U.S. territory -- not a country at all. While you need to have a passport to travel to other Caribbean Islands from the U.S., you don't need the I.D. for Puerto Rico, as it is part of the U.S.


11 Iceland is icy

Lupines in Iceland Photo by Cassie Boca on Unsplash

While the name Iceland may conjure up the idea of cold and ice, that perception is wrong. You will find much colder temperatures in places, such as Alaska or even in northern Ohio in the winter. The average temperature in the southern part of Iceland hovers around 36 degrees Fahrenheit in January and February and levels out at around 57 degrees Fahrenheit in the hottest month of July. The country may be glacial, but it also is volcanic. Iceland features geysers and hot springs because of its volcanic eruptions.


12 Sydney is the capital of Australia

Sydney NSW, Australia Photo by Jamar Cromwell on Unsplash

While world-travelers and the less traveled believe Sydney is the capital of Australia, they are wrong. While Sydney is a well-known Australian city, like Brisbane, it is not the country's capital. To find the capital of Australia, you need to head to Canberra. It is also Australia's largest city inland.


13 Canada is the largest country in the world

Toronto, ON, Canada Photo by Juan Rojas on Unsplash

Some people, especially people in the U.S., think that the country to their north is the largest country worldwide. Canada spans over approximately 3,856,000 square miles, but Russia overrides that amount by a whopping 10 million square miles.


14 Maine is the easternmost state in the USA

Portland Head Lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth, United States Photo by Mercedes Mehling on Unsplash

While you cannot dispute the fact that Maine is indeed in the far eastern area of the U.S., you need to travel to the Aleutian Islands in Alaska to reach the easternmost state. Technically, Maine may be the easternmost state in the contiguous U.S. However, Alaska, more specifically the Aleutian Islands, represents the most eastern point.


15 It's not possible to see Russia from Alaska

Mount Roberts Tramway Jeneau Photo by Peter Scholten on Unsplash

You can actually observe mainland Siberia from certain points in Alaska. For example, you can catch sight of the country from specific locations on Cape Prince of Wales, the westernmost geographical point in North America.


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