Strange Unfamiliar Countries
There are many countries, cities or islands that sometimes hearing the unfamiliar and strange names to us, makes us feel eager and weird to know more about their cultures, inhabitants, cuisine or traditional practices.
1) Republic of Vanuatu
Republic of Vanuatu is located in the South Pacific Ocean, an island nation, an archipelago of volcanic origin, around 1,750 kilometers east of northern Australia, 500 kilometers northeast of New Caledonia, west of Fiji, southeast of the Solomon Islands, near New Guinea. The Melanesian people were the first inhabitants of Vanuatu, which its name was derived from strange words vanua or “land or home” and the tu means “stand” in some Austronesian languages, and these two words combined indicates the independent status of this nation. The largest to the smallest islands includes Ambryn, Ambae or Aoba, Anatom or Aneityum, Espiritu Santo, Efate, Erromango, Epi, Malakula, Malo, Maewo and Vanua Lava. Port Vila the capital, located in Efate and Luganville on Espiritu Santo, is the nation’s largest towns. The aelan kakae, Vanuatu cuisine’s is made of fish, taro and yams, fruits and vegetables, with coconut and cream, which is used to flavor all kinds of dishes. Vanuatu dishes are commonly cooked using hot stones or through boiling and steaming, which the food is fried.
Nakamal village clubhouse, serves as a meeting point for all Vanuatu males and as a place to drink kava. The villages also have male and exclusive female sections, which is located all over the villages. The female section of nakamals , are special “areas” provided for Vanuatu females when they have their menstruation period.
Republic of Nauru and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is located in Micronesia in the South Pacific and an island country, and a neighboring country of Banaba Island in Kiribati, about 300 kilometers to the east. The world’s smallest republic is the Republic of Nauru, an island with rich deposits of phosphate rock near the surface, allowing the “strip mining” operations easy. And when the phosphate reserves were drained the environment will be harmed by mining, and the mining’s income that had been established to manage the island’s wealth reduced in value. Thus, Nauru became tax evasion and money laundering place to earn income. The Nauru people, commonly traced their matrilineally descent. Most Nauruans are practicing aquaculture by fishing ibija fish, from the fresh water and raised then in the Buada Lagoon for their source of food. They also grown locally coconuts and pandanus fruits for consumptions. The word “Nauru” may derive from the Nauruan language Anáoero, which means “I go to the beach”. Nauru’s official currency is the Australian dollar. Nauruans are the most strange obese people in the world of about 97% for men and 93% of overweight women or obese.
The mudstones andlimestonesare the common “phosphate bearing rocks” in Vanuatu.
3) Christmas Island
An island in a territory of Australia in the Indian Ocean is known as the Territory of Christmas Island, with 1,403 populations of residents living in a settlement areas on the island’s northern tip, including strange names of Kampong or Flying Fish Cove, Drumsite, Silver City and Poon Saan, and the majority settlers are Chinese Australians. The island’s geographic isolation and history of minimal human disturbance has led to a high level of the ecological state of being unique to a defined geographic location or endemism among its flora and fauna, which is of significant interest to scientists and naturalists, and large primary monsoonal forest areas exists. The phosphate deposited as guano had been mined for several years. The small settlement on Christmas Island is the Poon Saan, an external Australia territory, and the second largest settlement on Christmas Island.
The coconut crab, Birgus latro, is a terrestrial hermit crab species, also known as the robber crab or palm thief, and these coconut crabs cannot swim, and they will drown if left in water for more than an hour. They have a special organ called a branchiostegal lung to breathe. The coconut crab is considered as aphrodisiac and delicacy by the Pacific Isladers and Southeast Asians. Coconut crabs could be toxic if the crabs eat the poisonous sea mango plant Cerbera manahas, due to the presence of toxic of cardiac cardenolides.
The annual red crab annual mass migration to the sea to spawn has been called one of the wonders of the natural world and takes place each year around November, after the wet season starts and with the moon cycle synchronisation.
The former Ellice Islands, a Polynesian island nation now called Tuvalu, is located in the Pacific Ocean, between Australia and Hawaii. The Tuvalu Island is comprised of four reef islands and five true atolls spreading out. Tuvalu’s nearest neighbors are Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa and Fiji, and considered as the third-least sovereign state populated in the world, with Nauru with fewer inhabitants. Tuvalu’s traditional cuisine are the swamp taro or pulaka, breadfruit, bananas, coconut, coconut crab, turtle and fish, seabirds such as the taketake or Black Noddy, Akiaki or white tern and pork meat.
The Pasifika Festival or Pasifika, is the festival themed in the Pacific Islands held annually in Western Springs, Auckland City, New Zealand which started since 1993. The festival performances from Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Cook Islands, Niue, Tahiti, Tokelau, Tuvalu, Kiribati and the New Zealand Maori or the Tangata Whenua.
Tokelau is a New Zealand territory in the South Pacific Ocean that consists of three tropical coral atolls, a coral island that encircles a lagoon partially or completely, with approximately 1,400 population and with a combined land area of 10 km2. The atolls lie north of the Samoan Islands, east of Tuvalu, south of the Phoenix Islands, southwest of the more distant Line Islands that belongs to Kiribati island groups and northwest of Cook Islands.
The three atolls functioned largely independently while maintaining social and linguistic cohesion. Tokelauan society was governed by chief clans and occasional wars and inter-atoll skirmishes as well as inter-marriage. The “chief island” Fakaofo, the held some dominance over Atafu and Nukunonu after the dispersal of Atafu. Life on the atolls was subsistence-based, with reliance on coconut and fish.
6) Pitcairn Islands
The Pitcairn Islands officially named the Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, form a group of four volcanic islands in the southern Pacific Ocean and this islands are a British Overseas Territory.
The former San João Baptista and Elizabeth Island, now known as Henderson Island is an uninhabited raised coral atoll in the south Pacific Ocean, that in 1902 was annexed to the Pitcairn Islands, Oeno and Ducie Islands forming Pitcairn Island Group. Pandanus tectorius, coconut, Thespesia populnea, Tournefortia argentia, Cordia subcordata, Guettarda speciosa, Pisonia arandis, Geniostoma hendersonense, Nesoluma st.-johnianum, Hernandia stokesii, Mursine hosakae and Celtis sp. are the dominant tree species in these islands.
7) Republic of Palau
Palau sometimes called Belau or Pelew is now officially the Republic of Palau, an island country found in the western Pacific Ocean, and part of Micronesia, a larger island group,with the population of estimated 21,000 people spread out over 250 islands that formed the Caroline Islands western chain. The Palau islands shared maritime boundaries with the Philippines, Indonesia and the Federated States of Micronesia. Koror is the most populated island in the group, and the capital city is called Ngerulmud, located near Babeldaob. Ngerulmud, a settlement in the State of Melekeok is the capital of Palau. On October 7,2006, government officials moved their offices in the former Koror capital to Ngerulmud located 20 km northeast of Koror on Babeldaob or Babelthaup Island and 2 km northwest of the Melekeok village.
The Comoros is now officially the Union of the Comoros is a sovereign, archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean, located off the Africa eastern coast, on the Mozambique Channel northern end, between northeastern Mozambique and northwestern Madagascar. Other countries near to the Comoros are Tanzania to the northwest and the Seychelles to the northeast. Moroni is the capital on Grande Comore. The coconuts is the native commodities exported by the Comoros were, cattle and tortoise shell. After its annexation, France converted Mayotte into a sugar plantation colony. The other islands were soon transformed as well, and the major crops of ylang-ylang, coffee, cocoa bean and sisal were introduced.
9) São Tomé and Príncipe
São Tomé is the capital city of Sao Tome and Principe and is by far that nation’s largest town. Its name is Portuguese for “Saint Thomas”.
São Tomé and Príncipe officially the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, is an island nation Portuguese-speaking in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa. The island consisting of two archipelagos around the two main islands, Sao Tome and Principe, located about 140 kilometers apart and about 250 and 225 kilometers, respectively, off the Gabon northwestern coast. Both islands are part of an extinct volcanic mountain range. São Tomé, the sizable southern island, is situated just north of the equator and named after Saint Thomas by Portuguese explorers that arrived on the feast day of St Thomas at the island.
10) Republic of the Marshall Islands
The island country of Marshall Islands, is now officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands located in the northern Pacific Ocean, and is a part of Micronesia larger island group. The Marshall islands has estimated population of 68,000 inhabitants spreading over 34 low-lying coral atolls, that comprised individual islands and islets. Marshall islands share maritime boundaries to the west of Federated States of Micronesia, Wake Island, north Kiribati to the southeast and to the south of Nauru. Majuro acts as the capital and the most populated atoll. The Marshall Islands are a group of atolls and reefs in the Pacific Ocean, about half-way between Australia and Hawaii. Most Marshallese speak Marshallese and English, and one important word is “yokwe” which is the same to the Hawaiian “aloha” and means “hello”, “goodbye” and “love”.
Majuro is a large coral atoll of 64 islands in the Pacific Ocean, also called in Marshallese ,Mājro, and forms a legislative district of the Ratak Chain of the Marshall Islands. As with other atolls in the Marshall Islands, Majuro consists of narrow land masses.The main population as of 2004, also named Majuro, population 25,400, is the capital and largest city of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, with ports, hotels, shopping districts, and an international airport.
The part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is called the Kwajalein Atoll and in Marshallese, Kuwajleen. The southernmost and largest island in the atoll is named Kwajalein Island, which English-speaking residents often call by the shortened name, Kwaj .
Kiribati is an island nation located in the Pacific Ocean central tropical, and is now officially the Republic of Kiribati. The locally pronounciation of “Gilberts” where the name Kiribati which is derived from the main island chain, the Gilbert Islands. The capital of South Tarawa consists of many islets connected through a series of causeways, located in the Tarawa archipelago. In 1979, Kiribati became independent nation from the United Kingdom, and became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the IMF and the World Bank, and in 1999, Kiribati became a full member of the United Nations.
Wake Island or Wake Atoll, is a coral atoll, with a coastline of 19 km in the North Pacific Ocean, located about two-thirds of the way between Honolulu, 3,700 km to the east and Guam. The Wake Island is an unincorporated and unorganized United States territory, administered by the United States Department of the Interior, Office of Insular Affairs, and the access to the island is restricted, and all activities on the island are managed by the United States Air Force, and the United States Army operates the missile facility. The Wake Island, and the location of Wake Island Airfield, is the largest island and the center of activity on the atoll.
12) Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR)
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) or Artsakh Republic is the South Caucasus a de facto political entity in the recognized by three other non-UN states, and recognized as part of Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh is not recognized by the republic in the Caucasus, and is official Aerbaijan part, but under the control of Armeninan border to the west and to the south is Iran.
“We Are Our Mountains” is a large Armenian monument north of Nagorno-Karabakh capital city, Stepanakert, and is widely regarded as Armenian heritage symbol of Nagorno-Karabakh. The monument is made from volcanic tufa (calcareous and siliceous rock deposits of springs, lakes, or ground water), and represents an old man and old woman shaped from rock, that represents the Karabakh mountain people. In Eastern Armenian, it is also known as “Tatik u Papik” and “Mamig yev Babig” in Western Armenian, and it’s translated as “Grandma and Grandpa“. The sculpture is prominent in the Nagorno-Karabakh coat of Arm.
13) Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
The capital of Equatorial Guinea is Malabo, located on the northern coast of former Fernando Po on the rim of sunken volcano, now known as Bioko Island. With a fast growing population in 2005 of around 155,963, and the second largest city in the country, after Bata in Rio Muni on the African mainland. Malabo have tropical wet and dry climate, despite its location near the equator.
Asmara or the former Asmera, which means “they made them unite in Tigrinya“, the largest settlement and capital city of Eritrea, with a population of 649,000 inhabitants. Asmara is located at the escarpment tip (or A steep slope or long cliff that results from erosion or faulting and separates two relatively level areas of differing elevations) that is both the northwestern edge of the Eritrean highlands and the Great Rift Valley.
15) Libreville, Gabon
Libreville is the largest city and capital of Gabon, in west central Africa, and the city is a port on the Komo River near the Gulf Guinea, and a trade center for a timber region, with 578,156 population as of 2005. The area was inhabited by the Mpongwe tribe long before the French acquired the land in 1839. The largest airport in Gabon is the Libreville International Airport and is located around 11 kilometers north of the city. The main market in Libreville is located in Mont-Bouet. Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire and Libreville are one of a few African cities where French language becomes a native language with some local dialects. Libreville is the home city to a shipbuilding industry, sawmills and brewing industry. Libreville also exports raw materials such as cocoa, rubber and wood from the city’s main port, and the Owendo deep water port, and Gabon’s port city, forming a south western suburb of Libreville, located at the western end of the Trans-Gabon Railway, and which was opened in 1988.
The ethnic group in Gabon are the Mpongwe, notable as the earliest known dwellers around where Libreville is located, the Estuary. The Mpongwe language is identified as a Myene and Bantus people subgroup.
16) Banjul, Gambia
The former Bathurst, now known as, is officially the City of Banjul, is the The Gambia capital, and is in the division of the same name.Banjul is on St Mary’s Island or Banjul Island, where the Gambia River enters the Atlantic Ocean, connected to the mainland to the west and Greater Banjul area via bridges and ferry boats that linked Banjul to the mainland and the other side of the river of Banjul. Banjul derived its name from the Mande people gathering specific fibers on the island manufacturing ropes. The Mande or Mandinka word for rope fiber is called Bang julo, thus the mispronunciation led to the word Banjul. City of Banjul is the Plymouth-Banjul Challenge destination, a charity road rally. The two districts that divide Banjul Division (Greater Banjul Area) is the Kanifing and Banjul.
The largest city of Guinea and capital is Conakry, and the port city on the Atlantic Ocean and serves as the economic, financial and cultural centre of Guinea. Conakry was originally located on Tombo Island, one of the Isles de Los, it has since spread up the neighboring Kaloum Peninsula. According to a legend, the name of the city comes from the fusion of the name “Cona”, a wine producer of the Baga people, and the word “nakiri”, which means in Sosso the other side of the bank.
17) Maseru, Lesotho
The capital of Lesotho is Maseru and Maseru District capital. Located in South Africa’s bordering the Caledon river, Maseru is Lesotho’s only sizable city, with approximately population of 227,880. Maseru city was established as a police camp and assigned as the capital after the country became a British protectorate in 1869. When the country achieved independence in 1966, Maseru retained its status as capital. The city name is a Sesotho word which means “place of the red sandstone”.
18) Antananarivo, Madagaskar
Antananarivo Malagasy from Tananan’ny Arivolahy, the former Tananarive is the capital and Madagascar’s largest city, and known by its French colonial shorthand form Tana. The capital of Analamanga Region, and the larger urban area surrounding the city, is known as Antananarivo-Renivohitra (“Antananarivo-Mother Hill” or “Antananarivo-Capital”).
19) Lilongwe, Malawi
Lilongwe, the capital and largest city of Malawi, and derived its name after the Lilongwe River, and the city is located in the central region of Malawi, near the Mozambique and Zambia borders. In 1964, after the independence, Zomba became the capital, however in 1974, His Excellency the Life President Ngwazi Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda declared Lilongwe the capital city of Malawi on January 1, 1975 to shift the capital city from Zomba to Lilongwe (against vociferous objections from the British preference for the economically and well developed Blantyre). The Kamuzu International Airport (LLW) fields regular flights to Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Johannesburg and domestic services to Blantyre. The Kamuzu International Airport is located to the north of Lilongwe, about 20 kilometers from the City Center.
20) Valletta, Malta
The capital of Malta is the Valletta, colloquially known as Il-Belt ,in English, and in Maltese, The City. Valletta is located in the central-eastern portion of the island of Malta, and the historical city has a population of 6,966, and the 16th century buildings onwards, built during the rule of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, also known as Knights Hospitaller. The city is essentially Baroque in character, with elements of Modern architecture, Neo-Classical and Mannerist in selected areas, although the major scars on the city during the World War II. The City of Valletta was a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980, officially recognized. The official name given by the Order of Saint John was Humilissima Civitas Valletta, The Most Humble City of Valletta, or Città Umilissima in Italian. The bastions (a projecting part of a fortification), curtains and ravelins (triangular fortification used to split an attacking force) along with the beauty of its Baroque (period of artistic style) palaces, gardens and churches, led the ruling houses of Europe to give the city its nickname Superbissima, which means “Most Proud”.
Funchal is the largest city, the municipal seat and the capital of Autonomous Region of Madeira Portugal’s. The city has a population of 111,892 and has been the capital of Madeira for more than five centuries. The name Funchal, was applied by the first settlers that landed on its shores due to the abundance of wild fennel where, as tradition goes, the primitive burg was built, and the word “funcho” or fennel and suffix.
Port-aux-Français is the capital settlement of the Kerguelen Islands, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, and Indian Ocean in the south. The Gulf of Morbihan port station, has about 60 inhabitants in winter, which can rise to more than 120 in summer.The station was selected because of its sheltered position which was suitable for a runway that was never built. Using Australian equipment from 1955 to 1957, a French slaughterhouse sealing company called Sidap. Port-aux-Français has a shallow quay or wharf and seaport for unloading supply ships, including the Marion Dufresne.
The Kerguelen Islands also known as the Desolation Islands, are a group of islands in the southern Indian Ocean constituting one of the two emerged parts of the mostly submerged Kerguelen Plateau. The islands, along with Adelie Land, the Crozet Islands, the Amsterdam and Saint Paul Islands are part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands and are administered as a separate district, and there are no indigenous inhabitants, but France maintains a permanent presence of 50 to 100 scientists, engineers and researchers.
23) Lobamba and Mbabane, Swaziland
Swaziland, officially the (Umbuso weSwatini) Kingdom of Swaziland, and sometimes called Ngwane or Swatini, is a Southern Africa landlocked country in, bordered to the north, south and west by South Africa, and to the east by Mozambique. Ngwane , as well as its people, are named after the 19th century King Mswati II. The eastern border with Mozambique and South Africa is dominated by the escarpment of the Lebombo Mountains. Swaziland is critically affected by the HIV and AIDS pandemic, which is now a major threat to its society. Royal Highness Princess Sikhanyiso Dlamini of Swaziland, was born on September 1, 1987, is the eldest daughter of King Mswati III of Swaziland. Princess Dlamini is the 13th child, is one of his 24 children and her mother is one of Mswati’s 14 wives, Inkhosikati LaMbikiza Sibonelo MngomeZulu.
24) Lobamba (Royal and Legislative)
The legislative and traditional capital of Swaziland is Lobamba, the Parliament seat and the Queen Mother residence, located in the west of the country, in the Ezulwini Valley, about 16 km from Mbabane, in the district of Hhohho, with 5,800. The two popular ceremonies in Lobamba, the Reed Dance, celebrated during the month of August and September in honor of the Queen Mother, and in the month of December and January, the ceremony of Incwala, in honor of the King, which include dancing, singing and celebrations with traditional costumes.
In 2007, Mbabane with an estimated population of 95,000 , is Swaziland’s largest city and capital located on the Mbabane River and its tributary the Polinjane River in the Mdimba Mountains, located in Hhohho District of which is also the capital.
25) Hellas or Greece
The Greeks named Greece Hellas or Ellada , Greece became officially the Hellenic Republic a country in Southeast Europe, and the capital and largest city Greece is Athens with its urban area that includes Piraeus municipality. The land borders of Greece is Albania, Bulgaria to the north and the Republic of Macedonia and to the east is Turkey. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of mainland Greece, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south.