100 Amazing World Maps
Forget the boring geography lessons you had in school — these cool maps reveal interesting facts and figures about the world and country you live in.
You'll be surprised to learn the most popular last names in Europe, as well as the most beloved booze in each nation. Do you know where the billionaires of the world live? How about which countries are the happiest, and which are the most corrupt? Have you ever wondered what the world looked like centuries ago?
Check out these amazing world maps for a fun read that will boost your confidence at the next trivia night you attend.
Countries Not Using the Metric System
How many countries do not use the metric system other than the United States? Two!
Myanmar (also known as Burma) and Liberia are the only other countries on Earth that have not officially adopted this system of measurement. Perhaps it's time for these countries to join the rest of the world?
Note: Some of these images contain slightly outdated numbers. Do not use these for your next test without doing your research first!
Countries Britain Has Invaded
Britain has a long history of being one of the strongest nations on the planet — as can be seen through this map showing that nearly 90 percent of the world has been invaded by Britain at some point.
In fact, the "Telegraph" discovered only 22 countries that haven't been touched by Britain.
Europe's Most Popular Last Names
How did the most common last names in Europe come about?
Many surnames stem from a profession. In England, the popular surname Smith is derived from the Old English term meaning "one who works in metal." In Austria, Gruber translates to "miner."
Other names come from a parent's name, such as Ivanov, which translates into "Ivan's" (as in, the child of Ivan), or Dimitrov, which means "son of Dimitar."
Alcohol Consumption Around the World
You're probably not shocked to learn that Ireland, Russia, France and Germany are some of the countries that consume the most alcohol.
But you may be surprised to learn that tiny Belarus consumes the most alcohol of all, with an average of 17.5 liters of pure alcohol consumed per capita every year.
Drink of Choice Around the World
Looks like North and South Americans, as well as Australians, love their beer, while Asia, the Caribbean and Russia dig their spirits.
Rice wine, rum and vodka, perhaps?
Who Spends the Most on Booze
Rivers Flowing Into the Mississippi River
You may have heard that the Mississippi River is mighty, but if you ever doubted it, just take a look at this.
You'll see that an extraordinary number of the United States' rivers and tributaries send water into the Mighty Miss.
Coffee Consumption Around the World
Can't live without your cuppa Joe in the morning? Looks like you're not the only one!
In some countries, such as those in (colder) Scandinavia, each person is drinking up to 26 pounds of coffee per year.
Historic and Present Distribution of Lions
Once upon a time, lions really did rule over Africa.
This shows where the once-mighty felines existed in Africa and Asia, and how few areas they remain in today.
Predominant U.S. Ancestry
Who knew German ancestry was so prominent in the United States?
How Many Hours Americans Need to Work to Pay Their Mortgage
Just how long do you have to work each month to afford your mortgage payment? Are you within your state's median range?
The Highest-Paid Job in Every State
Where are the journalists? We may be considering a career change after checking out these salary differences!
The World's Billionaires
There are a lot more billionaires out there than you may have realized — 585 in the U.S. alone.
The richest region? Asia-Pacific, home to nearly 38 percent of those in the billionaires club.
Where Tourists Spend the Most Money
If you want to know where to travel that is off-the-beaten-path, use this guide to check out tourism expenditures. Forget Spain ($68 billion) or France ($61 billion) and head to Montenegro ($1 billion) or Cyprus ($3 billion) instead.
The Best (and Worst) Places for Millennials to Make a Living
If you're a millennial and you aren't making what your peers are earning, it may be time to ask for a raise. Or, consider relocating to Minnesota, North Dakota or Massachusetts!
Least and Most Peaceful Countries in the World
You may want to stay away from the most conflict-ridden countries in the world, and take a look at safe alternatives instead.
Hazardous Wastes by Country
Tsk, tsk, Russia. Looks like you have the monopoly on hazardous materials.
Most Popular Messaging App in Every Country
Which is your favorite free messaging app? (If you are using these when you're on the road, you may be spending too much on phone service!)
Civilian Gun Ownership
Who's packing the most heat? Surprise! It's the U.S. (Ok, we aren't actually surprised.)
In fact, get this: Americans own nearly half of all civilian-owned guns worldwide.
The Most Energy Used in the U.S.
Who is sucking up the most energy? Big cities, obviously.
The Wealthiest Nations
Which countries are doing well for themselves? Winners include Japan (where automobile-manufacturing and electronic-goods industries rake in the money), Iceland (where tourism and fishing reign supreme) and Australia (home to a booming minerals industry).
Christianity has the strongest hold across the world. Just how strong? More than 2.2 billion people worldwide are Christians, representing nearly a third of the entire global population.
Islam, the second-most-dominant religion, has 1.8 billion adherents.
The Most Corrupt Nations
Aww, isn't that nice? Denmark is viewed as the least corrupt nation.
Globally speaking, though, it's not a pretty picture: More than two-thirds of countries score below 50 on the scale going from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
IQs in Europe
The European Union is filled with smarty pants. And the smartiest smarty pants, it appears, can be found in Finland, Estonia, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Europe's Most Populous Cities
All but three countries' most populous cities are the capitals.
Interestingly, the most populous city in all of Europe, Istanbul (with 15.1 million residents), is not the capital of Turkey. That would be Ankara, which has about 5.5 million residents.
U.S. Gender Pay Gap
Yes, you're reading that right: In Utah and Louisiana, women make just about 70 percent of what men do. Yikes!
Even the states with the narrowest gap, New York and California, should be doing better, in our humble opinion.
Federal Aid Granted to U.S. States
States receiving the most aid are those impacted by hurricanes, wildfires, blizzards and floods.
U.S. Nuclear Reactors
Across the U.S., 98 nuclear reactors power tens of millions of homes. Who knew so many were concentrated on the East Coast?
The World's Happiest People
It makes us smile to see a hemisphere filled with happiness!
Also, is anyone surprised that famously cordial Canada, free-spirited Australia and peaceful Scandinavia have some of the happiest locals on earth?
U.S. Minimum Wage
It's nice to know some states kept their word to raise the minimum wage by 2019.
The city with the current highest minimum wage is Emeryville, California, just outside San Francisco, where the rate is $15.69/hour.
The Best Cities for Working Mothers in the U.S.
This map factored in salary, comprehensive benefits, safe neighborhoods, good schools, decent medical care and more to determine the best places for working mothers. The northeast looks like the best place to be!
Cartoon Map of Europe, 1914
At the dawn of World War I, this map cartoonishly depicted how Germans perceived geopolitical threats. Russia was, clearly, of particular concern.
The U.S. Opioid Crisis
Opioid addiction is growing rapidly in the U.S. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse noted that overdoses increased 30 percent in 52 areas across 45 states between July 2016 and September 2017.
As of January 2019, it was estimated that more than 130 people in the United States were dying every day from an opioid overdose.
The World's Lactose Intolerance
On a lighter note...We truly are heartbroken by those countries where many locals cannot enjoy cheese.
2016 Presidential Election Votes
The red is for President Donald Trump and the blue is for Hillary Clinton, in case that wasn't already obvious.
Trump received 304 electoral votes to Clinton's 227. Yet because of how densely populated many of the blue areas are, Hillary still won the popular vote, with 65.8 million votes vs. Trump's 63 million.
Now before you go thinking a country is cheap, remember that they may pay higher wages so employees don't need tips to make a living. (Unlike in America, which needs to get with the program.)
This map illustrates the refugees admitted into the U.S. in 2017, many of whom came from Syria. In 2017, one of the worst chemical attacks in history took place in Syria, claiming more than 39,000 lives.
The United Nations estimated that 13.5 million Syrians became refugees that year, in need of humanitarian assistance.
World Map, 1595
This map dates all the way back to 1595, when King Philip II of Spain, ruled much of the world.
The quote at the bottom translates to, "For what human affairs can seem important to a man who keeps all eternity before his eyes and knows the vastness of the universe?"
World Map, 1700
In case you were wondering how much things have changed over the centuries, this map proves that the answer is...a lot.
This is when the Mughal Empire in India was at its height, and the Safavid and Qing empires also enjoyed significant power.
Cold War Map, 1962
In 1962, in the throes of the Cold War, Warsaw Pact countries (including the Soviet Union, Hungary, Poland and East Germany) were battling NATO countries (including the U.S., Canada, France and West Germany).
Computers Across the World
The world is not as tech-savvy as you may have thought.
The country with the most personal computers per capita is Switzerland (65), followed by the United States (57).
Water Consumption Around the World
You may be surprised to learn the volume of water needed for the production of essential goods and services. This map brings the problem of water scarcity into sharp focus.
Grapes Yielded by Country
Where, oh where, does your favorite wine get its grapes from?
Most Photographed Places in the World
This heat map shows (surprise!) people loving taking photos of gorgeous Europe.
What Antartica Looks Like Beneath the Ice
Yes, Virginia, there is stuff to be found beneath all the ice on the south pole, including lakes and mountains!
World's Freedom of the Press (Or Not)
Fake news or not, this map reflects where the press has freedom to report the news — and where they can be jailed if they try.
As the sea of red here shows, in most countries, people drive on the right side of the road (red=right side; blue=left side).
But who's actually right? Those who drive on the left?
European Hand-Washing Routines
The low number of people who hand-wash in Italy may make you slightly more concerned about dining out. Thank goodness the food is so good!
How Much Americans Need to Retire By 35
If you want to retire by the time you are 35, you'll need at least $1.5 million. And in California, you'll need $2.37 million!
How Much Americans Need to Retire By 55
What if you want to retire by the more reasonable age of 55? You'll still need about $1.4 million, minimum.
Putting the World's Population Into Perspective
Seeing this makes us think we should stop complaining about our daily commute. Could be much, much worse!
World Maternity Leave Policies
Really, America? The USA is one of only eight countries without any mandatory paid leave for new moms.
When Countries Were Introduced to TV
Liechtenstein and Papua New Guinea didn't get TV until 2008 — 80 years after the first country with TVs, the United States, did.
Craft Breweries in the U.S.
Think craft breweries have been popping up all around your state? You're right, especially if you live in the western part of the country.
Europe During Medieval Times
Just how was Europe positioned during medieval times? Charlemagne ruled most of France, Germany, Austria, Italy and the Balkan Peninsula at the time of his death in 814.
The Middle Ages also brought about invasions from the Vikings of the north, between the 8th and 11th centuries.
NFL Fans, 2013
America loves its football, and from this map it looks like Denver Broncos fans have the biggest hold.
Eisenhower's Interstate System
When President Dwight D. Eisenhower created the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, he established the United States' Interstate System — more than 46,000 miles of roadways that cost $129 million.
Student Loan Debt in America
Student loan debt across America totals upwards of $1.5 trillion — three times more than a decade ago.
Every Pub in the U.K.
You knew pubs were popular in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but did you know they were this popular? This map cannot even begin to show each and every one of the pubs, because there are more than 48,000!
The U.S.' Google Searches of European Countries
When Americans Google European nations, the top searches translate into the No. 1 autocomplete on the search engine. Many searches are about World War One and the European Union. One notable and hilarious exception? Norway, where most people are interested in learning about the penguin the country knighted.
America's State Flags
Most of the flags are red, white and blue! Which one's your favorite?
Trans-African Highway Network Map
Ever wonder how you could drive around Africa? These are the highways that stretch through various countries.
Europe's High-Speed Trains
You don't need highways to visit multiple European countries — just take one of the many high-speed trains that connect the continent.
Languages Spoken in China
Did you really think a country stretching more than 3.7 million square miles and filled with nearly 1.4 billion people only spoke one language?
Formula One Race Countries
Every country highlighted in green is scheduled to host a Grand Prix in 2019; the black dot shows where. Looks like a lot of places love a good race!
The World's Democracy
The Economist Intelligence Unit reviewed factors related to pluralism, civil liberties and political culture to determine if a country is a full democracy, flawed democracy, hybrid regime or authoritarian regime. Of the 167 nations assessed, those that scored the highest in democracy include Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. (The map moves from red, meaning less democratic, to green, meaning most democratic.)
The Roman Empire at Its Peak
By 117 AD, the Roman Empire spanned across most of today's Europe, as well as northern Africa, the Balkans and some of the Middle East. By 476 AD, the Roman Empire had collapsed.
American Territories Acquired By Presidents
Once the United States became a country and signed a treaty with the French in 1783, the rest of the nation was up for grabs. Presidents Jefferson and Polk snatched up the most land.
How to Say 'Thank You' in Europe
Keep this handy for your next trip so you know how to express your gratitude.
Jeans Colors in U.S. States
Which color do you prefer?
Where Fictional Characters Are From in the U.S.
Can you spot the star who makes an appearance twice on this map of iconic characters from states across the U.S.?
Map of Every European City
Raise your hand if you see the truth in this cartoon!
U.S. Droughts, July 30, 2019
The places in yellow could use some rain this summer, as they are considered "Abnormally Dry." The darker the color, the more serious the drought.
Where Girls Are Less Educated Than Boys
There are countries in Africa and Asia that make it illegal for girls to continue education. Around the world, 15 million girls will never go to school, and another 130 million are out of school between the ages of 6 and 17, according to UNESCO.
U.S. States With Classes of Less Commonly Taught Languages
Besides the biggies like Spanish, German and French, some schools are teaching more inclusive languages like Turkish, Hindi, Russian and Arabic. California has the largest number of schools teaching less-common foreign languages.
Where Parrots Live
The countries with the most parrots are Colombia (1,878), Peru (1,858), Brazil (1,813), Indonesia (1,711) and Ecuador (1,622), according to Mongabay.
North America's Forests
In the United States alone, there are 300 billion trees, says the Forest Inventory and Analysis Program of the U.S. Forest Service.
How Long It Takes to Earn $1 in Asia
It takes more than an hour to make one dollar in Yemen, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia. It takes nearly two hours in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Astonishingly, it takes more than three hours in Afghanistan.
Bike Lanes in Europe
There are 22.5 bicycles in the Netherlands — that's 1.3 per person!
Denmark comes in second for most bikes, with 0.8 per person.
Countries with Starbucks
Considering Brazil, Mexico, Peru and India are some of the world's top producers of coffee, we are, frankly, surprised they serve Starbucks.
The Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire surrounded the Mediterranean Sea, with its capital Constantinople (now Istanbul) ruling the roost from 330-1204 and 1261-1453. The city was considered "the new Rome" until the Turks took control during the Ottoman Empire.
Bigfoot Sightings in North America
The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization keeps a geographical database of Bigfoot/Sasquatch sightings — it seems Washington state is the most likely home base for the hairy man.
Capital Punishment Across the World
Fifty-five countries in the world, highlighted in red, continue to practice capital punishment, including the United States. The rest are completely absolutionist, absolutionist-in-practice (they haven't executed anyone in over 14 years) or abolitionist-in-law for all crimes except those committed under exceptional circumstances (like those committed in wartime).
World Map of Last Executions (and the Methods)
Belarus is the only European country where the death penalty is still used.
Map of Colonization, 1885
As is well-documented in history books and vividly shown here, the UK has been a major force of colonization.
Major World Powers, 1945
Through 1945, the UK (and related British Dominions) continued to dominate, making moves across Africa in particular.
The World's Oil Resources
The United States and Russia are two of the world's top producers of oil. Yet gas prices are still high?
Map of Cigarettes Smoked Across Europe
Europeans are known to like smoking, and there's some truth to this notion: 28 percent of Europeans light up, compared to 19 percent of Americans. But Americans actually smoke more cigarettes — the average person in the U.S. smokes 15.1 cigarettes per day, vs. 14.2 for people in the EU.
The World's Gold
There is gold in them thar hills, especially in America, Australia, South America, China and Peru.
How Often Europeans Speak English
Of course, the UK speaks English the most — English is the official language!
Each State's Most Impactful Invention
What is your home state known for?
Map of Speed Limits
Germany is the only country without speed limits, perfect for those with lead feet!
The countries in green (42 total) are landlocked. The two countries in purple are doubly landlocked, meaning they are landlocked by other landlocked nations: Liechtenstein in Europe is surrounded by the landlocked Switzerland and Austria, while Uzbekistan in Asia is surrounded by the landlocked Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
Map Showing Your Risk of Contracting Rabies
Your only chance of staying rabies-free is by heading to Japan, New Zealand and islands in the Pacific.
Countries with Nuclear Weapons
Under the terms of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), five countries are considered official nuclear-weapon states: the United States, Russia (the successor state to the Soviet Union), the United Kingdom, France and China. But a handful of other countries, most notably North Korea and Iran, are involved or suspected to be involved in producing nuclear weapons as well.
Africa's Diamond Producers
The African Diamond Producers Association works to bolster the influence of African diamond-producing countries in the world diamond market. Here, members are shown in dark blue and observers in light blue.
Wikipedia Contributors Around the World
By a long shot, Africa has the fewest Wikipedia contributors per capita of any region. This makes sense considering that, as of 2016, just a quarter of the African population had access to the internet.