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Largest Countries in the World by Area


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Land Area (km2)

If you’re curious about the largest countries in the world by area, you’ve come to the right place. With so much landmass across the globe, it’s fascinating to explore the countries that take up the most space. In this article, we’ll be delving into the top 30 largest countries in the world by land area, as well as some interesting facts about each country.

From the frigid expanses of Russia to the deserts of Algeria, the world’s largest countries offer diverse landscapes, cultures, and histories. Whether you’re a geography enthusiast or someone who only wants to learn more about the world around you, this article will provide valuable insights into the countries that dominate the global map.

We’ll start by exploring the largest country in the world by land, Russia, and then work our way through the rest of the top 30. Along the way, we’ll share interesting facts about each country, such as its population, capital city, and unique landmarks.

By the end of this article, you’ll learn the sheer size of these countries and the fascinating stories that make them unique. So sit back, relax, and get ready to explore the world’s largest countries by land area.

How Do You Measure a Country’s Size?

When it comes to measuring the size of a country, there are several factors to consider. While land area, population, and economic performance established through the gross domestic product (GDP) are the most commonly used metrics, other factors like military strength and political influence also play a significant role.

Here are the factors for measuring a country’s size:

  • Land Area: The land area of a country is the total area of its landmass, including islands. This metric is usually measured in square kilometers or square miles. To get an accurate measurement, it’s critical to include all of the country’s land, including any disputed territories.
  • Population: The population of a country is the total number of people living within its borders. This metric is typically measured in millions or billions. For the measurement to be the most up-to-date, it’s vital to use the most current data from reliable sources.
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP): The GDP of a country is the total value of all goods and services produced within its borders over a certain period. This metric is usually given in billions or trillions of dollars. The official data from the country’s government or international organizations like the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund can provide an appropriate measurement for this.
  • Military Strength: A country’s military strength shows that country’s ability to defend itself and project its power. This metric includes the number of troops, tanks, planes, and other military assets a country has. The correct measurement includes not just the quantity but also the quality of a country’s military assets.
  • Political Influence: A country’s political influence surfaces the country’s ability to shape global events and policies. Some factors go into this metric: a country’s membership in international organizations, a country’s participation in global events, and its diplomatic relations with other countries. When incorporating this metric, the measurement considers the breadth and depth of a country’s political influence.

In conclusion, there are several ways to measure the size of a country, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. By considering multiple metrics and using reliable data sources, you can get a complete picture of a country’s size and significance. Let’s look into the largest 30 countries in the world by area. 

30 Largest Countries in the World by Area

In this chapter, we will look into the 30 largest countries in the world by area, in descending order. Please note that some of these countries have disputed borders, and the measurements used for the land area may vary depending on the source. Nevertheless, this list provides a general idea of the largest countries in the world by land area:

machu picchu

machu picchu Peru

#20 in Largest Countries by Area
With over 1.2 million square kilometers of diverse landscapes, this South American giant is a true marvel of nature.
LAND AREA
1,285,216 km²
CONTINENT
South America
CAPITAL
Lima

Peru is a fascinating country known for its rich culture, stunning landscapes, and historical treasures. The country is home to the Andes Mountains, which run through the center of the country and offer breathtaking scenery and adventurous activities. Peru is also renowned for its world-famous archaeological sites, such as Machu Picchu and the Nazca Lines, attracting thousands of tourists annually. 

The country offers a delicious cuisine, which is a fusion of indigenous and Spanish influences. The economy of Peru is diversified, with mining and agriculture being major sectors.

mongolia meadows

mongolia meadows Mongolia

#19 in Largest Countries by Area

Vast expanses of steppes, majestic mountains, and deserts covering over 1.5 million square kilometers: Mongolia is a nomad's paradise.

LAND AREA
1,564,116 km²
CONTINENT
East Asia
CAPITAL
Ulaanbaatar

Mongolia is landlocked with vast and rugged landscapes, nomadic culture, and unique wildlife. You may recognize the country from its attractions like the Gobi Desert, Lake Khovsgol, and the ancient city of Karakorum; or its cities Ulaanbaatar, Erdenet, and Darkhan. 

Mongolia’s economy heavily relies on mining, particularly copper and coal. Agriculture and tourism are also emerging industries. However, the country still faces economic challenges, such as inflation and a high poverty rate.

Persepolis, Iran

Persepolis, Iran Iran

#18 in Largest Countries by Area

Covering over 1.6 million square kilometers, Iran boasts a rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and modern cities.

LAND AREA
1,648,195 km²
CONTINENT
Western Asia
CAPITAL
Tehran

Iran holds historical and architectural richness with the ancient city of Persepolis, the Imam Reza Shrine, and the Naqsh-e Jahan SquareSome of its major cities are Tehran, Isfahan, and Mashhad.

Iran’s economy largely depends on its oil and gas industry, which accounts for a significant portion of its GDP. Other dominant industries include agriculture, mining, and manufacturing.

Libya coast

Libya coast Libya

#17 in Largest Countries by Area

Covering over 1.7 million square kilometers, the North African gem offers breathtaking landscapes, ancient ruins, and a rich cultural tapestry.

LAND AREA
1,759,540 km²
CONTINENT
North Africa
CAPITAL
Tripoli

Libya is a country with a rich history and culture that attracts tourists from all over the world. The ancient city of Leptis Magna is a significant archaeological site, and the Sahara Desert offers breathtaking views and opportunities for adventure. The Roman ruins at Sabraha also draw history enthusiasts. 

Libya’s cities, such as Tripoli, Benghazi, and Misrata, are not only important cultural and economic hubs but also have growing tourism industries.

The country’s economy is highly reliant on its oil exports, which makes it vulnerable to market fluctuations and other external factors.

Sudan view

Sudan view Sudan

#16 in Largest Countries by Area

Encompassing over 1.8 million square kilometers, this African nation boasts stunning landscapes, ancient ruins, and diverse traditions waiting to be explored.

LAND AREA
1,861,484 km²
CONTINENT
Southeast Africa
CAPITAL
Khartoum

With attractions such as the ancient city of Meroe, the Red Sea, and the Dinder National Park, Sudan offers visitors numerous experiences. Khartoum, Port Sudan, and Nyala are cultural and economic hubs with a growing tourism industry.

Sudan’s economy is largely based on agriculture, with crops such as cotton, sorghum, and sesame being the primary exports. The country also has significant oil reserves, but its production has been negatively impacted by conflict and sanctions. Sudan also faces other economic challenges, including inflation and a high poverty rate.

bikers in Kebumen, Indonesia

bikers in Kebumen, Indonesia Indonesia

#15 in Largest Countries by Area

Encompassing over 17,000 islands and covering 1.9 million square kilometers, Indonesia offers stunning landscapes, rich cultures, and a vibrant modern society.

LAND AREA
1,904,569 km²
CONTINENT
Southeast Asia
CAPITAL
Jakarta

Indonesia is an archipelagic country with beautiful beaches, a rich culture, and unique wildlife. Bali, Borobudur, and Komodo Island are some of the well-known attractions in the country. Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bandung are some of the famous Indonesian cities.

Indonesia’s economy is diverse, with agriculture, mining, and manufacturing being the major industries. The country is also a leading exporter of natural resources, including coal, palm oil, and rubber. The tourism industry is also significant, with Indonesia attracting millions of visitors each year.

urban view in Mexico

urban view in Mexico Mexico

#14 in Largest Countries by Area

Laying on diverse landscapes covering over 1.9 million square kilometers, Mexico swarms with ancient history, bustling cities, and breathtaking natural wonders waiting to be explored.

LAND AREA
1,964,375 km²
CONTINENT
North America
CAPITAL
Mexico City

Mexico houses numerous beaches, ancient ruins, and delicious cuisine. With world-famous attractions such as Chichen Itza, Tulum, and the beaches of Cancun, Mexico is an often-desired destination for travel and vacation.

Mexico’s economy is the second-largest in Latin America, with industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism playing major roles. The country is also a leading exporter of oil and gas, and its proximity to the US has made it a prime location for foreign investment. However, income inequality and corruption remain significant challenges.

Saudi Arabia urban view

Saudi Arabia urban view Saudi Arabia

#13 in Largest Countries by Area
This Middle Eastern country covers more than 2.1 million square kilometers and boasts a rich cultural legacy, modern urban centers, and breathtaking desert scenery.
LAND AREA
2,149,690 km²
CONTINENT
Western Asia
CAPITAL
Riyadh

The country has the largest economy in the Arab world. It is home to Makkah Royal Clock Tower, the Al-Masjid al-Haram mosque, and the ancient city of Al-Ula. Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam are centers for the oil industry.

Saudi Arabia’s economy is heavily reliant on oil exports, accounting for around 90% of its export earnings. However, the country is making efforts to diversify its economy, with initiatives such as Vision 2030 focusing on developing non-oil industries, including tourism and technology. Political and social reforms are also being implemented to support economic growth.

aurora borealis from Greenland

aurora borealis from Greenland Greenland

#12 in Largest Countries by Area
Covering an expansive area of over 2.1 million square kilometers, this land of ice and snow offers majestic fjords, stunning northern lights, and an abundance of outdoor activities.
LAND AREA
2,166,086 km²
CONTINENT
North America
CAPITAL
Nuuk

Greenland is the world’s largest non-continental island country with a small population and a predominantly fishing-based economy. Its rugged natural beauty, pristine glaciers, and unique Inuit culture make the country distinct. It offers amazing experiences like the Northern Lights, Disko Bay, and the Ilulissat Icefjord.

Greenland’s economy is primarily dependent on fishing, with seafood accounting for over 90% of its export revenue. The country is also exploring the potential for mining and hydrocarbon extraction. Despite its vast size, the population of Greenland is relatively small, and the economy faces challenges related to infrastructure and climate change.

Congo rainforest

Congo rainforest Democratic Republic of the Congo

#11 in Largest Countries by Area

 This vast nation spanning over 2.3 million square kilometers is home tolush rainforests, stunning waterfalls, and unique tribal communities.

LAND AREA
2,344,858 km²
CONTINENT
Central Africa
CAPITAL
Kinshasa

The country boasts a rich biodiversity, and stunning natural beauty, including lush rainforests, rare wildlife, and towering waterfalls. It is also home to diverse ethnic groups, each with its unique traditions and customs.

Despite its abundant resources, the country has long been plagued by conflict and instability, with ongoing issues related to poverty, corruption, and political unrest.

The economy of Congo mostly depends on mineral resources, with the country being one of the world’s largest producers of copper and cobalt. The country also has untapped potential in agriculture and tourism.

roofs of Algeria

roofs of Algeria Algeria

#10 in Largest Countries by Area

Spanning over 2.3 million square kilometers, Algeria boasts rugged coastlines, snow-capped mountains, and lush oases, along with a rich cultural heritage.

LAND AREA
2,381,741 km²
CONTINENT
North Africa
CAPITAL
Algiers

It’s a unique blend of Arab and Berber cultures, with historic landmarks, and the vast Sahara Desert. With iconic landmarks such as the ancient Roman ruins at Djemila, the Kasbah of Algiers, and the Tassili n’Ajjer National Park, Algeria offers visitors an unforgettable range of experiences.

Algeria has a mixed economy that is heavily reliant on its vast reserves of natural gas and oil. It is the third-largest gas supplier to Europe and has been investing heavily in renewable energy to diversify its energy mix. The country also has a burgeoning manufacturing sector, particularly in the automotive and electronics industries.

Bol'shoye Almatinskoye Ozero, Kazakhstan

Bol'shoye Almatinskoye Ozero, Kazakhstan Kazakhstan

#9 in Largest Countries by Area

This massive country spans over 2.7 million square kilometers and is known for its diverse culture, booming economy, and impressive infrastructure.

LAND AREA
2,724,900 km²
CONTINENT
Central Asia
CAPITAL
Nur-Sultan

Kazakhstan is famous for Charyn Canyon, Lake Kaindy, and the Kolsai Lakes. Its cities, such as Almaty and Nur-Sultan, are modern cultural hubs with thriving business environments. 

Kazakhstan has a rapidly growing economy driven by its abundant natural resources, particularly oil and gas. The country is the largest economy in Central Asia and has attracted significant foreign investment in recent years. It is also working to diversify its economy, with a focus on industries such as mining, agriculture, and technology.

CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina

CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina Argentina

#8 in Largest Countries by Area

At 2.78 million square kilometers, Argentina's vast land area provides breathtaking natural wonders and a rich cultural experience.

LAND AREA
2,780,400 km²
CONTINENT
South America
CAPITAL
Buenos Aires

Argentina has stunning landscapes and delicious cuisine. With iconic landmarks such as the Andes Mountains, Iguazu Falls, and Buenos Aires’ colorful streets, Argentina offers visitors an unforgettable range of experiences.

The country also has a rich cultural heritage, famous for its tango and gastronomy.

Argentina has a diverse economy, with major industries in agriculture, mining, and technology. Despite recent economic challenges, Argentina has a highly educated workforce and a growing startup culture, positioning itself as a leader in innovation in the Latin American region.

Varanasi

Varanasi India

#7 in Largest Countries by Area

At roughly 3.3 million square kilometers, India is a vast and fascinating country, home to diverse landscapes, religions, and languages.

LAND AREA
3,287,263 km²
CONTINENT
South Asia
CAPITAL
New Delhi

India is a culturally rich and diverse country known for its colorful traditions, breathtaking landscapes, and bustling cities. Taj Mahal, the Golden Temple, and the Red Fort offer visitors an unparalleled range of historical and cultural attractions. Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore are big cities with a growing technology industry. With a population of over 1.3 billion people, India is the second most populous country in the world. India is a top destination for business, tourism, and spiritual exploration.

India’s diverse economy, boosted by agriculture, services, and manufacturing sectors, is the world’s sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and the third-largest by purchasing power parity. The country has made significant progress in economic reforms and liberalization over the past few decades, attracting foreign investment and fostering entrepreneurship.

Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia Australia

#6 in Largest Countries by Area

Australia, a vast and beautiful country spanning 7.6 million square kilometers, boasts a rich culture, diverse wildlife, and a thriving economy.

LAND AREA
7,692,024 km²
CONTINENT
Oceania
CAPITAL
Canberra

Australia is famous for its stunning natural beauty, unique wildlife, and laid-back culture. The Sydney Opera House and Uluru are some landmarks from the country, and some infamous Australian beaches are the Gold Coast and the Great Barrier Reef. Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane are bustling cultural hubs with thriving food and arts scenes.

Australia is a welcoming and friendly country that offers a great quality of life and an abundance of opportunities. The strong economy of the country is sustained by mining, agriculture, and technology.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Brazil

#5 in Largest Countries by Area

Brazil's 8.5 million square kilometers encompass breathtaking landscapes, including the world-renowned Amazon rainforest. The country's economy is driven by agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism industries

LAND AREA
8,515,767 km²
CONTINENT
South America
CAPITAL
Brasília

Brazil is a vibrant and diverse country known for its breathtaking natural beauty and lively culture. With world-famous attractions such as the Amazon rainforest, Copacabana beach, and the Christ the Redeemer statue, Brazil offers visitors an unparalleled range of experiences. Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo have vivid music and art cultures.

Brazil is also a major producer of commodities such as coffee, soybeans, and sugar, giving it status in the global marketplace. With a population of over 211 million people, Brazil is the largest country in South America and a top destination for business, tourism, and adventure. 

Haikou, China

Haikou, China China

#4 in Largest Countries by Area
  1. China, spanning over 9.5 million square kilometers, offers an enchanting mix of ancient traditions, bustling metropolises, and awe-inspiring natural wonders.

LAND AREA
9,596,961 km²
CONTINENT
East Asia
CAPITAL
Beijing

China is a vast and populous country with a rich cultural heritage spanning over 5,000 years. Known for its iconic landmarks such as the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Warriors, China offers visitors an abundance of cultural and historical attractions.

With a booming economy, technological advancements, and big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, China is also a top destination for business and trade. With a population of over 1.4 billion people, China is the most populous country in the world and a major player in the global marketplace, as well as the fourth largest country in the world.

Times Square, NY

Times Square, NY United States

#3 in Largest Countries by Area

Stretching across 3.8 million square miles, the United States is a melting pot of cultures, natural wonders, and economic powerhouses.

LAND AREA
9,833,593 km²
CONTINENT
North America
CAPITAL
Washington, DC

The United States of America, the third largest country in the world, is a diverse and influential country boasting 50 states, each with its own unique culture and attractions. 

From the towering skyscrapers of New York City to the sunny beaches of California, the US offers an unparalleled range of destinations and experiences. Its history is reflected in landmarks such as the White House, the Statue of Liberty, and the Grand Canyon.

With a strong economy driven by industries such as technology, finance, and healthcare, the US is a global leader in innovation and business.  

Toronto, Canada

Toronto, Canada Canada

#2 in Largest Countries by Area

Canada's land area of 9.98 million square kilometers is home to a thriving economy, multicultural society, and stunning natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination.

LAND AREA
9,984,670 km²
CONTINENT
North America
CAPITAL
Ottawa

Canada, the second largest country in the world, is renowned for its natural beauty, multicultural population, and thriving economy. From the breathtaking Rocky Mountains to the picturesque coastal towns, Canada offers an abundance of outdoor activities and stunning landscapes. 

Its cities, such as Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, are vibrant cultural hubs with world-class museums, innovation-driven businesses, restaurants, and entertainment venues. With a diverse population and welcoming attitude, Canada is a great place to live, work, and visit.

Canada has a highly developed economy that is dominated by the service sector, particularly finance, insurance, and real estate. The country is also a major exporter of natural resources such as oil, gas, and timber.

Kremlin, Moscow, Russia

Kremlin, Moscow, Russia Russia

#1 in Largest Countries by Area

At a staggering 17.1 million square kilometers, Russia is a land of vastness and wonder, filled with unique cultural experiences, picturesque landscapes, and vibrant cities.

LAND AREA
17,098,242 km²
CONTINENT
Eurasia
CAPITAL
Moscow

Russia is the world’s largest country with a population of over 144 million people. Known for its rich cultural history, diverse landscape, and iconic landmarks such as Red Square and the Kremlin, Russia offers a unique travel experience for visitors. 

Russia is a resource-rich country with an economy heavily dependent on oil, natural gas, and other commodities. It is one of the largest producers of oil and natural gas in the world, making up a significant portion of its exports. The manufacturing industry is also important, particularly in sectors such as defense, transportation, and heavy machinery. However, Russia faces challenges such as high levels of corruption, an aging infrastructure, and a difficult business climate that can make it challenging for foreign investors. Additionally, sanctions imposed by Western countries in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine have also had a negative impact on the economy.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, the largest countries in the world by area offer a diverse range of cultures, landscapes, and economies. From the vast deserts of Saudi Arabia to the lush rainforests of Indonesia, these countries are home to millions of people and play a significant role in the global economy. Whether it’s the natural resources, tourism attractions, or historical significance, each of these countries offers something unique and unforgettable for travelers and adventurers alike.

FAQs

What is the most powerful country for its size?

It's worth noting that measuring a country's power can be subjective and difficult to define. Factors such as military strength, economic influence, cultural impact, and more are taken into account when it comes to measuring a country's power.

One country that frequently comes to mind is Singapore. Despite its small land area of only 728.3 km² and population of around 5.7 million, Singapore is considered one of the most powerful countries for its size. The city-state has a highly developed economy and is a hub for international trade and finance. It also has a strong military and maintains close ties with other powerful countries in the region, such as the United States and China.

What are some facts about the largest country in the world?

Russia is the largest country in the world by land area, covering a vast territory of 17,098,242 km². Here are some interesting facts about Russia:

  • Russia spans 11 time zones and stretches across two continents, Asia and Europe.
  • The country has a population of over 144 million people, making it the ninth most populous country in the world.
  • Russia is home to some of the world's most iconic landmarks, such as the Kremlin in Moscow, the Red Square, and the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.
  • The Trans-Siberian Railway, which is the longest railway line in the world, runs through Russia, covering a distance of 9,288 kilometers (5,772 miles).
  • Russia is also known for its natural wonders, such as Lake Baikal, the deepest and oldest lake in the world, and Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe.
  • The country is home to a widely-recognized cultural heritage that contributed significantly to literature, music, and art.
  • Russia is a major global power and is a member of the United Nations Security Council, G20, BRICS, and other international organizations.

What country has the most people per square?

The country with the densest population is Macau in China with 21.054 people per square kilometer. Monaco follows Macau with a population density of 19,493 people per square kilometer.

What are the largest countries in the world by area?

The largest 10 countries in the world by area are: 

  1. Russia - 17,098,242 km²
  2. Canada - 9,984,670 km²
  3. United States - 9,833,593 km²
  4. China - 9,596,961 km²
  5. Brazil - 8,515,767 km²
  6. Australia - 7,692,024 km²
  7. India - 3,287,263 km²
  8. Argentina - 2,780,400 km²
  9. Kazakhstan - 2,724,900 km²
  10. Algeria - 2,381,741 km²

Which country has the most land per person?

Greenland is the country has the most land per person with about 38 square kilometers per person. 

Which continent has the most countries among the largest countries by area?

Africa contains about 27% of the countries of the world, and 12 of those countries are among the largest countries by area. The largest countries in Africa are: 

  1. Algeria - 2,381,741 km²
  2. Democratic Republic of the Congo - 2,344,858 km²
  3. Sudan - 1,861,484 km²
  4. Libya - 1,759,540 km²
  5. Chad - 1,284,000 km²
  6. Niger - 1,267,000 km²
  7. Angola - 1,246,700 km²
  8. Mali - 1,240,192 km²
  9. South Africa - 1,219,090 km²
  10. Ethiopia - 1,104,300 km²
  11. Mauritania - 1,030,700 km²
  12. Egypt - 1,001,456 km²

How does the population of the largest countries compare to their size?

Population density is the measure of the number of people per unit area, typically expressed as people per square kilometer. It is calculated by dividing the population of a country by its land area.

Here are some examples of the population density of the largest countries in the world:

  • Russia: With a land area of 17.1 million square kilometers and a population of approximately 146 million, Russia has a population density of about 8.5 people per square kilometer.
  • Canada: With a land area of 9.9 million square kilometers and a population of approximately 38 million, Canada has a population density of about 3.8 people per square kilometer.
  • China: With a land area of 9.6 million square kilometers and a population of approximately 1.4 billion, China has a population density of about 146 people per square kilometer.
  • United States: With a land area of 9.8 million square kilometers and a population of approximately 332 million, the United States has a population density of about 34 people per square kilometer.

What are some of the challenges facing the largest countries?

One of the biggest challenges for many of these countries is maintaining economic growth while addressing issues such as income inequality, environmental sustainability, and political instability. In some cases, rapid population growth can strain resources and exacerbate social and economic inequality.

Another major challenge for many large countries is managing cultural diversity and promoting social cohesion. With diverse populations and multiple languages, cultures, and religions, these nations must balance the needs and interests of different groups while promoting a shared sense of national identity.

Geopolitical tensions and conflicts can also be a major challenge for large countries, particularly those with significant military power and strategic importance. Maintaining international relations, promoting peace and stability, and managing competing interests can be difficult, especially in regions with longstanding conflicts and geopolitical tensions.

Finally, rapid technological advancements and shifting global trends can also pose challenges for large countries. The pace of change can be difficult to manage, requiring governments to adapt quickly to new technologies and changing market conditions to stay competitive in the global economy.

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