Chronicles 190 Countries

By: Charles Bowen

The World Wide Web becomes more worldly every day. Five years ago, the Web was still largely an American, English-speaking medium. That produced a high-tech tunnel vision that continued the rather insulting attitude that we inhabit this sphere alone. Increasingly, though, with the availability of online translation services, better comprehensive search engines, and higher-quality international portals, the Internet gets more global by the minute, to the benefit of us all.

And now you can view a growing number of online services that help us learn about each other around the world through international news, studies, and statistics. Among the newest of these, my favorite is, a site that provides a quick look at facts and figures for more than 190 countries around the globe. A pleasantly designed site that is easy to navigate, it provides material useful to students, researchers, and journalists. Not only that, it’s fun to use, largely because of the site’s lists and rankings. For instance, the site makes it easy to determine which country:

* Is the most visited in the world. (Answer: France.)

* Has the most universities. (India.)

* Is the most polluted. (Haiti.)

* Has the highest cost of living. (Japan.)

* Has the longest life expectancy. (Andorra.)

To use the resources here, visit the site at, where the introductory page includes a navigation bar that invites you to its most frequently sought lists (richest, most populous, largest, cleanest, most expensive, etc.). On either side of the front are tools to examine the data either by region or by categories (economic, social, technological, environmental, academic, and so on).

The center section of the home page provides news of fresh additions to the database. For example, at this writing, the site had just added a list of countries with the highest number of Nobel Prize winners.

While its lists and rankings are its most interesting feature, Aneki has more depth than that. Click on the name of any country featured in a list and you are taken to a detailed overview of that land, covering its geography, people, government, economy, communications, transportation, military, and major “transnational” issues, such as border disputes.

If you are using the site to research a specific country, use the “World Regions” tools at the left of the introductory page. For instance, suppose you needed information about Belize. You could start by clicking the “Central America” link on the front. The site then displays a summary for that region, including its total population, percentage of the world’s population, maps, and relevant rankings, such as the most populous and wealthiest countries there. Also provided is a linked list of the eight countries in Central America. Click on “Belize” for a detailed summary of the country’s characteristics. Links at the top of the report enable you to jump directly to topics such as economy, military, government and so on.

Other considerations for using in your writing and editing:

1. To get a quick fix on facts and figures about any of 190 countries, click on the “World Almanac” link on the site’s front page. This opens a separate window with two drop-down menus, one that contains an alphabetized list of countries, the second containing a list of topics, including population, capital, government type, languages, area, location, climate, currency, budget, and so on. Select options on each list and click the adjacent “Go” button to zero in on the data.

2. The data in the site is derived from various sources, including United Nations agencies, and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook.

3. is an independent, privately operated Web site based in Montreal. For more information about the providers, click on the “About” link at the bottom of any page.

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