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Welcome to The World Factbook
The World Factbook provides information on the history, people and society, government, economy, energy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities. The Reference tab includes: a variety of world, regional, country, ocean, and time zone maps; Flags of the World; and a Country Comparison function that ranks the country information and data in more than 75 Factbook fields.
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June 13, 2019
The latest rankings (2017) on the top "Ports" and "Airports" have been entered into the 'World' entry. The ports information lists the top 20 container ports in terms of throughput numbers, while the airports data presents the top 10 airports by total passengers and by cargo traffic (in metric tons).
June 06, 2019
The 8th Women's World Cup soccer tournament kicks off tomorrow in Paris; 24 nations will be competing in this quadrennial championship. To help familiarize visitors with the tourney participants, The World Factbook has prepared special One-Page Summaries for each of the 24 qualified finalists (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, England (United Kingdom), France, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Scotland (United Kingdom), South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, United States). The One-Page Summaries may be accessed via a special link that appears in the Introduction section - at the end of the Background statement - in each of these countries. Alternatively, all 24 One-Page Summaries gathered together may be found in a link at the end of the Background statement of the 'World' entry.
May 30, 2019
Caves are an interesting and amazingly varied component of the earth's crust. The World Factbook has added Ten Cave Superlatives to its 'World' entry (under Geography>Terrain) to help you get a feel for the diversity of caves. Check it out and enjoy.
May 23, 2019
Can you name the five countries that have one-syllable names? Hint: they begin with the initials C, F, G, L, and S.
May 16, 2019
Although The World Factbook no longer appears in a printed format, annual editions - from 2000 onward - are available online and may be accessed on this site by two pathways. Visitors can click on THE WORLD FACTBOOK ARCHIVE in the upper right portion of any page on the website. Alternatively, the ARCHIVE may be accessed by visiting the Gallery of Covers, under the References tab, and clicking on any of the years that appear highlighted in blue.
May 09, 2019
For the first time in over a decade, a new appendix has been added to The World Factbook. Appendix H: Strategic Materials lists all of the compounds, metals, non-metals, and rare earth elements deemed to be of critical importance to US national security. The appendix consolidates much of the information that already appears in individual country 'natural resources' and 'economy' entries into a convenient one-stop source. Additionally, much supplementary data is included.
May 02, 2019
Last year the CIA's sister agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), produced a very well-received Africa Atlas. In the spirit of inter-agency cooperation, the NGA has allowed most of the maps from that Atlas to be used on The World Factbook's website. They were recently added and may be found under the References tab>Regional and World Maps. Click on either of the icons for NGA Africa Country Maps or NGA Africa Population Distribution Maps to view them.
April 25, 2019
The Antarctica entry has been extensively updated with information provided by the Department of State's Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Afffairs (OES). Included are the latest available figures on deployed staff at Antarctic field stations, and information on Antarctic governance (treaty updates), economic activities (fishing and tourism), natural resources, and environmental issues.
April 18, 2019
Did you know that despite Madagascar's close proximity to the African continent, ocean currents isolate the island (the world's fourth largest) resulting in high rates of endemic plant and animal species. Approximately 90% of the flora and fauna on the island are found nowhere else on earth. Just recently, five new miniaturized frog species were discovered, the largest of which can sit on a thumbnail with room to spare and the smallest of which is about the size of a grain of rice.
April 16, 2019
In response to the US recognition of Israel's claim to the Golan Heights on 25 March 2019, The World Factbook has updated all of its maps that show that portion of the Middle East.