Countries of the world

Where can I find information about the different countries in the world?

Junior Secondary

(Years 7-10)

Image: [no title] by Andrew Neel on Unsplash.

Entry last updated: 8/04/22

Introduction

Countries are made different by their history, politics, people, culture, economy, beliefs or religion, language and geography.

General websites

There are a number of websites giving basic facts and more detailed information. Often you will find it presented in different formats, some of which will allow for comparisons.

Countries of the World - Factmonster

An online encyclopedia and homework site, this is a good starting point for all sorts of questions about countries. It has the advantage of setting out the information in a similar layout for each country and includes a list of dependencies (countries controlled by another country).

Tips: Some websites have advertisements (or ads) which ask us to buy something or tell us to ‘click here’. It’s best to ignore these ads and focus on the information we’re looking for.

CIA World Factbook

This factbook provides more detail on the history, geography, economy and other issues for over 260 countries.

  • Look down the page for Explore Countries.
  • Enter a country you want to know more about in the search box or select from a list from Explore All Countries eg Nepal.
  • Each main entry includes a small map and a selection of photographs.
  • From the home pager you can also explore Regions and Oceans.

Tips: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can sometimes tell these sites by their web address – they might have .gov or .edu in their address – or by looking at their About or Contact pages.

BBC News - Country Profiles

This is a section of the official site of the British Broadcasting Corporation. It provides a guide to history, politics and economic backgrounds of countries.

  • Look down the page to lists of country profiles.
  • They are grouped by different regions.
  • Choose a country or territory eg under Asia select Sri Lanka.
  • Note that pacific countries are under Asia.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade interacts with other governments on behalf of the New Zealand Government.

  • Select the Countries & regions tab.
  • You can select a region and then a country to find out about New Zealand's relationship with them and trade statistics.

Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

EPIC resources

EPIC is a collection of reliable resources covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.

Britannica School

This encyclopedia has entries for each country follow a standard format with headings for Geography, People, Culture, Economy and History; there is also a brief country profile giving a range of basic facts.

  • Choose the Middle level.
  • Enter your country name in the search box.
  • You can change the information to an easier or more advanced level by using the article reading level, found at the top of the article.
  • Or from the Middle homepage look for Compare Countries to compare statistics for two countries.

Elementary (Gale In Context)

This is another EPIC resource with lots of easy to find information.

  • From the homepage select Geography.
  • Then select Countries.
  • Choose a country eg Peru.
  • Select Keep Reading to find out more or explore resources grouped by type eg book articles or pictures.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Pictures and videos

These can be a valuable resource, especially when looking at the geographical features of a country.

Britannica School

One of the EPIC resources, Britannica School has a a good selection of images which can be found by selecting the Images and video tab on the first page of the country article.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

National Geographic

National Geographic is known worldwide for its illustrated magazine and the website has a good range of images and videos for many countries.

  • Enter a country name in the search box eg Fiji.
  • From the results you select the tab Photography from which you can choose links to view photos and pictures.

Books

Your school library and local public library will have a variety of almanacs and fact books. Here are some suggested titles for you to check:

Some publishers have also produced a series of children's books on different countries and you may like to ask about the availability of these. These usually follow a similar format and layout allowing for easy comparisons.

SCIS no: 1832659

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