United Kingdom, constitutional monarchy in northwestern Europe, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Great Britain is the largest island in the cluster of islands, or archipelago, known as the British Isles. England is the largest and most populous division of the island of Great Britain, making up the south and east. Wales is on the west and Scotland is to the north. Northern Ireland is located in the northeast corner of Ireland, the second largest island in the British Isles. The capital of the United Kingdom is the city of London, situated near the southeastern tip of England.
United States (Overview), United States of America, popularly referred to as the United States or as America, a federal republic on the continent of North America, consisting of 48 contiguous states and the noncontiguous states of Alaska and Hawaii. The United States is discussed in seven articles: this overview, as well as separate articles on United States (Geography), United States (People), United States (Culture), United States (Economy), United States (Government), and United States (History).
United Arab Emirates (UAE), federation of seven independent states located in the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, part of the Middle East region. Once known as the Trucial States, the UAE became an independent country in 1971.
Each emirate (small state ruled by a hereditary chief called an emir) is centered on a coastal settlement and named for that settlement. The seven member emirates are Abu Dhabi (also known as Abū Zaby), ‘Ajmān, Dubai, Al Fujayrah, Ra’s al Khaymah, Ash Shāriqah, and Umm al Qaywayn. The city of Abu Dhabi is the federal capital, and Dubai is the largest city in the country.
Ukraine (Ukrainian Ukraina), country in eastern Europe, and the second largest country in Europe after Russia. Much of Ukraine is a fertile plain suited for agriculture. Ukraine is rich in natural resources, and has a developed economy with significant agricultural and industrial sectors. The country has a democratic form of government headed by a president. Kyiv (Kiev) is the nation’s capital and largest city.
From the 9th century ad northern Ukraine was part of Kievan Rus, the first significant East Slavic state, which succumbed to the Mongol invasions of the 13th century (see Mongol Empire). Ukraine was for centuries thereafter under the rule of a succession of foreign powers, including Poland and the Russian Empire. In 1918 a Bolshevik (Communist) government was established in Ukraine, and in 1922 the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) was one of the four founding republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Ukraine’s declaration of independence, approved by a popular vote on December 1, 1991, was a major factor in the USSR’s collapse later that month.
Uganda, landlocked country on the equator in East Africa. The country contains a varied landscape of savanna, dense forests, and tall mountains, as well as almost half of Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa, and the primary source of the Nile River. Uganda is an ethnically diverse nation with a deeply ingrained intellectual and artistic culture. Poor but developing, Uganda’s economy is predominantly agricultural. Uganda was the site of several powerful kingdoms, most notably Buganda and Bunyoro, before the arrival of European colonists in the late 19th century. Uganda became a British protectorate in 1894, and its present borders were established in 1926. It gained independence from British rule in 1962. In the 1970s and early 1980s the nation suffered two bloody dictatorial regimes, under Idi Amin and Milton Obote, and two wars. In 1986 Uganda came under the control of pragmatic leader Yoweri Museveni, who introduced democratic and economic reforms. Kampala is Uganda’s capital and largest city.
Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey (Turkish Türkiye Cumhuriyeti), a nation in western Asia and southeastern Europe. The vast majority of Turkey is composed of the Asian territory of Anatolia, or Asia Minor, a large mountainous peninsula. The capital city, Ankara, is located there. The rest of Turkey, called Eastern (or Turkish) Thrace, occupies the far southeastern part of Europe. This region of rolling fertile hills is home to İstanbul, Turkey’s largest city. Asian Turkey and European Turkey are separated by three connected waterways of great strategic importance: the Sea of Marmara and the straits of the Bosporus and the Dardanelles (also called the Turkish Straits). Together, they form the only water route between the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea, an arm of the Mediterranean Sea.
Tuvalu, small island country located in the western Pacific Ocean. Honolulu, Hawaii lies about 4,200 km (about 2,600 mi) to the northeast and Brisbane, on Australia's eastern coast, lies about 3,400 km (about 2,100 mi) to the southwest. Tuvalu’s nearest neighbors are the Fiji Islands, about 1,050 km (about 650 mi) to the south, and Samoa (formerly Western Samoa), about the same distance to the southeast. Formerly known as the Ellice Islands, Tuvalu was part of the British Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony (GEIC) until it separated from the Gilberts (now Kiribati) in 1975 and achieved independence in 1978. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, an association of nations that includes the United Kingdom and a number of its former dependencies. The atoll of Funafuti is the capital of Tuvalu.
Turkmenistan, republic in the southwestern portion of Central Asia, bordered on the north by Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, on the east by Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, on the south by Afghanistan and Iran, and on the west by the Caspian Sea. Ashgabat is Turkmenistan’s capital and largest city.
Tunisia, country on the north coast of Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The Atlas Mountains run across the country, dividing the country’s fertile northern plains from the hotter, dryer southern regions. The Sahara, the vast desert that covers much of northern Africa, begins in southern Tunisia.Tunisia is a small country by North African standards, sandwiched between the much larger countries of Algeria to the west and Libya to the southeast. The northernmost country in Africa, Tunisia is bounded on the north and east by the Mediterranean. The country’s strategic location has brought it into contact with many civilizations that sought control of North Africa, including those of the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, and Ottoman Turks.
Trinidad and Tobago, country comprising the southernmost of the islands in the Caribbean Sea. Trinidad, Tobago, and the adjacent islets that make up the country are situated off the northern coast of South America. The country’s capital and largest city, Port-of-Spain, is on Trinidad, the larger of the two islands.
Tonga (country), independent island nation in the southern Pacific Ocean, located approximately 650 km (approximately 400 mi) southeast of Fiji and approximately 1,850 km (approximately 1,150 mi) northeast of New Zealand. Tonga is the only remaining Polynesian monarchy. Nukualofa is the country’s capital, chief port, and largest town.
Togo, republic in West Africa, bounded on the north by Burkina Faso, on the east by Benin, on the south by the Gulf of Guinea (an arm of the Atlantic Ocean), and on the west by Ghana. Togo extends about 550 km (about 340 mi) in a north-south direction and ranges from about 40 to 130 km (about 25 to 80 mi) in width. The country has an area of 56,785 sq km (21,925 sq mi). Lomé is the capital and largest city.
Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand (Prathet Thai, or “Land of the Free”), country in Southeast Asia. Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been occupied by any European or other foreign power, except in war. The country was an absolute monarchy from 1782 until 1932, when rebels seized power in a coup and established a constitutional monarchy. Since then, Thailand has come under the rule of many governments, both civil and military. The country was known as Siam until 1939 (when it was renamed Thailand), and again for a few years in the late 1940s. In 1949 the name Thailand was adopted a second time.
Tanzania, republic in East Africa, on the Indian Ocean. A diverse country in which close to 100 different languages are spoken, Tanzania was formed by the federation of the nations of Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964. The country’s name is a combination of the first syllables of the component territories’ names.Tanzania is bounded on the north by Kenya and Uganda; on the east by the Indian Ocean; on the south by Mozambique, Malawi, and Zambia; and on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi, and Rwanda. The country includes the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, and other offshore islands in the Indian Ocean. The total area of Tanzania is 945,100 sq km (364,900 sq mi). Dar es Salaam is the executive capital and largest city; the smaller city of Dodoma is now the legislative center of Tanzania and has been designated as the eventual capital.
Tajikistan, landlocked republic in southeastern Central Asia, bordered on the north by Kyrgyzstan, on the north and west by Uzbekistan, on the east by China, and on the south by Afghanistan. Dushanbe is the country’s capital and largest city. Tajikistan contains the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (Badakhshoni Kuhi), an ethnically based political subunit that occupies about 45 percent of the country’s territory.In Tajik, the official state language, the country is called Jumhurii Tojikiston (Republic of Tajikistan). Tajiks, who speak a form of Persian, constitute a majority of the country’s population. In 1929 Tajikistan became the Tajik (or Tadzhik) Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Tajikistan became independent in 1991. Shortly after independence, a civil war broke out between the Communist-dominated government and opposition groups. The two sides formally signed a peace accord in June 1997.
Uruguay (country) country on the southeastern coast of South America between Brazil and Argentina. It is the second smallest country in South America, after Suriname. The capital and chief economic center of Uruguay is the coastal city of Montevideo (pronounced mahn teh vih DAY oh).Uruguay was a part of the colonial empire of Spain in the Americas until the early 1800s. After a brief period of Portuguese rule, Uruguay became an independent nation in 1828. Its Spanish past influences many aspects of Uruguayan culture. Spanish is the official language of Uruguay. The country’s formal name in Spanish is República Oriental del Uruguay.
Uzbekistan, republic in Central Asia, bordered on the west and north by Kazakhstan, on the east by Kyrgyzstan, on the southeast by Tajikistan, and on the south by Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. The Qoraqalpogh Autonomous Republic (also known as Qoraqalpoghiston, or Karakalpakstan) occupies 37 percent of Uzbekistan’s territory in the western portion of the country. Toshkent (Tashkent), located in the northeast, is the capital city and chief industrial and cultural center. Uzbeks make up the majority of the republic’s population. In the official state language of Uzbek, the republic is called Uzbekiston Respublikasy (Republic of Uzbekistan).
Vanuatu, independent republic consisting of more than 80 islands in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, located about 5,600 km (about 3,500 mi) southwest of Hawaii and about 2,400 km (about 1,500 mi) northeast of Australia. From the late 19th century until independence in 1980, Vanuatu (then called the New Hebrides) was governed jointly by France and Britain. The capital and largest city is Port-Vila, located on the island of Éfaté.
Vatican City, independent state within Rome, Italy, that is ruled by the pope and serves as the world headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. Entirely surrounded by Rome, Vatican City is the smallest country in the world, with an area of 44 hectares (110 acres).Vatican City occupies a triangular area on Vatican Hill in northwestern Rome, just west of the Tiber River. Except at Saint Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro) on its southwest flank, Vatican City is surrounded by medieval and Renaissance walls that separate it from the city beyond. Within its walls is a vast complex of courtyards, gardens, and magnificent buildings, the largest and most imposing of which is the great domed Saint Peter’s Basilica—the principal church of Roman Catholicism.
Venezuela, country on the northern coast of South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea. Venezuela’s landscapes range from the towering peaks of the Andes Mountains in the north to tropical jungles in the south. In the middle of the country are grassy plains and rugged highlands. Beautiful beaches fringe the coast, and islands belonging to Venezuela lie offshore. The country’s capital and largest city is Caracas.
Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, country located on the eastern coast of the Indochinese Peninsula. Vietnam is bordered on the north by China, on the west by Laos and Cambodia, and on the south and east by the South China Sea. Hanoi is the capital, and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is the largest city.