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Introduction

Scotland, one of the four national units that make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The other units are England, Northern Ireland, and Wales. Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, and Glasgow is its largest city.

Scotland and its offshore islands comprise the northernmost part of the United Kingdom. The Scottish mainland, which occupies roughly the northern third of the island of Great Britain, is bordered on three sides by seas. To the north and west is the Atlantic Ocean; to the east is the North Sea. Rugged uplands separate Scotland from England to the south. The territory of Scotland includes 186 nearby islands, a majority of which are contained in three groups. These are the Hebrides, also known as the Western Isles, located off the western coast; the Orkney Islands, located off the northeastern coast; and the Shetland Islands, located northeast of the Orkney Islands. The largest of the other islands is the Island of Arran. …


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Introduction

Senegal, republic in the westernmost part of Africa, along the Atlantic Ocean. Senegal was once a French colony within French West Africa. It became an independent country in 1960 but has maintained close ties with France, and French remains its official language. Islam is the major religion. Senegal has had an elected government since gaining independence. Although poor, it is considered one of the most stable countries in Africa.

Senegal’s landscapes range from desert in the north to dense tropical forest in the south. Most of the country is a low plain. The Sénégal River, which gives the country its name, forms Senegal’s northern border with Mauritania. Senegal is bounded on the east by Mali, on the south by Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. The Gambia, a small, narrow country, forms an enclave in southern Senegal, extending inland along the Gambia River. The republic’s total area is 196,722 sq km (75,955 sq mi), which makes it about the size of the state of South Dakota. …


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Introduction

Serbia (Serbian Srbija), republic in southeastern Europe, located on the Balkan Peninsula. Serbia is a landlocked country. Its northern half comprises a broad, low-lying agricultural plain receiving the waters of the mighty Danube River. The country’s southern half is mostly hilly and mountainous. Ethnic Serbs make up about two-thirds of Serbia’s population, although ethnic Albanians constitute a majority in the southern province of Kosovo. Serbia’s capital and largest city is Belgrade.

From 1946 to 1991 Serbia was part of a larger federal state of Yugoslavia, which consisted of Serbia and five other republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Slovenia. That Yugoslav state broke apart in 1991, when several of the republics declared their independence. In 1992 Serbia and Montenegro proclaimed themselves the successor state to the former Yugoslavia and took the name Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). The FRY adopted a new constitutional charter in 2003 that gave the constituent republics more autonomy and changed the country’s name from the FRY to Serbia and Montenegro. …


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Introduction

Seychelles, island republic in the western Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar. The Seychelles are an archipelago of some 115 islands with a total land area of 454 sq km (175 sq mi).

Land and Resources

The country consists of two distinct island groups: the Mahé group in the north and a chain of low-lying coral islands stretching to the south. All the country’s principal islands belong to the Mahé group; they include Mahé Island (the largest), Praslin, Silhouette, La Digue, and 28 smaller islands. The 83 coral islands are largely without water resources, and most are uninhabited.

Rising abruptly from the sea, the Seychelles are the exposed part of a submarine bank in line with Madagascar, with which they show similarities in geology and native plant and animal life. They have, however, some unique plants, such as the coco de mer (sea coconut), a coconut with a two-lobed nut in one husk. The highest peak is Morne Seychellois (905 m/2,969 ft) on Mahé. Most of the larger islands are of granite formation and the smaller ones coral. …


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Introduction

Sierra Leone (country), independent nation in western Africa, bounded on the north and east by Guinea, on the southeast by Liberia, and on the southwest and west by the Atlantic Ocean. The total area of the country is 71,740 sq km (27,699 sq mi). Freetown is the capital and largest city.

Land and Resources

A low-lying coastal plain in Sierra Leone extends inland from the Atlantic Ocean for about 80 km (about 50 mi). The area closest to the ocean is a largely swampy region; however, the Sierra Leone Peninsula, where Freetown is situated, is dominated by hills. To the east the land rises from the coastal plain to a plateau in the north and to hilly terrain in the south. Several small mountain ranges are located near the northern and eastern borders and reach a maximum elevation of 1,945 m (6,381 ft) in Bintumani (Loma Mansa) in the Loma Mountains. Of the numerous short rivers that drain the country the most important are the Kolenté (Great Scarcies) and the Kaba (Little Scarcies), and the Rokel, Jong, Sewa, and Moa. …


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Introduction

Republic of Singapore, independent republic in Southeast Asia, comprising 1 main island and about 50 small adjacent islands off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. The main island, Singapore Island, is separated from Malaysia on the north by the narrow Johore Strait and is linked by road and rail to the Malaysian city of Johor Baharu. On the south, Singapore Island is separated from Indonesia’s Riau Archipelago by the Singapore Strait, an important shipping channel linking the Indian Ocean to the west with the South China Sea on the east.

The Republic of Singapore is considered a city-state because most of the territory of the main island is part of the metropolis of Singapore. The main island is densely populated, especially in its south central portion where the central business district and main port are located. About three-fourths of the people of Singapore, known as Singaporeans, are Chinese, but there are significant Malay and Indian minorities. …


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Introduction

Slovakia, landlocked republic in central Europe, bounded on the northwest by the Czech Republic, on the north by Poland, on the east by Ukraine, on the south by Hungary, and on the southwest by Austria. Bratislava is its capital and largest city.

Slovakia existed as part of Hungary from the beginning of the 10th century until 1918, when it united with the Czech lands of Bohemia and Moravia, in addition to a small part of Silesia, to form Czechoslovakia. In 1939, shortly before the start of World War II, Slovakia declared its independence under pressure from German dictator Adolf Hitler, but in 1945 it was reunited with the rest of Czechoslovakia. From 1948 until 1989 Czechoslovakia was ruled by a Soviet-style Communist regime. …


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Introduction

Slovenia (Slovenija in Slovenian), country in south central Europe, bounded on the north by Austria, on the northeast by Hungary, on the southeast and south by Croatia, and on the west by Italy and the Adriatic Sea. Formerly a constituent republic of Yugoslavia, Slovenia proclaimed its independence in June 1991. It joined the United Nations (UN) in May 1992 and became a full member of the European Union (EU) in 2004. Slovenia has an area of 20,253 sq km (7,820 sq mi). Ljubljana is the capital and largest city.

Land and Resources

Slovenia is mountainous, much like Austria to the north and northern Italy to the west, and has heavily forested regions. The western third of the country lies within the Karst, a barren limestone plateau broken by depressions and ridges. The highest point, Mount Triglav, rises 2,863 m (9,393 ft) and forms part of the Julian Alps in the northwest. The Mura, Drava, and Sava rivers flow through the forested northeastern part of the country. In the southwest there is a small stretch of coastline, extending 47 km (29 mi) along the Gulf of Venice (an arm of the Adriatic Sea). …


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Introduction

Solomon Islands (country), constitutional monarchy and member of the Commonwealth of Nations, consisting of about 30 islands and numerous atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, east of New Guinea. The country includes most of the Solomon Islands group, notably Guadalcanal, New Georgia, Santa Isabel, Malaita, Choiseul, San Cristobal (Makira), and Vella Lavella, as well as Ontong Java (Lord Howe) Atoll, Rennell, and the Santa Cruz Islands. The total area is 27,556 sq km (10,639 sq mi).

Land

Solomon Islands is a mountainous country; the highest peak, Mount Popomanaseu on Guadalcanal, rises to an elevation of 2,331 m (7,648 ft). The mountains are of volcanic origin. …


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Introduction

Somalia, republic in East Africa, occupying the tip of the Horn of Africa. The dry, sparsely populated country has been in a state of civil war and anarchy since 1991, when the central government was overthrown. Somalia is bounded on the north by the Gulf of Aden, on the east and south by the Indian Ocean, on the southwest by Kenya, on the west by Ethiopia, and on the northwest by Djibouti. The total area is 637,700 sq km (246,200 sq mi). Mogadishu is the capital and largest city.

Land and Resources

Somalia has a long coastline, extending for 3,025 km (1,880 mi), but it has few natural harbors. A sandy coastal plain borders on the Gulf of Aden in the north. A series of mountain ranges, with average elevations between about 915 and 2,135 m (about 3,000 and 7,000 ft), dominates the northern part of the country. Shimbiris, the highest peak in Somalia at 2,416 m (7,927 ft) tall, is located here. To the south, the interior consists of a rugged plateau, ranging in elevation from about 500 m (about 1,640 ft) in the north to less than 180 m (600 ft) in the south. In the south, a wide coastal plain, which has many sand dunes, borders on the Indian Ocean. The country’s two major rivers are found on the southern plateau, the Jubba (Genalē) in the southern part and the Shabeelle (Shebelē) River in the south central section. …

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World Culture Encyclopedia

Explores the culture of countries around the world. Guide to #Culture #Definition #Language #People #Religion #Women #Men #History #Customs #Etiquette #Food

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