6 March 2014

Proportion

Ukraine is in the news a lot at the moment. In the pub, someone said it was a massive country - about as big as Australia. I thought  - no way is it that big! And when I got home I began a little research into the different sizes of countries. I cannot think in kilometres so I needed to compare square mileage.

Right, here we go then. Assuming Putin's Ruskies haven't already nicked a big chunk, Ukraine's land area is 233,062 square miles. And as I suspected that is very small in comparison with Australia which is a massive 2,969,907 square miles. That makes Australia twelve times bigger than Ukraine. The fellow in the pub is going to shrivel when I tell him.

Mind you, Australia is small in comparison with Russia which - prior to the requisition of Crimea - comes in at a massive 6,592,800 square miles. It is of course the biggest country in the world but in terms of area is itself small in comparison with the enormous Pacific Ocean - 63,800,000 square miles.

However, as the bishop said to the actress - size isn't everything. So let's look the other way. Angola - now the African homeland of the notorious gangster Tom "Knuckles" Gowans covers an area of 481,354 square miles. Angola is therefore twice as big as France (246,201 square miles). Monsieur Robert Brague inhabits the state of Georgia in America which at 59,425 square miles is over four times smaller than France. The USA is in total 3,794,101 square miles and Shirley and I will be viewing some of those square miles in June when we catch the ferry from Vancouver Island to Port Angeles in Washington state (at 71,300 square miles somewhat bigger than Brague's Georgia).

I always believed that New Zealand and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island were roughly the same size but Katherine de Chevalle and the itinerant GB may be pleased to learn that the Land of the Long White Cloud is in fact bigger at 103,483 square miles. The so-called "UK" (I dislike that appellation) is only 94,060 square miles. Interestingly, though our countries are of a similar size, NZ's population is only 4.5 million compared with the United Kingdom's 64.0 million. That's sixty million more people on less land. We are crawling all over each other!

Suddenly I feel like I am living on a tiny island but it is comforting to point out that this country is much bigger than the teeny weeny Netherlands - only 16,039 square miles. And another European country - San Marino is a laughable 24 square miles making the United Kingdom look like Russia when seen in comparison. It piques me greatly to finally appreciate that France is two and a half times bigger than the "UK". Librarian's Germany is 137,847 sq miles - getting on for half the size of France.

These are facts. Geography lesson over for today.

25 comments:

  1. It looks as if the Russians have withdrawn several thousand troops. I hope so.

    It is that old devil Mercator who is to blame for folk getting confused about the relative size of countries. It is silly projecting a sphere onto a cylinder and expecting it to look right.

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    1. So true ... and very difficult to explain to 11 year old children who look at an atlas and compare Greenland and Australia!

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  2. Adrian is spot on about the Mercator projection. Greenland is nowhere near the size of Australia.

    On another note, it is good to see someone use the word pique correctly.

    And re the U.K. versus New Zealand, yes, but New Zealand has all those sheep.

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    1. I too thought that Pique had Nelson in front.
      Texas might look small but it's where Paris is.

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    2. Oops RWP, I should have scrolled down before I commented on Adrian comment !! Oh well old teachers minds think alike.

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    3. and RWP, be careful what you say about New Zealanders and sheep. They get a bit sensitive !!

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    4. The New Zealanders that is, not the sheep !!!

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  3. I thought Pique was a racing driver? Never mind.

    Angola did turn out to be a lot bigger than I expected, mind you, so did Texas but that could be because the freeways were the dullest I'd ever driven on.

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    1. Piquet (/ˈpɪkɨt/; French pronunciation: ​[pike]) is an early 16th-century trick-taking card game for two players. And most importantly it has a t at the end of it like the two Brazilian F! drivers of that name.

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  4. Your exemplary geography lesson induced me to compare the sizes of Baden-Württemberg (my part of Germany) and Yorkshire. I would have expected them to be of similar size and was surprised to find out that BaWü is more than 3 times the size of Yorkshire. Good job that feeling at home somewhere (which is very much true for me for both of them) does not depend on the size of the place.

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    1. Yes - Baden-Württemberg is big isn't it! But to claim it is THREE times as big as Yorkshire (1901 boundaries) is an outrageous untruth. Yorkshire 15,718 km2
      Baden-Württemberg35,751.65 km2
      True Yorkshire folk do not accept the boundary changes cunningly foisted upon us by London bureaucrats in the early nineteen seventies.

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    2. Well, I had to base my numbers on what I found on wikipedia, and there (on the German site) it states 11.903 km² for Yorkshire. That would make Baden-Württemberg more than 3 times larger. Good to know wikipedia isn't always right! (I knew that before. Just had it confirmed once more by your reply.)

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    3. The problem with comparing places and choosing the dates for convenience is that one immediately potentially falls into the lies, damned lies and statistics trap. Being a Lancastrian by birth (and I do not subscribe to the view that because one is born in a kennel one is necessarily a dog) my knowledge of Yorkshire (apart from the fact that they were defeated in the Wars of the Roses and that they used to have Ridings) is poor. However if one goes back far enough I suspect that it was divided up into much smaller areas. I'm open to correction (and haven't checked) but I would hazard a guess that if YP has chosen the 1901 boundaries they will be when Yorkshire was at its largest.

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  5. No China? I think Indonesia is the most densely populated country if my memory is correct. And since we are discussing geography ~ where is New Zealand? I don't believe it shows on Australian maps of the world.

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    1. Look out Carol, you'll have Katherine after your blood !!

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    2. In Indonesia there are 322.87 people per square mile. That makes it the 90th most densely populated nation on the planet. Macau is the most densely populated with 51,978 people per square mile. Australia comes in at 236th with only 8 people per square mile - just behind Iceland.

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  6. Really interesting stats there today YP. I had never thought of the comparative size of NZ and the UK ( sorry !). Angola really surprised me . I must look at my globe more often, these flat maps are so deceiving.

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    1. Helen - you have left several comments in relation to this post. Thank you for your interest. It is nice to see someone getting excited about land area rather than the latest episode of "Neighbours"!

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  7. Obviously living in both the UK (Scotland still being part of the UK at the moment) and New Zealand I was aware of the relative size of the two countries. Several comments from across the Tasman mentioned sheep and NZ. The number of sheep per person has plummeted in NZ. The usual quoted number of sheep per person in NZ is 20. I've just looked it up and it's now only 7. Likewise the sheep population of Australia has fallen and there are now only 3 sheep per person in Oz. Didn't you all want to know that?

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