Today’s post is a quickie.

I’ve always been a geography enthusiast. Geopolitics and conventions are a tiny, tiny part of geography, but that’s what first got me interested.

I want to learn the capital of every single country in the world. Why? It’s a pet peeve, and on the off-chance I’m on Jeopardy some day it sure couldn’t hurt. Guessing which city somebody from country X is from is also often a great conversation starter. I know a few already, and will be updating this blog post with the capitals of the countries that I learn as time passes.

My technique - make lists and read.

I foresee that it will be most challenging to memorize the capitals of smaller countries like Tuvalu or St Kitts and Nevis. I’m pretty sure I have most of the top 50 countries by population covered already.

Okay, so here’s my initial list of countries and their capitals, along with notes for the countries whose capitals I had to look up.

First pass:

I decided to remove island groups and territories of other countries from this list. I just want to know the capitals of all UN member states/political entities.

8-5-2019:

I filled in each capital that I knew already today. There were several cities that I was on the cusp of naming - and I realized just how many gaps there were in my knowledge. There is real value in quantifiable metrics. Instead of me thinking I know a lot of capitals, I now know that I know only 97 capital cities. Eye-opening exercise, truly. Highly recommend it.

My goal is to be able to fill up the whole table from memory by the end of the week. I will do background reading on the countries I didn’t get. Countries to read about today: Albania

Angola

Antigua and Barbuda

Aruba

Bahamas

Barbados

Belarus

8-13-2019:

Not surprisingly, I didn’t do too well on remembering the capitals of the countries I wanted to remember the capitals of last week. I had to look up a couple of them, but I’m reasonably certain I’d be able to recall them now (Usually a bad strategy).

I’ve added some of them to the table below.

Idea: I’m going to make an Anki deck. This problem is essentially like learning vocabulary in a foreign language.

8-17-2019: The Anki deck is really helping me streamline the review process. I didn’t realize Anki, and flashcards in general, were such a helpful study tool. I should use them more often.

Country Capital Notes
Afghanistan Kabul  
Albania Tirana also used to know this
Algeria Algiers  
Andorra Andorra La Vella not sure if the spelling is right.
Angola Luanda I used to know this
Antigua and Barbuda St. John’s not sure if the apostrophe belongs there
Argentina Buenos Aires  
Armenia Yerevan  
Aruba Oranjestaad It’s a Dutch territory, so technically not a country country. Part of the Dutch kingdom. Most people here speak a language that’s a creole, called Pimipiento, I believe. Interesting place, might want to visit some day.
Australia Canberra  
Austria Vienna  
Azerbaijan Baku  
Bahamas how do I not know this? This is a travesty Nassau :)
Bahrain Manama  
Bangladesh Dhaka  
Barbados Bridgetown used to know this because of cricket monopoly
Belarus Minsk who can forget Minsk, Belarus. It’s like Antananarivo.
Belgium Brussels  
Belize Belmopan after Anki
Benin Porto-Novo  
Bermuda    
Bhutan Thimphu  
Bolivia (Plurinational State of) La Paz  
Bosnia and Herzegovina    
Botswana Gaborone  
Bouvet Island    
Brazil Brasília  
Brunei Darussalam Bandar Seri Begawan Anki
Bulgaria Sofia  
Burkina Faso Ougadougou check spelling
Burundi Bujumbura  
Cambodia Phnom Penh crap I can’t believe I don’t remember the spelling
Cameroon    
Canada Ottawa  
Cabo Verde    
Cayman Islands    
Central African Republic Banjui I’m not 100% sure of this
Chad N’Djamena  
Chile Santiago  
China Beijing  
Christmas Island    
Cocos (Keeling) Islands    
Colombia Bogota  
Comoros    
Congo Brazzaville I didn’t know there were two of these
Congo (Democratic Republic of the) Kinshasa Kinshasa and Brazzaville are the two closest capital cities on Earth after Rome and Vatican City. Kinshasa
Cook Islands    
Costa Rica San José  
Croatia Zagreb  
Cuba Havana  
Cyprus Nicosia  
Czech Republic Prague  
Denmark Copenhagen  
Djibouti Djibouti? yes
Dominica    
Dominican Republic    
Ecuador Quito  
Egypt Cairo  
El Salvador    
Equatorial Guinea    
Eritrea Asmara  
Estonia Tallinn  
Ethiopia Addis Ababa  
Falkland Islands (Malvinas)    
Faroe Islands    
Fiji Su’a? No definitely not
Finland Helsinki  
France Paris  
French Guiana Cayenne  
French Polynesia    
Gabon Libreville  
Gambia Banjul  
Georgia Tbilisi  
Germany Berlin  
Ghana Accra  
Gibraltar    
Greece Athens  
Greenland Nuuk Probably changed though
Grenada St. George  
Guatemala Guatemala City  
Guinea Konakry  
Guinea-Bissau Bissau  
Guyana    
Haiti Port-au-Prince  
Heard Island and McDonald Islands    
Holy See    
Honduras   I could’ve sworn I knew this
Hong Kong Hong Kong  
Hungary Budapest Buda and Pest are twin cities
Iceland Reykjavík I will be impressed with myself if I got the spelling right
India New Delhi  
Indonesia Jakarta  
Côte d’Ivoire Abidjan  
Iran (Islamic Republic of) Tehran  
Iraq Baghdad  
Ireland Dublin  
Isle of Man    
Israel Tel Aviv  
Italy Rome  
Jamaica Kingston  
Japan Tokyo  
Jordan Amman  
Kazakhstan Astana Turkey is Ankara
Kenya Nairobi  
Kiribati Tarawa  
Kuwait Kuwait City ?
Kyrgyzstan Bishkek  
Latvia Riga  
Lebanon Beirut  
Lesotho    
Liberia Monrovia  
Libya Tripoli  
Liechtenstein    
Lithuania Vilnius  
Luxembourg Luxembourg  
Macao    
Macedonia (the former Yugoslav Republic of)    
Madagascar Antananarivo  
Malawi Lilongwe  
Malaysia Kuala Lumpur  
Maldives Malé  
Mali    
Malta Valletta  
Marshall Islands    
Martinique    
Mauritania Nouakchott Anki
Mauritius    
Mayotte    
Mexico Mexico City  
Micronesia (Federated States of)    
Moldova (Republic of) Chisinau  
Monaco Monaco?  
Mongolia Ulan Bator?  
Montenegro Podgorica  
Montserrat    
Morocco Casablanca not sure
Mozambique Maputo Anki
Myanmar Naypyidaw Not Yangon
Namibia Windhoek  
Nauru Yaren  
Nepal Kathmandu  
Netherlands Amsterdam  
New Caledonia    
New Zealand Wellington not Auckland
Nicaragua Managua  
Niger Niamey  
Nigeria   I don’t think it is Lagos, could be wrong though
Niue    
Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of) Pyongyang  
Norway Oslo  
Oman Muscat  
Pakistan Islamabad  
Palau    
Palestine, State of   I’m not sure
Panama Panama City Ciudad de Panama
Papua New Guinea    
Paraguay Asunción Where does the accent go?
Peru Lima  
Philippines Manila  
Poland Warsaw  
Portugal Lisbon  
Qatar Doha  
Republic of Kosovo    
Réunion   Pretty sure this is a British Indian Ocean Territory, and would therefore not fulfill my criteria
Romania Bucharest  
Russian Federation Moscow  
Rwanda Kigali  
Saint Kitts and Nevis    
San Marino San Marino Where is this place?
Saudi Arabia Riyadh  
Senegal Dakar  
Serbia Belgrade  
Seychelles Victoria  
Sierra Leone Freetown  
Singapore Singapore  
Slovakia Bratislava  
Slovenia Ljubljana  
Somalia Mogadishu  
South Africa Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg all for different things, but Pretoria won’t ever be the wrong answer
Korea (Republic of) Seoul  
South Sudan Juba  
Spain Madrid  
Sri Lanka Colombo  
Sudan Khartoum  
Suriname Paramaribo  
Swaziland Lobamba  
Sweden Stockholm  
Switzerland Zurich  
Syrian Arab Republic Damascus  
Taiwan Taipei  
Tajikistan    
Tanzania, United Republic of Dodoma  
Thailand Bangkok  
Timor-Leste    
Togo Lomé  
Tonga    
Trinidad and Tobago St. John’s  
Tunisia Tunis  
Turkey Ankara  
Turkmenistan    
Turks and Caicos Islands    
Tuvalu Funafuti  
Uganda Kampala (I think)  
Ukraine Kiev  
United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi  
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland London  
United States of America “Washington, D.C.”  
Uruguay Montevideo  
Uzbekistan    
Vanuatu    
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) Caracas  
Vietnam Hanoi  
Western Sahara    
Yemen Sanaá  
Zambia Lusaka  
Zimbabwe Harare