Argentina is a South American country, constituted as a federation of twenty-three provinces and an autonomous city. It is second in size on the South American continent to Brazil and eighth in the world. Argentina occupies a continental surface area of 2,766,890 km² (1,068,302 sq mi) between the Andes mountain range in the west and the southern Atlantic Ocean in the east and south. It is bordered by Paraguay and Bolivia in the north, Brazil and Uruguay in the northeast, and Chile in the west and south. The country claims the British-administered overseas territories of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Argentina also claims 969,464 km² (374,312 sq mi) of Antarctica, known as Argentine Antarctica, overlapping other claims made by Chile and the United Kingdom (British Antarctic Territory).
Argentina has the highest Human Development Index level and the second highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in purchasing power parity in Latin America and its total national GDP is the 23rd largest in the world. The country is currently classified as an Upper-Middle Income Country or as a secondary emerging market by the World Bank. Argentina's nominal GDP makes it the 31st largest economy in the world.
Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country that is located approximately in the center of Asia. It is variously designated as geographically located within Central Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East. It has religious, ethno-linguistic, and geographic links with most of its neighboring states. It is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far northeast. The name Afghanistan means the "Land of Afghans."
Afghanistan is a culturally mixed nation, a crossroads between the East and the West, and has been an ancient focal point of trade and migration. It has an important geostrategical location, connecting South, Central and Southwest Asia. During its long history, the land has seen various invaders and conquerors, while on the other hand, local entities invaded the surrounding vast regions to form their own empires. Ahmad Shah Durrani created the Durrani Empire in 1747, with its capital at Kandahar. Subsequently, the capital was shifted to Kabul and most of its territories ceded to former neighboring countries. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in "The Great Game" played between the British Indian Empire and Russian Empire. On August 19, 1919, following the third Anglo-Afghan war, the country regained full independence from the United Kingdom over its foreign affairs.
Since the late 1970s Afghanistan has suffered continuous and brutal civil war, which included foreign interventions in the form of the 1979 Soviet invasion and the recent 2001 US-led invasion that toppled the Taliban government. In late 2001 the United Nations Security Council authorized the creation of an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). This force is composed of NATO troops that are involved in assisting the government of President Hamid Karzai in establishing the writ of law as well as rebuilding key infrastructures in the nation. In 2005, the United States and Afghanistan signed a strategic partnership agreement committing both nations to a long-term relationship. In the meantime, multi-billion US dollars have also been provided by the international community for the reconstruction of the country.
Albania, officially the Republic of Albania is a country in South Eastern Europe. Albania is bordered by Greece to the south-east, Montenegro to the north, partially-recognized Kosovo to the northeast, and the Republic of Macedonia to the east. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the west, and on the Ionian Sea to the southwest. It is less than 72 km (45 miles) from Italy, across the Strait of Otranto which links the Adriatic Sea to the Ionian Sea.
The country is a member of the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Council of Europe, and World Trade Organisation. It is also a potential candidate for membership in the European Union and received a NATO membership invitation on 3 April 2008.
Albania is a parliamentary democracy that is transforming its economy into a market-oriented system. The Albanian capital, Tirana, is home to 350,000 of the country's 3.6 million population. As a result of the opening of the country in the post-communist era, Albania is now undergoing a development boom as its telecommunications, transport and utilities infrastructure is being revamped.
Última edição por guidoes; 01-06-2008 às 14:58.
Algeria, officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a nation in North Africa. It is the second largest country on the African continent and the 11th largest country in the world in terms of total area. It is bordered by Tunisia in the northeast, Libya in the east, Niger in the southeast, Mali and Mauritania in the southwest, a few kilometers of the Western Sahara in the west, Morocco in the northwest, and the Mediterranean Sea in the north.
Algeria is a member of the United Nations, African Union, Arab League, and OPEC. It also contributed towards the creation of the Arab Maghreb Union. Constitutionally, Algeria is defined as an Islamic, Arab, and Amazigh (Berber) country.
American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of the sovereign state of Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa. The main (largest and most populous) island is Tutuila, with the Manuʻa Islands, Rose Atoll, and Swains Island also included in the territory. American Samoa is part of the Samoan Islands chain, located west of the Cook Islands, north of Tonga, and some 300 miles (500 km) south of Tokelau. To the west are the islands of the Wallis and Futuna group. The 2000 census showed a total population of 57,291. The total land area is 200.22 km² (77.305 sq mi).
Andorra, officially the Principality of Andorra, is a small landlocked country in western Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. Once isolated, it is currently a prosperous country mainly because of tourism and its status as a tax haven. The people of Andorra are currently listed as having the highest human life expectancies on Earth, at an average of 83.5 years at birth (2007 est).
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola (Portuguese: República de Angola, pronounced IPA: [ʁɛ'publikɐ dɨ ɐ̃'gɔlɐ] Kongo: Repubilika ya Ngola), is a country in south-central Africa bordering Namibia to the south, Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, and Zambia to the east, and with a west coast along the Atlantic Ocean. The exclave province Cabinda has a border with the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Angola is a former Portuguese colony and has considerable natural resources, most notably petroleum and diamonds.
Anguilla is a British overseas territory in the Caribbean, one of the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. It consists of the main island of Anguilla itself, approximately 26 km (16 miles) long by 5 km (3 miles) wide at its widest point, together with a number of much smaller islands and cays with no permanent population. The island's capital is The Valley. The total land area of the territory is 102 km² (39.4 square miles), with a population of approximately 13,500 (2006 estimate).
The Commonwealth of The Bahamas is an independent sovereign nation, English-speaking country consisting of two thousand cays and seven hundred islands that form an archipelago. It is located in the Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida and the United States, north of Cuba, the island of Hispanola and the Caribbean, and northwest of the British overseas territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The Kingdom of Bahrain is a island country in the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia lies to the west and is connected to Bahrain by the King Fahd Causeway (officially opened on November 25, 1986), and Qatar is to the south across the Gulf of Bahrain. The Qatar–Bahrain Friendship Bridge being planned will link Bahrain to Qatar as the longest fixed link in the world.
Bangladesh, officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a country in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south. Together with the Indian state of West Bengal, it makes up the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal. The name Bangladesh means "Country of Bengal" in the official Bengali language.
The borders of present-day Bangladesh were established with the partition of Bengal and India in 1947, when the region became the eastern wing of the newly-formed Pakistan. However, it was separated from the western wing by 1,600 kilometres (1,000 mi) across India. Political and linguistic discrimination as well as economic neglect led to popular agitations against West Pakistan, which led to the war for independence in 1971 and the establishment of Bangladesh. However, the new state had to endure famines, natural disasters and widespread poverty, as well as political turmoil and military coups. The restoration of democracy in 1991 has been followed by relative stability and economic progress.
Bangladesh is among the most densely populated countries in the world and has a high poverty rate. Geographically the country straddles the fertile Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta and is subject to annual monsoon floods and cyclones. The government is a parliamentary democracy; however, civilian rule has been suspended under emergency law since 11 January 2007. Bangladesh is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, SAARC, BIMSTEC, the OIC, and the D-8. As the World Bank notes in its July 2005 Country Brief, the country has made significant progress in human development in the areas of literacy, gender parity in schooling and reduction of population growth.
Barbados, situated just east of the Caribbean Sea, is an independent island nation in the western Atlantic Ocean. At roughly 13° North of the equator and 59° West of the prime meridian, the country lies in the southern Caribbean region, where it is considered a part of the Lesser Antilles. Its closest island neighbours are Saint Vincent & the Grenadines and Saint Lucia to the west. To the south lies Trinidad and Tobago—with which Barbados now shares a fixed official maritime boundary—and also the South American mainland. Barbados's total land area is about 430 square kilometres (166 square miles), and is primarily low-lying, with some higher regions in the country's interior. The highest point in Barbados is Mount Hillaby in the parish of Saint Andrew. The geological composition of Barbados is thought to be of non-volcanic origin and is predominantly composed of limestone-coral formed by subduction of the South American plate colliding with the Caribbean plate. The island's climate is tropical, with constant trade winds off the Atlantic Ocean serving to keep temperatures mild. Some less developed areas of the country contain tropical woodland and mangroves. Other parts of the interior which contribute to the agriculture industry are dotted with large sugarcane estates and wide, gently sloping pastures, with panoramic views down to the coast.
Barbados's human development index ranking is consistently among the top 50 in the world. For example, in 2006, it was ranked 31st in the world, and third in the Americas, behind Canada and the United States.
Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, that Russia borders to the north and east, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the north. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno, Gomel, Mogilev and Vitebsk. A third of the country is forested, and agriculture and manufacturing are its strongest economic sectors.
Until the 20th century, the Belarusians lacked the opportunity to evolve a distinctive national identity, since the lands of modern-day Belarus belonged to several countries, including the Duchy of Polatsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire. After the short-lived Belarusian People's Republic (1918–19), Belarus became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Byelorussian SSR.
The final unification of Belarusian lands within its modern borders took place in 1939, when the ethnically Belarusian lands that were part of interwar Poland were annexed by the USSR and attached to the Soviet Belarus. The territory and its nation were devastated in World War II, during which Belarus lost about a quarter of its population and more than half of its economic resources; the republic recovered in the post-war years and became one of the founding members of the United Nations. The parliament of the republic declared the sovereignty of Belarus on July 27, 1990, and following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared independence on August 25, 1991. Alexander Lukashenko has been the country's president since 1994. During his presidency, Lukashenko has implemented Soviet-era policies, such as state ownership of the economy, despite objections from Western governments. Since 1996, Belarus has been negotiating with Russia to unify into a single state called the Union of Russia and Belarus.
Most of Belarus's population of 9.85 million reside in the urban areas surrounding Minsk and other oblast (regional) capitals. More than 80% of the population are native Belarusians, with sizable minorities of Russians, Ukrainians and Poles. Since a referendum in 1995, the country has had two official languages: Belarusian and Russian. The Constitution of Belarus does not declare an official religion, although the primary religion in the country is Russian Orthodox.
The Kingdom of Belgium is a country in northwest Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts its headquarters, as well as those of other major international organizations, including NATOBelgium covers an area of 30,528 square kilometers (11,787 square miles) and has a population of about 10.5 million.
Straddling the cultural boundary between Germanic and Latin Europe, Belgium's two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north, with 58% of the population, and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia, inhabited by 32%. The Brussels-Capital Region, although officially bilingual, is a mostly French-speaking enclave within the Flemish Region and near the Walloon Region, and has 10% of the population.A small German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political and cultural conflicts are reflected in the political history and a complex system of government.
The name 'Belgium' is derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northernmost part of Gaul that was inhabited by the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples. Historically, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were known as the Low Countries, which used to cover a somewhat larger area than the current Benelux group of states. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, it was a prosperous centre of commerce and culture. From the 16th century until the Belgian revolution in 1830, many battles between European powers were fought in the area of Belgium, causing it to be dubbed "the battlefield of Europe" and "the cockpit of Europe" — a reputation strengthened by both World Wars. Upon its independence, Belgium eagerly participated in the Industrial Revolution generating wealth and also a demand for raw materials; the latter was a factor during the era of its African colonies.
Belgium shares borders with France (620 km), Germany (167 km), Luxembourg (148 km) and the Netherlands (450 km). Its total area, including surface water area, is 33,990 square kilometres; land area alone is 30,528 km². Belgium has three main geographical regions: the coastal plain in the north-west and the central plateau both belong to the Anglo-Belgian Basin; the Ardennes uplands in the south-east are part of the Hercynian orogenic belt. The Paris Basin reaches a small fourth area at Belgium's southernmost tip, Belgian Lorraine
he coastal plain consists mainly of sand dunes and polders. Further inland lies a smooth, slowly rising landscape irrigated by numerous waterways, with fertile valleys and the northeastern sandy plain of the Campine (Kempen). The thickly forested hills and plateaus of the Ardennes are more rugged and rocky with caves and small gorges, and offer much of Belgium's wildlife but little agricultural capability. Extending westward into France, this area is eastwardly connected to the Eifel in Germany by the High Fens plateau, on which the Signal de Botrange forms the country's highest point at 694 metres (2,277 ft).
The climate is maritime temperate, with significant precipitation in all seasons (Köppen climate classification: Cfb). The average temperature is lowest in January at 3 °C (37 °F), and highest in July at 18 °C (64 °F). The average precipitation per month varies between 54 millimetres (2.1 in) in February or April, to 78 millimetres (3.1 in) in July. Averages for the years 2000 to 2006 show daily temperature minimums of 7 °C (45 °F) and maximums of 14 °C (57 °F), and monthly rainfall of 74 millimetres (2.9 in); these are about 1 degree Celsius and nearly 10 millimetres above last century's normal values, respectively.
Phytogeographically, Belgium is shared between the Atlantic European and Central European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the WWF, the territory of Belgium belongs to the ecoregion of Atlantic mixed forests.
Because of its high population density, location in the centre of Western Europe, and inadequate political effort, Belgium faces serious environmental problems. A 2003 report suggested Belgian rivers to have the lowest water quality of the 122 countries studied. In the 2006 pilot Environmental Performance Index, Belgium scored 75.9% for overall environmental performance and was ranked lowest of the EU member countries , though it was only 39th of 133 countries.
Steelmaking along the Meuse River at Ougrée, near Liège
Belize (pronounced /bəˈliːz/) is a country in Central America and is the only Central American country where English is an official language. Belize has a diverse society, composed of many languages and cultures. The Belizean territory was once part of the Mayan and Spanish empires before becoming a British colony and for more than a century until 1973, the colonial territory was known as British Honduras. The country became an independent nation in 1981. Belize is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Sistema de Integración Centroamericana (SICA), and the Commonwealth of Nations. With 8,867 square miles (22,960 km²) of territory and 297,651 people (Belize CSO, 2007 mid-year estimate), the population density is the lowest in the Central American region and one of the lowest in the world. The country's growth rate is 3.5% (2006 estimate). It is bordered to the south and west by Guatemala, to the north and northwest by Mexico, and to the east by the Caribbean Sea.
The origin of the name Belize is unclear, but one idea is that the name is from the Maya word belix, meaning "muddy water," applied to the Belize River. Before the arrival of Europeans, Belize was part of the territory of the Maya. The Mopan Maya were the original inhabitants of Belize. The Maya civilization spread itself over Belize beginning around 1500 BC and flourished until about AD 900. In the late classic period of Maya civilization (before ad 1000), as many as 400,000 people may have lived in the area that is now Belize. Some lowland Maya still occupied the area when Europeans arrived in the 1500s. Spanish colonists tried to settle the inland areas of Belize, but they abandoned these efforts following Maya rebellion against Spanish authority.
English buccaneers first settled on the coast of Belize in 1638, seeking a sheltered region from which they could attack Spanish ships. The settlers turned to cutting logwood during the 1700s. The wood yielded a fixing agent for clothing dyes that was vital to the European woolen industry. The Spanish granted the British settlers the right to occupy the area and cut logwood in exchange for an end to piracy. Historical accounts from the early 1700s note that Africans were brought to the settlement from Jamaica to work as slaves and cut timber. As early as 1800 Africans outnumbered Europeans by about four to one. By then the settlement’s primary export had shifted from logwood to mahogany.
For fear of provoking Spanish attack, the British government did not initially recognize the settlement in Belize as a colony. It allowed the settlers to establish their own laws and forms of government. During this time a few wealthy settlers gained control of the local legislature, known as the Public Meeting, as well as of most of the settlement’s land and timber. The British first appointed a superintendent over the area in 1786.
The Spanish, who claimed sovereignty over the whole of Central America, tried often to gain control by force over Belize, but they were not successful. Spain’s last attack ended on September 10, 1798, when the people of Belize decisively defeated a Spanish fleet at the Battle of St. George’s Cay. The anniversary of the battle is now a national holiday in Belize.
In the early 1800s the British sought greater control over the settlers, threatening to suspend the Public Meeting unless it observed the government’s instructions to abolish slavery. Slavery was abolished in the British Empire in 1838, but this did little to change working conditions for laborers in the Belize settlement. Because a small elite controlled the settlement’s land and commerce, former slaves had no choice but to continue to work in timber cutting.
In 1836, after the emancipation of Central America from Spanish rule, the British claimed the right to administer the region. In 1862 Great Britain formally declared it a British colony, subordinate to Jamaica, and named it British Honduras. As a colony Belize began to attract British investors. Among the British firms that dominated the colony in the late 1800s was the Belize Estate and Produce Company, which eventually acquired half of all the privately held land in the colony. Belize Estate’s influence accounts in part for the colony’s reliance on the mahogany trade throughout the rest of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.
The Great Depression of the 1930s caused a near-collapse of the colonial economy as British demand for timber plummeted. The effects of widespread unemployment were worsened by a devastating hurricane that struck the colony in 1931. Perceptions of the government’s relief effort as inadequate were aggravated by its refusal to legalize labor unions or introduce a minimum wage. Demonstrations and riots in 1934 marked the beginning of an independence movement. In response, the government repealed criminal penalties for workers who broke their labor contracts and granted workers the right to join unions.
Economic conditions improved during World War II (1939-1945), when many Belizean men entered the armed forces or otherwise contributed labor to the war effort. Following the war the colony’s economy again stagnated. Britain’s decision to devalue the British Honduras dollar in 1949 worsened economic conditions and led to the creation of the People’s Committee, which demanded independence. The People’s Committee’s successor, the People’s United Party (PUP), sought constitutional reforms that would expand voting rights to all adults.
Constitutional reforms were initiated in 1954 and resulted in a new constitution ten years later. Britain granted British Honduras self-government in 1964, and the head of the PUP—independence leader George Price—became the colony’s prime minister. British Honduras was officially renamed Belize in 1973. Progress toward independence, however, was hampered by an old Guatemalan claim to sovereignty over the territory of Belize. When Belize finally attained full independence on September 21, 1981, Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation. About 1,500 British troops remained to protect Belize from the Guatemalan threat.
With Price at the helm, the PUP won all elections until 1984. In that election, first national election after independence, the PUP was defeated by the United Democratic Party (UDP), and UDP leader Manuel Esquivel replaced Price as prime minister. Price returned to power after elections in 1989. Guatemala’s president formally recognized Belize’s independence in 1992. The following year the United Kingdom announced that it would end its military involvement in Belize. All British soldiers were withdrawn in 1994, apart from a small contingent of troops who remained to train Belizean troops.
The UDP regained power in the 1993 national election, and Esquivel became prime minister for a second time. Soon afterward Esquivel announced the suspension of a pact reached with Guatemala during Price’s tenure, claiming Price had made too many concessions in order to gain Guatemalan recognition. The pact would have resolved a 130-year-old border dispute between the two countries. Border tensions continued into the early 2000s, although the two countries cooperated in other areas.
The PUP won a landslide victory in the 1998 national elections, and PUP leader Said Musa was sworn in as prime minister. In the 2003 elections the PUP maintained its majority, and Musa continued as prime minister. He pledged to improve conditions in the underdeveloped and largely inaccessible southern part of Belize.
Throughout Belize's history, Guatemala has claimed ownership of all or part of the territory. This claim is occasionally reflected in maps showing Belize as Guatemala's twenty-third province. As of March 2007, the border dispute with Guatemala remains unresolved and quite contentious; at various times the issue has required mediation by the United Kingdom, Caribbean Community heads of Government, the Organisation of American States, and the United States. Since independence, a British garrison has been retained in Belize at the request of the Belizean government. Notably, both Guatemala and Belize are participating in the confidence-building measures approved by the OAS, including the Guatemala-Belize Language Exchange Project.
In 2005, Belize was the site of unrest caused by discontent with the People's United Party government, including tax increases in the national budget. On February 8, 2008, Dean Barrow was sworn in as Belize's first black prime minister.
Caana, a Mayan pyramid at Caracol, Cayo District.
Belize is divided into 6 districts:
1. Belize District
2. Cayo District
3. Corozal District
4. Orange Walk District
5. Stann Creek District
6. Toledo District
These districts are further divided into 31 constituencies.
Benin (IPA: /bə'nɪn/), officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in Western Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north; its short coastline to the south leads to the Bight of Benin. Its capital is Porto Novo, but the seat of government is Cotonou. Benin was known as Dahomey until 1975
The name "Benin" has no proper connection to Kingdom of Benin (or Benin City). The name Dahomey was changed in 1975 to The People's Republic of Benin, named after the body of water on which the country lies, the Bight of Benin. This name was picked due to its neutrality, since the current political boundaries of Benin encompass over fifty distinct linguistic groups and nearly as many individual ethnic groups. The name Dahomey was the name of the ancient Fon Kingdom, and was determined to be an inappropriate name.
Stretched between the Niger River in the northeast and the Bight of Benin in the south, Benin's elevation is about the same for the entire country. Most of the population lives in the southern coastal plains, where Benin's largest cities are also located, including Porto Novo and Cotonou. The north of the country consists mostly of savanna and semi-arid highlands.
Running southernly, down the middle of the country is the Oueme River.
The climate in Benin is hot and humid with relatively little rain compared to other West African countries, although there are two rainy seasons (April-July and September-November). In the winter the dust winds of the harmattan can make the nights rather cold.
The largest city and commercial capital is Cotonou. The name Cotonou is from the Fon phrase ku tɔ nu 'at the lake of the dead', from the adjacent lagoon. This is a reference to the belief that falling stars represent the souls of those who have just died falling to the underworld. It is said that when Cotonou was founded, the lights of the lacustrine village of Ganvié across the lagoon were reflected in the waters, suggesting fallen stars at the bottom. Ganvié is a fishing village sitting in the water on stilts at the western shore of the lagoon.
The town of Ouidah is the spiritual capital of Vodun, and is known locally as Glexwe. It was a major slaving port under Portuguese occupation. The town of Abomey is the old capital of the Fon kingdom of Dahomey, and the Fon king continues to reside there.
In Atakora province, Betamaribe settlements straddling the Togolese border are called tata somba 'Somba houses'; they are famous for their fortifications, with livestock housed inside and the people sleeping in huts among the granaries on the roofs.
Bermuda (officially, The Bermuda Islands or The Somers Isles) is a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. Located off the east coast of the United States, it is situated around 1770 km (1,100 mi) northeast of Miami, Florida, and 1350 km (840 mi) south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, about 1030 km (640 mi) west-northwest. It is the oldest and most populous remaining British overseas territory, settled by England a century before the Acts of Union created the United Kingdom.
Although commonly referred to in the singular, the territory consists of approximately 138 islands, with a total area of 53.3 km² (20.6 sq. mi.). Compiling a list of these islands is often complicated, as many have more than one name (as does the entire archipelago, which, in addition to its two official names, has historically been known as "La Garza", "Virgineola", and the "Isle of Devils"). Despite the limited land mass, there has also been a tendency for place names to be repeated; there are, for instance, two islands named "Long Island", three bays known as "Long Bay", and "St. George's Town" is located on "St. George's Island" within "St. George's Parish" (each known as St. George's), whereas Bermuda's capital, the "City of Hamilton", lies in Pembroke Parish, not in "Hamilton Parish", on the largest island, "Main Island", which itself is sometimes called "Bermuda".
Bermuda has a highly affluent economy, with a large financial sector and tourism industry giving it the world's highest GDP per capita in 2005. It has a subtropical climate, beaches with pink sand, and cerulean blue ocean.
Aerial view of Bermuda looking west: St. David's and St. George's in the foreground
Bermuda is located in the North Atlantic Ocean, roughly 580 nautical miles (1070 km, 670 mi) east-southeast of Cape Hatteras on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and roughly 590 nautical miles (1100 km, 690 mi) southeast of Martha's Vineyard (see map). It has 103 km (64 mi) of coastline. There are two incorporated municipalities in Bermuda: the City of Hamilton and the Town of St. George. Bermuda is divided into various "parishes", in which there are some localities called "villages", such as Flatts Village, Tucker's Town and Somerset Village.
Although Bermuda's latitude is similar to that of Savannah, Georgia, it is warmer in winter, and cooler in summer (the same is true of Bermuda in comparison to places much further north, including New York). Its subtropical climate is warmed by the nearby Gulf Stream, thanks to the westerlies, which carry warm, humid air eastwards over Bermuda, helping to keep winter temperatures above freezing. The climate is humid and, as a result, the summertime heat index can be high, even though mid-August temperatures rarely exceed 30 °C (86 °F). Winters are mild, with average daytime temperatures in January and February around 20°C (68°F), although cold fronts, which dominate the local weather for most of the year, bring arctic air masses that can result in rapid temperature drops. Atlantic winter storms, often associated with these cold fronts, can produce powerful, gusting winds and heavy rain. Factoring in the wind chill, the felt air temperature in winter can fall below freezing, 0°C (32°F), even though the actual temperature rarely drops below 10°C (50°F).
The only source of fresh water in Bermuda is rainfall, which is collected on roofs and catchments (or drawn from underground lenses) and stored in tanks. Each dwelling usually has at least one of these tanks forming part of its foundation.
Bermuda's pink sand, Astwood Park beach
The Kingdom of Bhutan (IPA: /buːˈtɑːn/) is a landlocked nation in South Asia. It is located amidst the eastern end of the Himalaya Mountains and is bordered to the south, east and west by India and to the north by China. Bhutan is separated from Nepal by the Indian state of Sikkim. The Bhutanese call their country Druk Yul (land of the thunder dragon).
Bhutan is one of the most isolated and least developed nations in the world. Foreign influences and tourism are regulated by the government to preserve the nation's traditional culture, identity and the environment, however, in 2006 Business Week rated Bhutan the happiest country in Asia and the eighth happiest country in the world. The landscape ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the Himalayan heights in the north, with some peaks exceeding 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). The state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism, and the population is predominantly Buddhist, with Hinduism being the second-largest religion. The capital and largest city is Thimphu. After centuries of direct monarchic rule, Bhutan held its first democratic elections in March 2008. Bhutan is a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
"Bhutan" may be derived from the Sanskrit word Bhu-Utthan (highlands). In another theory of Sanskritisation, Bhots-ant means "End of Tibet", as Bhutan is immediately to Tibet's south.
Historically Bhutan was known by many names, such as Lho Mon (southern land of darkness), Lho Tsendenjong (southern land of the Tsenden cypress), Lhomen Khazhi (southern land of four approaches) and Lho Men Jong (southern land of medicinal herbs). Bhutan is also commonly known as The Last Shangrila
Stone tools, weapons, elephants, and remnants of large stone structures provide evidence that Bhutan was inhabited as early as 2000 BCE, although there are no existing records from that time. Historians have theorized that the state of Lhomon (literally, "southern darkness"), or Monyul ("Dark Land", a reference to the Monpa, the aboriginal peoples of Bhutan) may have existed between 500 BCE and 600 CE. The names Lhomon Tsendenjong (Sandalwood Country), and Lhomon Khashi, or Southern Mon (country of four approaches) have been found in ancient Bhutanese and Tibetan chronicles.
The earliest transcribed event in Bhutan was the passage of the Buddhist saint Padma Sambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche) in 747. Bhutan's early history is unclear, because most of the records were destroyed after fire ravaged Punakha, the ancient capital in 1827. By the 10th century, Bhutan's political development was heavily influenced by its religious history. However, there is no sufficient information stating that all historical records were available before the fire. Various sub-sects of Buddhism emerged which were patronised by the various Mongol and Tibetan overlords. After the decline of the Mongols in the 14th century, these sub-sects vied with each other for supremacy in the political and religious landscape, eventually leading to the ascendancy of the Drukpa sub-sect by the 16th century.
Until the early 17th century, Bhutan existed as a patchwork of minor warring fiefdoms, when the area was unified by the Tibeten lama and military leader Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. To defend the country against intermittent Tibetan forays, Namgyal built a network of impregnable dzong (fortresses), and promulgated a code of law that helped to bring local lords under centralised control. Many such dzong still exist. After Namgyal's death in 1651, Bhutan fell into civil war. Taking advantage of the chaos, the Tibetans attacked Bhutan in 1710, and again in 1730 with the help of the Mongols. Both assaults were successfully thwarted, and an armistice was signed in 1759.
View of Tashichoedzong, Thimphu, seat of the Bhutanese government since 1952
n the 18th century, the Bhutanese invaded and occupied the kingdom of Cooch Behar to the south. In 1772, Cooch Behar appealed to the British East India Company who assisted them in ousting the Bhutanese, and later in attacking Bhutan itself in 1774. A peace treaty was signed in which Bhutan agreed to retreat to its pre-1730 borders. However, the peace was tenuous, and border skirmishes with the British were to continue for the next one hundred years. The skirmishes eventually led to the Duar War (1864–1865), a confrontation over who would control the Bengal Duars. After Bhutan lost the war, the Treaty of Sinchula was signed between British India and Bhutan. As part of the war reparations, the Duars were ceded to the United Kingdom in exchange for a rent of Rs. 50,000. The treaty ended all hostilities between British India and Bhutan.
During the 1870s, power struggles between the rival valleys of Paro and Tongsa led to civil war in Bhutan, eventually leading to the ascendancy of Ugyen Wangchuck, the ponlop (governor) of Tongsa. From his power base in central Bhutan, Ugyen Wangchuck defeated his political enemies and united the country following several civil wars and rebellions in the period 1882–1885.
In 1907, an epochal year for the country, Ugyen Wangchuck was unanimously chosen as the hereditary king of the country by an assembly of leading Buddhist monks, government officials, and heads of important families. The British government promptly recognised the new monarchy, and in 1910 Bhutan signed a treaty which "let" Great Britain "guide" Bhutan's foreign affairs. In reality this did not mean much given Bhutan's historical reticence. It also did not seem to apply to Bhutan's traditional relations with Tibet. The greatest impact of this treaty seems to be the perception that it meant Bhutan was not totally sovereign.
After India gained independence from the United Kingdom on August 15, 1947, Bhutan became one of the first countries to recognise India's independence. A treaty similar to the one of 1910 was signed August 8, 1949 with the newly independent India.
In 1953, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck established the country's legislature – a 130-member National Assembly – to promote a more democratic form of governance. In 1965, he set up a Royal Advisory Council, and in 1968 he formed a Cabinet. In 1971, Bhutan was admitted to the United Nations, having held observer status for three years. In July 1972, Jigme Singye Wangchuck ascended to the throne at the age of 16 after the death of his father, Dorji Wangchuck.
In the 1980s, in order to strengthen Bhutan’s identity as a nation, the "one nation, one people" campaign was started to foster greater integration of the peripheral ethnic and cultural groups into mainstream Bhutanese society. The age-old code of conduct, known as Driglam namzha, and usage of the official national language, Dzongkha, was promoted. At around the same time, a nationwide census revealed a large population of Nepali origin in southern Bhutan. When the government attempted to remove what it considered as illegal settlers, there was a violent backlash; numerous acts of terrorism were carried out against government schools, hospitals, offices and neutral southern Bhutanese. In order to re-establish order in the south, the government drafted many young men and able-bodied civil servants into a militia force. Thousands of civilians, including a number of political dissidents, were expelled or fled to Nepal, where they were admitted into United Nations-run camps and given refugee status. Despite the best efforts of the governments of Bhutan , Nepal and India, as well as outside parties such as the United Nations, the European Union and the United States, a viable solution to this problem proves to be still elusive. At present, the United States is working towards resettling around 70,000 of these refugees in the US.
In 1998, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck introduced significant political reforms, transferring most of his administrative powers to the Council of Cabinet Ministers and allowing for impeachment of the King by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly. In late 2003, the Bhutanese army successfully launched a large-scale operation to flush out anti-India insurgents who were operating training camps in southern Bhutan.
In 1999, the government lifted a ban on television and the Internet, making Bhutan one of the last countries to introduce television. In his speech, the King said that television was a critical step to the modernisation of Bhutan as well as a major contributor to the country's Gross National Happiness (Bhutan is the only country to measure happiness), but warned against the misuse of television which may erode traditional Bhutanese values. Some believe it has indeed affected Bhutan in a negative way
A new constitution was presented in early 2005. In December 2005, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck announced that he would abdicate the throne in his son's favour in 2008 . On December 14, 2005, he stunned his countrymen by announcing that he would be abdicating immediately. Bhutan has now entered a new era of democracy, starting with its first national parliamentary elections in December 2007 and March 2008. Despite the popular appeal of the King to the people of Bhutan and general reservations towards the politics of democracy, it is by royal decree that the country will undergo this drastic change in its political system.
The Taktshang Monastery, also known as the "Tiger's Nest". Bhutan is a predominantly Buddhist country, with the religion forming an integral part of everyday life.
The Republic of Bolivia (Spanish: República de Bolivia, Spanish pronunciation: [reˈpuβ̞lika ð̞e β̞oˈliβ̞ja]), named after Simón Bolívar, is a landlocked country in central South America. It is bordered by Brazil on the north and east, Paraguay and Argentina on the south, and Chile and Peru on the west. From 1839 Sucre was the seat of government until the administrative capital was moved to La Paz in 1898. Sucre remains the constitutional capital and seat of the Supreme Court (Corte Suprema de Justicia).
The llama is one of the icons of the Bolivian altiplano.
At 1,098,580 km² (424,135 mi²), Bolivia is the world's 28th-largest country (after Ethiopia). It is comparable in size to Mauritania, and it has about 1.5 times the area of the US state of Texas.
Bolivia has been a landlocked nation since 1879, when it lost its coastal department of Litoral to Chile in the War of the Pacific. However, it does have access to the Atlantic via the Paraguay River.
An enormous diversity of ecological zones are represented within Bolivia's territory. The western highlands of the country are situated in the Andes Mountains and include the Bolivian Altiplano. The eastern lowlands include large sections of Amazonian rainforests and Chaco. The highest peak is Nevado Sajama at 6,542 metres (21,463 ft) located in the department of Oruro. Lake Titicaca is located on the border between Bolivia and Peru. The Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat, lies in the southwest corner of the country, in the department of Potosí.
Major cities are La Paz, El Alto, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, and Cochabamba
Bolivia is divided into nine departments (departamentos); capitals in parentheses:
* Beni (Trinidad)
* Chuquisaca (Sucre)
* Cochabamba (Cochabamba)
* La Paz (La Paz)
* Oruro (Oruro)
* Pando (Cobija)
* Potosí (Potosí)
* Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz de la Sierra)
* Tarija (Tarija)
Additionally, the departments are further divided into 100 provinces (provincias), and the provinces are each divided into municipalities (municipios) and cantons (cantones), which handle local affairs.
The government building of the National Congress of Bolivia at the Plaza Murillo in central La Paz