Whether limited by natural borders, wars, treaties or other historic events, there are many factors that play and have played major roles in the formation of countries. And those many factors therefore primarily determine why some countries are bigger than others. The Top 10 largest countries in the world by area size all have an area size larger than 2 million square kilometers. The following shows you which countries made the Top 10.
The 10 Largest Countries by Area Size
Russia is, by far, the largest country in the world. At a total size of 17,098,246 km² / 6,601,670 mi², the country spans over 11 timezones. Russia borders 14 countries, which alongside China is the highest number of neighbors any country has in the world. Russia is also among the few bi-continental countries in the world. Around 75% of Russia lies in Asia, roughly 25% in Europe. The major population centers, however, can be found in the European part of Russia, including the capital of Moscow. Around 77% of Russia’s almost 147 million inhabitants live in the smaller European part, while only 23% of Russians call the very sparsely populated Asian part their home. Even if you’d split Russia into a European Russia and Asian Russia, both these new countries would still be their respective continent’s largest country.
Note: Russia is being counted in its current internationally recognized area. Despite the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014, the peninsula still officially belongs to Ukraine and is therefore not counted as Russian territory in this Top 10 largest countries ranking.
Canada is the second largest country in the world by area size. The North American country has an area size of 9,984,670 km² / 3,855,100 mi² and is only slightly off the ten million mark. Canada spans over 6 different timezones. It is also among the countries with the highest number of islands which contribute to Canada’s overall size. While the Canada’s northern shore reaches the Arctic Sea, the vast majority of Canadians live in the Southernmost parts of their country, right at or near the border with Canada’s only land neighbor – the United States. Canada’s capital Ottawa is consequently also located in the Southeastern part of the “Great White North” as Canada is known.
China is not only the most populous country in the world, it is also the world’s third largest country by area size. China stretches over a territory of 9,596,961 km² / 3,705,407 mi² which includes 5 different timezones. Like Russia, China has 14 neighboring countries. China additionally also has the world’s highest number of cities with a population over one million and the largest city in the world by population. That being said, most of the country’s population concentrates in the Eastern half of China. The country’s capital Beijing is also located in the East, in the Northeast to be more exact.
4. United States of America
Land size: 9,525,067 km² / 3,677,649 mi²
Continent: North America
Capital: Washington, D.C.
The United States of America are the fourth largest country in the world by area size. The total area size of the country, which not only includes the mainland but also the oversea territories, is 9,525,067 km² / 3,677,649 mi². This makes the USA only slightly smaller than China. If one would include the sea areas around the various U.S. island territories then the U.S. could even be seen as larger than China. The country shares two land borders: With Canada in the north and with Mexico in the south. The USA has 6 timezones and a very spread out population. Still, the largest concentration does live in the Eastern half and especially the Eastcoast of the country. It is also where the capital, Washington (D.C.) is located.
As the largest county in South America, Brazil is also the fifth largest country in the world. Brazil spans over an area of 8,515,767 km² / 3,287,956 mi² and 4 different timezones. The country, which includes the largest portion of the Amazon rain forest, borders a total of 10 other countries. Most of Brazil’s population lives near the shoreline. But the country’s capital of Brasilia can be found in almost the exact center of Brazil.
The 10 Largest Countries by Area Size
|Top 10 Largest Countries by Area Size:|
17,098,246 km² / 6,601,670 mi²
9,984,670 km² / 3,855,100 mi²
9,596,961 km² / 3,705,407 mi²
|4. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA|
9,525,067 km² / 3,677,649 mi²
|5. BRAZIL |
8,515,767 km² / 3,287,956 mi²
7,692,024 km² / 2,969,907 mi²
3,287,263 km² / 1,269,219 mi²
2,780,400 km² / 1,073,500 mi²
2,724,900 km² / 1,052,100 mi²
2,381,741 km² / 919,595 mi²
By the way, if you miss Greenland in this Top 10 largest countries ranking, the world’s largest island is actually not among the 10 largest countries, even though it seems it is if you look at a standard map. Responsible for this phenomenon is the so-called “Greenland problem” on Mercator maps which distort the actual size of countries the further away from the Equator they are
Greenland as part of the Kingdom of Denmark is “only” the 12th largest country in the world, slightly missing the Top 10 of largest countries.