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.
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.
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
Antigua and Barbuda
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.
|Albania||Tirana||also used to know this|
|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|
|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.|
|Barbados||Bridgetown||used to know this because of cricket monopoly|
|Belarus||Minsk||who can forget Minsk, Belarus. It’s like Antananarivo.|
|Bolivia (Plurinational State of)||La Paz|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Brunei Darussalam||Bandar Seri Begawan||Anki|
|Burkina Faso||Ougadougou||check spelling|
|Cambodia||Phnom Penh||crap I can’t believe I don’t remember the spelling|
|Central African Republic||Banjui||I’m not 100% sure of this|
|Cocos (Keeling) Islands|
|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.|
|Costa Rica||San José|
|Falkland Islands (Malvinas)|
|Greenland||Nuuk||Probably changed though|
|Heard Island and McDonald Islands|
|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|
|Iran (Islamic Republic of)||Tehran|
|Isle of Man|
|Kazakhstan||Astana||Turkey is Ankara|
|Macedonia (the former Yugoslav Republic of)|
|Micronesia (Federated States of)|
|Moldova (Republic of)||Chisinau|
|New Zealand||Wellington||not Auckland|
|Nigeria||I don’t think it is Lagos, could be wrong though|
|Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of)||Pyongyang|
|Palestine, State of||I’m not sure|
|Panama||Panama City||Ciudad de Panama|
|Papua New Guinea|
|Paraguay||Asunción||Where does the accent go?|
|Republic of Kosovo|
|Réunion||Pretty sure this is a British Indian Ocean Territory, and would therefore not fulfill my criteria|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis|
|San Marino||San Marino||Where is this place?|
|South Africa||Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg||all for different things, but Pretoria won’t ever be the wrong answer|
|Korea (Republic of)||Seoul|
|Syrian Arab Republic||Damascus|
|Tanzania, United Republic of||Dodoma|
|Trinidad and Tobago||St. John’s|
|Turks and Caicos Islands|
|Uganda||Kampala (I think)|
|United Arab Emirates||Abu Dhabi|
|United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland||London|
|United States of America||“Washington, D.C.”|
|Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)||Caracas|