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Welcome to The World Factbook
The World Factbook provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities. Our Reference tab includes: maps of the major world regions, as well as Flags of the World, a Physical Map of the World, a Political Map of the World, a World Oceans map, and a Standard Time Zones of the World map.
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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.
April 11, 2019
The east central African country of Burundi recently announced that it would make Gitega the political capital of the country, while Bujumbura, the former capital, would remain its economic capital. All branches of the government are expected to have moved from Bujumbura to Gitega by 2021. Gitega had been the capital of the Kingdom of Burundi up to 1966, when the country became a republic.
April 04, 2019
In the People and Society category, "Age structure" field, the accompanying Population Pyramid has been updated for every country with the latest estimated numbers for 2018.
March 28, 2019
On 20 March 2019, Kazakhstan changed the name of its capital city from Astana to Nur-Sultan in honor of its long-serving, recently retired president, Nursultan Nazarbayev. This is not the first time the city has had its name changed. Founded in 1830 as Akmoly, it became Akmolinsk in 1832, Tselinograd in 1961, Akmola in 1992, and Astana in 1998.