The Thursday Quiz is a twelve item is-it-or-isn't-it test of your knowledge, reasoning, stamina, and moxie!
Remember always the Fundamental Rules of the Thursday Quiz:
1. The Thursday Quiz is a POP quiz. No research, Googling, Wikiing, or use of reference books. Violators will never be able to look at themselves in the mirror again.
Small Countries II
2. Don't get all stressed out about it! It's supposed to be fun!
Just like waay back in TQXIX, some of the following are bona fide independent countries, and the information presented about them is true. The others are NOT countries, and the information presented about this is a delicious brew of plausible untruth and devious misdirection. Oh, except I might have also taken a perfectly real country and made up a bunch of crap about it. Your task, just like in real life, is to tread the border between reality and madness.
Sorry there's so much text this week.
1. Anguilla. Capital: Princeton. Independent since: 1918. Excepting Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, Anguilla has the largest population in the Caribbean, the most important regional airport, and the most prestigious national university, and it serves as the headquarter for both the Caribbean Union and the regional free-trade association. Having shaken off French rule following World War I, it was also the first small-island country in the region to become independent. Ironically, because it has a well-rounded economy that is not completely dependent on tourism, Anguilla is less familiar in countries that think of the Caribbean simply as a playground.
2. Bhutan. Capital: Thimphu. Independent since: unknown. This isolated Himalayan country gets occasional great press for its pursuit of "Gross National Happiness" instead of conventional economic development, but at a second glance the mass expulsion of its Nepali minority population smacks of a less-fashionable ethnic cleansing.
3. Cameroon. Capital: Yaoundé. Independent since: 1960. This (mid-sized, really) African country enjoys more political and social stability than many of its African neighbors, which may or may not have brought well-being to the average citizen but which has certainly been to the benefit of oil and timber interests. Cameroon was formerly divided into British and French colonial sectors, and tensions between Anglophone and Francophone Cameroonians remain among the country's biggest political issues.
4. Cape Verde y Principe. Capital: Principe. Independent since: 1814. Though these mid-Atlantic islands were liberated from Portugal by the British in one of the many sideshows of the War of 1812, they have long maintained cultural and political connections to Lisbon. Once thriving ports-of-call for transatlantic trade -- Principe was the "principal" stop on the route from Europe to the Caribbean -- the islands lost much of their economic base when the development of steamships made a mid-crossing stopover unnecessary.
5. Dheshet. Capital: Amaninantu. Independent since: unknown. Nestled in the remotest reaches of the Himalayas, Dheshet is one of the few bona fide monarchies persisting in the modern world. Formally, its exports include barley, timber, gypsum, and potatoes, but let's get real: narcotics trafficking is almost certainly the greatest source of foreign currency. The local language, Peshian, is related to no other known dialect.
6. Gambia. Capital: Banjul. Independent since: 1965. Gambia -- or more properly "The Gambia" -- is the smallest country on the African mainland, consisting of a strip about 20 miles wide along the Gambia River. Peanuts are the main export crop, but there is plenty of subsistence agriculture in this reasonably peaceful and stable and somewhat politically repressive country.
7. Guinea-Bissau. Capital: Bissau. Independent since: 1974. Portuguese Guinea became independent after French Guinea did, so the larger of the two former colonies already had dibs on the name "Guinea." Guinea-Bissau, one of the poorest places in the world, continues to suffer the kinds of coups and assassinations that many African states have put behind them. The icing on the cake? It has recently emerged as a transshipment points for Latin American drug cartels.
8. Guyana. Capital: Georgetown. Independent since: 1966. With fewer than a million people, this small English-speaking country on South America's Caribbean coast has limited international clout and is perhaps best known for its tropical wildlife. Its cultural points of interest include such attractions as the world's largest all-wood cathedral and the world's fourth-longest floating bridge.
9. Oman. Capital: Muscat. Independent since: 1741 or so. Being the Middle East country that outsiders know the least about is a pretty good sign; Oman has been largely free of the kinds of strife and violence that have troubled many of its neighbors. Oil revenues have been good to the country, but diminishing reserves and a lack of economic diversity are often on the Sultan's mind. Oh, and speaking of the Sultan -- Oman has made some gestures towards democracy and representative government, but the monarchy here remains among the world's strongest, raising concerns about whether the country's stability will continue when the current highly capable leader goes the way of all kings.
10. San Marino. Capital: Dogana. Independent since: 301. Founded by a stonemason dodging a forced labor assignment from the soon-to-be Emperor Diocletian, spared by Napoleon after some skillful diplomatic sucking-up, exempted from Italian unification out of appreciation for sheltering people facing persecution because of their support for unification, this little neighborhood in the Apennines has had an unlikely path to nominal independence in the modern world. It maintains relations with more than 100 other countries and is a full member of most major international bodies; is everyone in San Marino an ambassador?
11. Turkmenistan. Capital: Tashkent. Independent since: 1983. When Turkmenistan was the first Central Asian province of the Soviet Union to declare its independence, western media heaped praise on the scrappy new country's national aspirations. Years later, this mountainous, semi-arid country is mired in a nightmarish totalitarian dictatorship. Officially, its level of wealth per capita is among the world's lowest, but off the record Turkmenistan is widely suspected of being the main source of uranium for Iran, its neighbor to the southwest. Some of the money from this illicit trade likely pays for the many heroic statues of the president-for-life that grace the boulevards of the capital.
12. Tuvalu. Capital: Funafuti. Independent since: 1978. With around 12,000 citizens, this Pacific Island nation beats out only The Vatican and Nauru in terms of total population. Since this population is spread out over 9 separate reefs and atolls, it is safe to assume that it's a country with a bit of a small-town feel. The highest point reaches an elevation of slightly over 4 meters, so Tuvalu keeps a close eye on the ocean levels and uses its status as member of international organizations to support action on global warning.
Submit your stodgy old answers in the comments.