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Circle, square, rectangle, even a trapezoid, these are the shapes we are taught in school. We are given a half dozen formulas and measurements to evaluate the area, the circumference, the angle… the dreaded sine and cosine! But in reality, nature doesn’t play by the rules of perfect shapes. Rocks, trees, caves, shells… nature doesn’t deal in perfect shapes. There are curves, valleys, divets, protrusions. And apparently so true when it comes to the settlement of borders!

Humans created borders. These aren’t natural. Nothing, nowhere, ever in the history of the universe did it ever state that land masses be divided into geo-political shapes. And yet, that’s exactly what our short-sighted ancestors did. They chopped, carved and otherwise autopsied the earth. The result? A hodgepodge of strange shaped countries that defy logic!

A little over a year ago a friend of mine told me about the game Worldle. Each day an outline of a country is displayed and you are awarded six opportunities to guess the country. I enjoy the challenge. But what I enjoy above and beyond said challenge is the discovery of the absolutely sublime and ridiculous shapes of our national boundaries.

Thanks to this game, I’ve expanded my knowledge of world geography, capital cities, population densities and currencies. (Thanks to the bonus questions!) I am also amazed at how many countries I can guess when the country is in Europe or North/South America. Show me a country outline from Africa, the Middle East or Asia and most of the time I am guessing with the best deductive reasoning I can summon. I find that speaks volumes to which countries are decided to be “important” in our educational system. Therefore, I am determined to be able to identify any country by it’s outline regardless. It may take a few more years of Worlde to get there and I challenge you to play against me!

Here are some of my favorite unusual country shapes:

The Gambia: A worm?

Senegal: Eating the aforementioned worm?

Benin: A tree!

Morocco: A sultans leg to dance with Italy’s boot?

Vietnam: A small intestine?

Croatia: A ballet dancer jumping

Slovenia: Why did the chicken cross the raod?

Cyprus: Some kind of sea creature!

Chile: An old hockey stick

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