Wandering Thoughts

October 27, 2008

A Country Beginning with the Letter ‘P’

To amuse ourselves on our walk yesterday Jo and I (along with our respective mothers) went through the alphabet trying to find a country for each letter of the alphabet (well actually, because we’re kindof geeks and needed a selection criteria, we restricted ourselves to UN member states).

As any kid who’s ever played this game will tell you it’s the letter X that’s the killer. (Xanadu isn’t a country, sorry). But there’s one other letter that no UN member state’s name begins with. Can you guess what it is? While you’re at it can you guess the letter the starts the most names?

Answers over the fold.

The other country-less letter is ‘W’ which, sadly, lends itself to the beginning of a few contested states (Western Sahara, West Papua, Wales), one group of Islands with it’s own identity (Wallis and Fortuna), a cricket team (West Indies) and one former state (West Germany) not to any current UN members.

The letter with the most names to its name is ‘S’

Here’s the full table (from the Wikipedia, sorted in Excel, note some inconsistency in who gets ‘R’ for republic and who doesn’t and, of course, all the names are English spellings).

Letter Member state
A Afghanistan
A Albania
A Algeria
A Andorra
A Angola
A Antigua and Barbuda
A Argentina
A Armenia
A Australia
A Austria
A Azerbaijan
A Count 11
B Bahamas
B Bahrain
B Bangladesh
B Barbados
B Belarus
B Belgium
B Belize
B Benin
B Bhutan
B Bolivia
B Bosnia and Herzegovina
B Botswana
B Brazil
B Brunei Darussalam
B Bulgaria
B Burkina Faso
B Burundi
B Count 17
C Cambodia
C Cameroon
C Canada
C Cape Verde
C Central African Republic
C Chad
C Chile
C China
C Colombia
C Comoros
C Congo, Republic of the
C Costa Rica
C Cote d’Ivoire  Côte d’Ivoire
C Croatia
C Cuba
C Cyprus
C Czech Republic
C Count 17
D Democratic Republic of the Congo
D Denmark
D Djibouti
D Dominica
D Dominican Republic
D Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
D Count 6
E Ecuador
E Egypt
E El Salvador
E Equatorial Guinea
E Eritrea
E Estonia
E Ethiopia
E Count 7
F Fiji
F Finland
F France
F Count 3
G Gabon
G Gambia
G Georgia
G Germany
G Ghana
G Greece
G Grenada
G Guatemala
G Guinea
G Guinea-Bissau
G Guyana
G Count 11
H Haiti
H Honduras
H Hungary
H Count 3
I Iceland
I India
I Indonesia
I Iran, Islamic Republic of
I Iraq
I Ireland
I Israel
I Italy
I Count 8
J Jamaica
J Japan
J Jordan
J Count 3
K Kazakhstan
K Kenya
K Kiribati
K Kuwait
K Kyrgyzstan
K Count 5
L Lao People’s Democratic Republic
L Latvia
L Lebanon
L Lesotho
L Liberia
L Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
L Liechtenstein
L Lithuania
L Luxembourg
L Count 9
M Madagascar
M Malawi
M Malaysia
M Maldives
M Mali
M Malta
M Marshall Islands
M Mauritania
M Mauritius
M Mexico
M Micronesia, Federated States of
M Monaco
M Mongolia
M Montenegro
M Morocco
M Mozambique
M Myanmar
M Count 17
N Namibia
N Nauru
N Nepal
N Netherlands
N New Zealand
N Nicaragua
N Niger
N Nigeria
N Norway
N Count 9
O Oman
O Count 1
P Pakistan
P Palau

[Update:] Palestine

P Panama
P Papua New Guinea
P Paraguay
P Peru
P Philippines
P Poland
P Portugal
P Count 10
Q Qatar
Q Count 1
R Republic of Korea
R Republic of Moldova
R Romania
R Russian Federation
R Rwanda
R Count 5
S Saint Kitts and Nevis
S Saint Lucia
S Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
S Samoa
S San Marino
S Sao Tome and Principe
S Saudi Arabia
S Senegal
S Serbia
S Seychelles
S Sierra Leone
S Singapore
S Slovakia
S Slovenia
S Solomon Islands
S Somalia
S South Africa
S Spain
S Sri Lanka
S Sudan
S Suriname
S Swaziland
S Sweden
S Switzerland
S Syrian Arab Republic
S Count 25
T The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
T Tajikistan
T Thailand
T Timor-Leste
T Togo
T Tonga
T Trinidad and Tobago
T Tunisia
T Turkey
T Turkmenistan
T Tuvalu
T Count 11
U United Republic of Tanzania
U Uganda
U Ukraine
U United Arab Emirates
U United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
U United States of America
U Uruguay
U Uzbekistan
U Count 8
V Vanuatu
V Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
V Viet Nam
V Count 3
Y Yemen
Y Count 1
Z Zambia
Z Zimbabwe
Z Count 2
Grand Count 193


  1. This is super super geeky Terence. But it could make an interesting change from the ‘A is for apple’ and most infuriating ‘B is for bee(!)’ that I am reading to Esme.

    Comment by sarah — October 28, 2008 @ 8:21 pm

  2. I can just see it now “B is for Belarus, C is for Canada…V is for Vietnam, W is for…hhmmm…I guess it’s time for me to explain political economy to you Esme.”

    Comment by terence — October 29, 2008 @ 6:52 pm

  3. North Korea missing!

    Comment by Anette — June 26, 2016 @ 9:11 pm

  4. Thanks but it’s in there under it’s official name: “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”

    Comment by terence — June 27, 2016 @ 10:09 am

  5. Why palestin do not include in the list ?

    Comment by sara — July 22, 2016 @ 4:41 pm

  6. good point. I’ll change that now.

    Comment by terence — July 22, 2016 @ 7:08 pm

  7. Wales England Scotland/ Great Britain is missing!

    Comment by will — August 16, 2016 @ 8:04 am

  8. sorry my mistake misread information above countries XD

    Comment by will — August 16, 2016 @ 8:11 am

  9. Macedonia (or FYRM) and Moldova seem to be missing.

    Comment by Richard — November 17, 2017 @ 11:56 pm

  10. Korea also starts with K

    Comment by Kkopy — April 4, 2018 @ 1:22 am

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