Home > FFF pictorial atlas of the world (2006- )

Welcome boys and girls. In this atlas I hope to bring you informative and exciting stuff. Every update will enhance your knowledge of the planet we live on in an informative and exciting way. You'll be learning informative and exciting facts, looking at informative and exciting full colour pictures, maps and graphs, and you'll be introducted to prominent figures for the informative fields of science, history and maths, and the exciting sports and entertainment arenas. It's fascinating stuff. Honest.

Information on each nation is believed to be correct. Any errors or lies are solely the responsibilty of a cocker spaniel called Billy who did all the research.

Countries are presented in alphabetical order according to their short name in English. Sorry about that, Johnny Foreigner. Following the short name will be the native full name (or names in countries with more than one official language), and the full name in English. Transliteration to the Latin alphabet will occur where applicable.

Updated 03 October 2006: Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Côte d'Ivoire, Guatemala, Macau, New Caledonia, Slovenia, Sudan, Svalbard, Tajikistan, Tunisia added.

North America
British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guatemala, Montserrat, United States, US Virgin Islands

South America
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Falkland Islands, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela

Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Lesotho, Sudan, Tunisia, Western Sahara

Åland, Faroe Islands, Isle of Man, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, Svalbard, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Vatican City

Bangladesh, Brunei, Christmas Island, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Oman, Macau, Mongolia, Tajikistan

Australia, French Polynesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

República Argentina (Argentine Republic)

Argentina is the second largest country in South America and is named after the fictional country in a song from Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, Starlight Express. Only jokin'! It was really named after the country in Cats. Jokin' again. Sorry. Actually, it was named by the indigenous Diaguita folk. Knowing how much the Spaniards liked shiny metal, they borrowed the Latin word for silver, argentum, and made it a bit more Spanish-y by lopping of the -um and adding -ina. This was all done in an effort to boost tourism, especially when combined with the rumours they started of mountains being made of pure silver.
It did more than simply boost tourism, though, it brought so many holiday-makers that they took over. Liking the Diaguitas' style, top politician Manuel Belgrano decided to make the flag of Argentina really pretty to attract more people. He picked a nice blue and stuck a white stripe in the middle. Feeling a bit chipper that day, he drew a smiley sun in the middle. That really did the trick, loads more people moved to Argentina after seeing the sunny flag.
Legend has it that the Patagonia area of Argentina is populated by giants. Only the Welsh were brave enough to move to that region cos they love a good giant. Seeing how tales of scary giants were buggering up tourism, Argentina decided to invent a really little fellow to be the most famous Argentine ever, Diego Maradona.
I've only ever met one person from Argentina and he laughed like an otter being strangled. Not sure if this is what all Argentinian people sound like when they laugh, but I do know that the Argentinian accent is considered muy sexy by most Latin American women.
Here's a handful of notable Argentines. Eva Perón, Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, transvestite actress Florencia De La V, liberator of Argentina José de San Martín, tennis dish Gabriela Sabatini, and some footballers: Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stéfano, Gabriel Batistuta, Osvaldo Ardiles and the best footballer ever, Diego Armando Maradona.

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Commonwealth of Australia

Famous for its XXXX-ing funny beer commercials, non-stop beach parties, hats with corks dangling from them, Kylie, and cricket players with moustaches and/or fluorescent sunscreen, Australia is a pretty darned big island, and is situated a bit up from Antarctica, about a third of the way to Japan.
Australia was invented by Queen Victoria one day when she was a bit bored and thought that there wasn't enough parts of the world that she owned, so she called upon England's great and good builders to make an especially big and bleak island 'as far away as fucking possible.' Figuring there'd be some more contracting work once the basics were done, the engineers and construction workers decided to have a nice area for themselves next to all the desert-y stuff, and they named it after Her Majesty's favourite peacock, Sydney.
Australia is also known for it's made-up wildlife. There's a bouncy thing called a kangaroo, and another inspired by a cartoon character called the Tasmanian Devil. A third, the koala, was manufacturered by Japanese toymakers when research found that nobody thought kangaroos were 'really, really cute.'
The most impressivest thing about Australia is called Uluru, or Ayers Rock. It's big, red, and in the middle of nowhere. If you can't be arsed to go - and frankly, who'd blame you - just cut a potato in half lengthways, cover it with paprika and put it in your cat litter tray. Then stare at its majestic beauty.
Prominent Australians include (from left to right) ace rock band AC/DC, chunky cricket player Merv Hughes, Paul Hogan as Crocodile Dundee, man-dressed-as-woman Dame Edna Everage, Eric Bana as Mark Brandon 'Chopper' Read in Chopper, mmmm it's lovely Kylie Minogue, big scary goth Nick Cave, ex-beard Nicole Kidman, big-footed swimmer Ian Thorpe, useless indie band The Vines.

See also
Christmas Island.

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República Federativa do Brasil (Federative Republic of Brazil)

The largest and most populous nation in South America, Brazil borders all other South American countries but Ecuador and Chile.
Apart from the hill thingy with Jesus on the top, the beaches full of pubic hair-less beauties, that mountain made of sugar, the skilful kids playing football in the streets, millions of World Cup winners' medals, fancy carnivals, that lass from Ipanema, and that whopping great big river, there's plenty to know about Brazil. Like, err, y'know, umm, trains and food and, err, people and trees.
Those trees though are under threat from us all. Especially me, cos I've just needlessly printed this web page on paper that probably used to be part of the Amazonian rainforest. An area the size of Brazil is being deforested every year. I blame the woodpeckers, though; Brazilian woodpeckers being the most destructive and anti-social of all birds.
Currently the world of football is open-mouthed with admiration for Brazilian player Ronaldinho. He's pretty good, not as good as me, but still pretty tasty. He can stand in the car park outside Barcelona's stadium, kick a ball in a south-west direction, go to the airport, get delayed cos the flight was over-booked, have a few fajitas and a cappuccino while he waits, fly to Rio de Janeiro, spend ages going through immigration cos he mislaid his passport, (he eventually finds it between the sick bag and the in-flight magazine back on the plane), get a cab to the beach, sign a few autographs, chat up a foxy lass with rather prominent nipples at one of those bars with the drinks in coconut shells, then saunter down to the water's edge and catch the ball on the back of his neck whilst playing level 9 of Tetris on his Game Boy and wearing flip flops made of fire.

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Pays d'outre-mer de la Polynésie Française/Porinetie Farani (Overseas Lands of French Polynesia)

French Polynesia is a bunch of islands in the Pacific Ocean, northwest of New Zealand. They're not real islands, they're floating platforms; a bit like those things that separate the lanes in swimming pools. As the name suggests, the islands were annexed by the French in the 19th century. Our intrepid Frenchy exploring colonialists Pierre et Jacques were the first to set foot on one of the islands - Tahiti - and tricked the locals into signing over their land. They got some perfumed ladies to flash their ding dongs whilst doing the can-can. Never having seen nipple tassles before, the locals were hypnotised. Whilst in this state, Pierre et Jacques whipped out the contracts, got the locals to sign them, and skipped off backstage where they were pleasured at great length by the petticoat-wearing dancing girls.
Having acquired Polynesia and slapped the word 'French' at the front, Pierre et Jacques went off again on a new adventure forgetting, however, to click their fingers to wake the locals from their hypnotic state. Not until a tourist turned on a telly and began watching The Addams Family did they awaken. Annoyed by the dastardly tricks played on them, the locals kicked off and went a bit mental: breaking chairs, squashing fruit, and such. As soon as word got back to Paris, they hit upon a way to quieten things down: testing nuclear weapons in the Polynesians' back gardens. They soon shut up and got back to posing for European painters.

For further adventures of Pierre et Jacques see also
Central African Republic, Comoros, Vanuatu.

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Principauté de Monaco/Principatu du Munegu (Principality of Monaco)

Monaco was once part of northern France, quite close to Belgium. In 1962, trying to woo Hollywood actress and future wife Grace Kelly by showing off a bit, Prince Rainer III challenged President Charles de Gaulle to a game of blackjack. The prince won and took his prize: a bit of land on the fancy south coast of France to call his own.
Since then, Monaco has gone from strength to strength, building lots of casinos and exclusive nightclubs and restaurants and generally becoming a playground for the rich and famous. Not many people live there, though. In fact, the population is about one-third the size of the cathedral city of Lincoln in the United Kingdom. But those who do live there tend to be filthy rich. These folks like nothing more than driving their Formula One racing cars round and round, playing Princess Stéphanie CDs and shouting 'I don't pay tax!' at poor people.
The highlight of Monaco's calendar is the Formula One Grand Prix in Monte Carlo. Even when he was racing as Michael Schumacher, the author of The Flip Flop Flyin' Pictorial Atlas has never won the Monaco Grand Prix on the Nintendo 64 game F1 World Grand Prix 2.
Although Monaco is dead small, land reclaimed from the sea has made it a bit bigger. If reclamation continues at the current rate, Monaco will fill the Mediterranean Sea by the year 2417; an estimate that Buck Rogers confirmed from his luxury Monacan villa overlooking Tel Aviv.
The most famous folks in Monaco are the royal lot, the House of Grimaldi. There's current boss Prince Albert II, his recently-deceased father Prince Rainier III, his late mother Princess Grace and his sister Princess Stéphanie. Scottish F1 driver David Coulthard lives and owns a hotel there. Both King Farouk I of Egypt and arms trader Sir Basil Zaharoff lived there for a while too. Top French footballer Thierry Henry played 118 times for AS Monaco FC scoring 26 goals.

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The locals were out on the streets. 'I want my MTV!' they shouted. 'No!' replied the Governor, 'the BBC will do you just fine'.
But the locals persisted, sick as they were of just watching British telly programmes. A few miles away, Mark Knopfler, of the popular rock group Dire Straits, was playing Connect Four with Sting over a nice glass of iced tea on the gold-plated terrace of Air Studios. Sting started to repeat the crowd's echoey chant in a slightly haunting manner, strangely reminiscent of the melodic line of the Police's hit song Don't Stand So Close To Me. 'Hold on,' said Knopfler, fingers a-bristlin' with finger-pickin' creativity, 'I'll get my guitar'. And so it came to be: Money For Nothing. And your chicks for free.
It was a good 15 years before Montserrat got its MTV, cos, amongst other things, Hurricane Hugo messed things up real bad in 1989. When MTV did arrive most of the islanders were disappointed to find that MTV no longer showed DeBarge, Timex Social Club and Colonel Abrams videos; just shows about tarting up old cars, The Osbournes (which they quite liked, as it goes), and Spring Break-ing idiot students eating dog poo from the inside of a rotting whale carcus for $70 in front of a delirious crowd of their drunken peers.
'We no longer want our MTV!' they cried. 'Make your bloody minds up,' said the slightly irked Governor, rolling her eyes and silently mouthing the word 'wankers' to her colleague, the Chief Minister.

See also
United Kingdom.

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Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino (Most Serene Republic of San Marino)

Most Serene, eh? A bit up itself that, isn't it?
Surrounded on all sides of its 61 km² by Italy, San Marino is one third of the very exclusive enclave club (Vatican City and Lesotho are the other members). It's also one of the most geek-friendly countries in the world due to its postage stamps being only valid for use within San Marino, and its euro coins being of sweat-inducing interest to collectors.
Here's Tom with the sport: San Marino's national football team was invented to let every other team feel good about themselves for a few hours, what with them never having won a competitive match ever, and the San Marino Grand Prix doesn't actually take place there, it takes place about in the Italian town of Imola.

Jumhuriyat as-Sudan (Republic of Sudan)

In the 16th century, Sudan was ruled by some people called the Funj. They were so much fun they had a J at the end of their name just for a laugh. It was all bouncy castles, mini golf, and clowns with squirty flowers back then. Until, that is, the Egyptians came along with their moody cats and stuff, and turned everything into a right bummer.
But help was at hand, in the form of those jolly Brits who were snaffling up as much of the world as possible in an effort to get some people to play cricket with them. Wishing to impart some of his military and colonial knowledge onto the 'savages,' a Britisher called Peter took a young native aside.
"Listen here, old bean," said Peter, whittling an ivory tusk into an oboe for his wife. "What we're going to do is create two colonies; one in the north and one in the south of this God-forsaken sandpit you call home. And here's some advice should the King's Empire ever fall, which I bloody-well doubt, but anyway. Number one, tuck your shirt in and put some shoes on! You're not at a bloody holiday camp, man. Number two, keep this north-south divide going. By Jove! It's a winning policy!"
And with that, Peter beat the young chap to within an inch of his life and went off to eat some puréed giraffe's wings.
So, by the time Sudan gained independence in 1956, the North and South were already at it hammer and tongs. This went on until 1972 when they decided to have a break, and went about their own business for 11 years until President Gaafar Nimeiry fancied having the south as well as the north. Twenty years and over 2 million dead Sudanese later, some sort of agreement was come to where, again, the south is kinda in control of its own affairs.
But the happy days didn't last too long. Feeling a bit peeved about being in a neglected part of the country, some rebels in Darfur started demanding the good stuff. More fighting, loads of dead people, words like 'ethnic cleansing' and 'genocide'... it's all gone tits-up, and is anything but funj.

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Konungariket Sverige/Kingdom of Sweden

Sweden has a fascinating history. In the 17th century, Sweden had an empire that comprised most of what is now Finland, Estonia, a bit of Norway, and a couple of German beaches, where the Swedes would spend their holidays. It was on one of these holidays that King Karl X Gustav had a little nip of some German beer. He liked it, took some home, and soon every Swede was an alcoholic.
The following two centuries went by in a bit of a blur, until one day a guy called Ingvar decided to make some furniture. Inspired by IKEA, some other blokes decided to form a pop group. And inspired by Abba, a beardy man decided to play some tennis and design underpants. Thus began the Swedish Quiet Renaissance.
While louder countries like the USA, UK and Japan would bang on about how great their stuff was, Sweden has been quietly taking over the planet with their technically-skilled football players and managers, practical and stylish furnishings, melodic pop music, and delicious almondy cakes.
It is estimated that 57% of men aged 15-40 have had at least one daydream about living with Cardigans singer Nina Persson: feeding her strawberries for breakfast while she looks a bit sleepy and is wearing your pyjamas, then taking your springer spaniel for a walk across the fields hand in hand, maybe playing some Jenga on the patio before afternoon tea, reading the great Swedish novels of an evening in front of a roaring fire, before retiring to the bedroom to snuggle for a bit.
Some of the great and good (and Roxette) of Sweden: top hit-makers Abba, ace footballer and Calvin Klein model Fredrik Ljungberg, rock group The Hives, football coach Sven-Göran Eriksson, twiddly diddly metal guitarist Yngwie J Malmsteen, Roxette, and five-time Wimbledon and six-time French Open champion Björn Borg.

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Confoederatio Helvetica/Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft/Confédération Suisse/Confederazione Svizzera/Confederaziun Svizra (Swiss Confederation)

Switzerland is that most curious of countries: one that doesn't like fighting. Whilst everyone else is out cracking skulls or having their skulls cracked, lil' ol' landlocked Switzerland is having a jolly old time listening to Young Gods albums and watching Roger Federer win every tennis match for the rest of eternity.
Of course, this military neutrality has its downsides. It means I can fall back on lazy stereotypes and clichés without them threatening to beat the crap out of me with their Swiss cheese-eatin', watch-makin', secretive-bankin' fists.
The Swiss people are all orphans. At an early age they are sent to live in the mountains with their grumpy grandfathers and are usually friends with goatherds called Peter. Even goatherds called Peter are friends with other goatherds called Peter. All tends to go well, and the Swiss enjoy their childhoods until a bitchy old auntie comes along and takes them to school in Frankfurt. At this point the Swiss often feel a bit sad, and will make friends with cute rich girls in wheelchairs until a doctor comes along, diagnoses that the Swiss are homesick for their beloved mountains, and they will return home. The cute rich girls in their wheelchairs will visit, though. The goatherds called Peter tend to be envious of the friendships formed with the cute invalid girls and will destroy their wheelchairs by pushing them down the mountains. The Swiss, being nice and fair and not liking violence, will bring together the goatherds called Peter and the cute invalid girls and ask them to be friends. More often than not, they become friends and will spend their afternoons whittle together; making cuckoo clocks, skis or alphorns with their fancy Swiss Army knives.
Some notable Swiss folk: superb tennis player Roger Federer, FIFA top dog Sepp Blatter, artists Alberto Giacometti and HR Giger, moustache-y pop duo Yello, footballer Hakan Yakin, and industrial-ish band The Young Gods.

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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The United Kingdom (UK for short) is, of course, the bestest country on the planet. It is home to such greats as 'Tiger' Tim Henman, Linda Lusardi, Mark 'Rollerball' Rocco and Ned's Atomic Dustbin. The UK also invented pens, cars, food, outer space, pop music, the Rubik's Cube and Aspirin. Isn't that great? Isn't the UK great?
The UK and its neighbour the Republic of Ireland (or Éire) share the British Isles, a bunch of islands just off the coast of continental Europe. The UK has four parts to it: England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The non-English bits all have one thing in common: they hate the English. The only response the English have is getting to the World Cup finals more often.
In the 1960s, the British invaded the United States of America, sending squadrons of clean-cut young men with so-called moptop haircuts over the Atlantic Ocean to re-take the North American country. Although successful for a while, the USA regained control of its homeland by deploying The Eagles and The Jackson 5. A sortie by Duran Duran and Culture Club in the mid-eighties was quickly quashed, and the USA regained complete power.
The early 21st century has seen the UK fearful of terror attacks from an informal armed militia known as Townies. The Townies ultimate political aims are unclear, but intimidation, shoplifting and alcohol-fuelled teenage pregnancies are common methods of attacking society.
The UK has no mountains and, due to their fatter tongues, its people are unable to pronounce correctly any foreign words that have a diacritical mark.
Some notable Brits include playwright William Shakespeare, war-winner Sir Winston Churchill, Erasure-prototypes Pet Shop Boys, footballer Terry Butcher, oh dear it's A Flock of Seagulls, horses-and-shagging novelist Jilly Cooper, Scottish singing twins The Proclaimers, Pope-hater Henry VIII, The Welsh Elvis, Shakin' Stevens, and the cast of BBC television comedy show The Office.

See also
British Virgin Islands, Falkland Islands, Isle of Man, Montserrat.

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United States of America

The United State of America is, as the name suggests, a bunch of states that are united in the northern part of the Americas. The USA was formed when some Europeans got lost on their way to China and decided that they couldn't be arsed to go home. At first they thought they were alone but soon found some natives who lived in wigwams who'd been sat around twiddling their thumbs for, like, ever, waiting for people to arrive so they could play Cowboys and Indians properly. Little did they know that they'd get their arses royally kicked. With their tails between their legs, the natives trundled off to the boring desert-y bit of the country and built some casinos.
The Europeans, meanwhile, set about dragging loads of African fellas across the ocean to make them do all the hard work involved in building a nation, while they just lounged around on the beach drinking Manhattans and peanut butter milkshakes.
Several generations after these events, after the original European settlers had had children, and their children had had children, and their children had had children, the settlers started to feel like they weren't European any more, and got a bit bored of having to sing 'God Save The King' every day. So they invented a new song to sing at school every day called 'Surfin' USA' and the British monarch slunk away like a sad puppy after a scolding.
Free of the king and his la-de-da British ways, the Americans decided that they'd have a president instead; one that wasn't part of a rich family where fathers and sons ruled the nation and just helped out their rich mates.
Some eminent Americans: Curb Your Enthusiasm star and creator Larry David, foxy ginge lass Lindsay Lohan, Janet Jackson with one ding-dong out at Superbowl XXXVIII, the handsome New York Yankees short stop and captain Derek Jeter, the cast of The Sopranos, nearly-President man John Kerry, and the wonderful TV painter Bob Ross.

See also
US Virgin Islands.

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Ripablik blong Vanuatu/République du Vanuatu (Republic of Vanuatu)

On their way home from French Polynesia, Pierre et Jacques saw this bunch of islands. Pierre exclaimed, 'Sacré bleu! These islands are right tasty lookin'! Full steam ahead!' He sent Jacques down to the flag room to get another tricolore.
Little did they realise that coming towards Vanuatu from a slightly different angle was an English vessel. Enjoying a nice cup of tea, Peter and James spied the same pristine island. Peter exclaimed, 'Bloomin' heck! Those islands there look simply lovely! Full steam ahead!' He sent James down to the flag room to get another Union Jack. Once James had gone below deck, Peter gestured impatiently to a nearby lad, 'Boatswain, come hither and polish my shoes at once. And be sure to do a capital job or I'll see to it that you're killed.'
At the exact same moment, Pierre et Jacques and Peter and James jumped off their boats and whacked their flags into the sand. 'Merde!' cried Pierre. 'Oh bother!' moaned Peter. Pierre and Peter started pushing each other around like school children preparing to fight in the playground.
While all this went on, Jacques and James sat down and worked out a plan whereby they could share the islands. Four hours of negotiations later, the New Hebrides, as Vanuatu came to be known, was ruled jointly by the French and English. A quick ceremonial photograph took place before Jacques and James stepped in to stop Pierre and Peter pushing each other around. They spent the next few weeks betting on which of the volcanos on some of the 83 islands would erupt next.
In 1980, the islands gained independence, and changed the name to Vanuatu. They still like betting on the volcanoes, though.

For further adventures of Peter and James see also
For further adventures of Pierre et Jacques see also Central African Republic, Comoros, French Polynesia.

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© 2006 Craig Robinson.
Plenty of sources were used, as you'd imagine. Bits and bobs of information were found on web sites relating to each individual country; tourism and government sites etc. The main sources, though, were The Hamlyn Pictorial Atlas Of The World (a book that I've poured over since my father bought it in the late 1970s), National Geographic Almanac of Geography, Dorling Kindersley Concise Atlas of the World, The Guinness Book Of Answers (9th Edition), Encyclopædia Britannica Online Premium Service, Wikipedia, and The CIA World Factbook. Thanks to Mark for his Mongolian knowledge.
All the lame jokes are mine.

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