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14 Amusing Geography Fails

There is a popular saying that the World is small. But, it’s actually big, really big. With roughly 196 countries (UN recognized), countless cities, and their constantly shifting borders, keeping up on your geography can be difficult. But, sometimes it just crosses the line from an honest mistake to hilarious ignorance. Here is a list comprising silly geographical mistakes that will surely make you laugh.

14. MSNBC’s location of Kenya

In the wake of Westgate Mall shooting in Nairobi, Kenya on September 21, 2013, the MSNBC reporter Toure Neblett claimed that Kenya is located on the northern coast of Africa right next door to Somalia. While reporting on the incident, Toure made a hilarious mistake by placing Kenya, which actually is in East Africa, in the northern coast of Africa. Toure was the former host of MSNBC’s The Cycle which was cancelled in 2015.

13. CNN’s mistaken location of Tripoli

In 2011, Libya was the center of attention for international broadcasting channels due to military confrontation in Tripoli between pro Muammar Gaddafi and the National Transitional Council, who were attempting to overthrow Gaddafi and take control of the capital.

In a CNN update on the current events, they mistakenly displayed Tripoli over in Lebanon. To add a visual aid in the matter, they tried to illustrate Libya and Tripoli on a map which soon went horribly wrong as they planted the north African country in a whole different continent.

12. Fox News’ Egypt Graphic Fail

In 2011, the Social media abrupt over an image from Fox News showing a map of the Middle East. The map showed Egypt an African country as being where Iraq should be in the West Asia or the middle east. The focal point of the news was that the image was originally circulated two years ago. So to conclude it all, this may have been a legitimate blunder by Fox news, but surly for the first time, don’t you think.

11. The Sporting World’s National Anthem Fails

There are total 196 countries in the world today (UN recognized), well, there is nothing new in this, but it might explain the case of mistaken nationality. Being a citizen of developing country and especially from a non-geographically significant nation, not only most people will fail to locate your nation on a map – they often confuse you with other nationalities.

Read: 25 Most Powerful Countries In The World

One such embarrassing event occurred during the 2015 National Athletics Championship in China, when a Ukrainian athlete was forced to accept his gold medal while there was Uzbek national anthem running in the background. In an another instance, during a medal ceremony at the Youth and Juniors European Sambo Championships held in Novi Sad, Serbia an Azerbaijani athlete had to receive his gold medal while listening to the Armenian national anthem.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been at war for nearly two decades. But at least these are real national anthems which gets mixed up. The same can’t be said for Kazakhstan though. Ever since 2006, when the burlesque movie Borat was released, medal ceremonies now and then have repeatedly honored or embarrassed Kazakh athletes with its fake anthem from the movie.

10. Chechnya or The Czech Republic

As soon as the news spread out that Boston bombings were carried out by terrorist from Chechnya origin, a popular social media site gets flooded with loathing and ill willing comments against The Czech Republic. Wait, what? For those who still didn’t get it, Chechnya is a Russian province in the southern most part of the eastern Europe. On the other hand, The Czech Republic is a central European country.

On April 15, 2013, two bombs exploded at the podium of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring over 250 persons. It was quickly concluded that the suspects were from a troubled province of Russia, famous for its wars and troubled history, Chechnya.

Well, reasonably, many Americans raised their concerns and some even took it to social media to vent their rage against the attack, but, unfortunately against the completely different and unrelated European nation The Czech Republic.

9. Westboro Baptist Protests The Wrong Country

The Westboro Baptist Church is widely known for their hate speech, insane stunts, and blocking military funerals. They also protest America and other countries with gay-tolerant laws in the most dreadful way possible. It all starts with Ireland legalizing same sex marriage in 2015 and the Church almost instantly decided to protest.

They promptly released a video, with the intention of mocking Ireland and Irish flag. But, it seems that they didn’t do their homework properly and picked up the wrong flag. The Irish and Ivory coast share an almost same national flag, with just a flip of colors. Because of the vast similarity between two flags, it is hard to tell them apart. So, the Westboro Baptist accidentally picks Ivory Coast instead and, what happened next is predictable.

8. The Scientist Whose Loose Geography Cost His Family £2 Million

What bad a weak geography can do to a computer scientist? In 2012, Denbighshire born scientist Michael Crowley-Milling—who helped invent the world’s first ever computer touchscreen died, leaving millions. In his will, he specifically stated that all his wealth “within the UK” would be left to the Royal Society. Unfortunately, half or most of his wealth were in the British Isles of Jersey and the Isle of Man.

Although part of the British Isles and protected by the UK, Jersey and the Isle of Mann are Crown dependencies. After, the mistake was discovered by Mr Crowley-Milling’s family, they claimed his offshore £1m assets that triggered a legal battle between the professor’s family and the Royal Society. After many months and hundreds of thousands in legal fees, the courts sided with the Royal Society costing his family £2 Million.

7. CNN Moves Ukraine To Pakistan

In 2014, during a news airing on the ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region, CNN produced a handy map to provide their viewers with a visual aid. Unfortunately, the map zoomed into the Asian region instead of Europe. It round up to Pakistan.

Well, this wasn’t the first time that CNN had made a serious mistake. In the same year, they’d produced their own version of map locating London in the wrong part of Britain, and in 2013, placed Hong Kong in South America.

On a different note, a study published by the Washington Post prior to the CNN mistake asked Americans to place Ukraine on a map. Most opted to place it – somewhere right near Pakistan.

6. Venezuela Belongs To The Peruvian People

Believe it or not that’s true. Ha! We are just kidding. In 2007, the former vice president of the United States Dick Cheney during a foreign policy speech in Dallas, Texas, criticized the former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and said “the people of Peru deserve better”. 

He also added that “The people of Peru, I think, deserve better in their leadership. But that’s obviously a matter, they’ve got to resolve for themselves.” Peru is over 800 kilometers (500 mi) from Venezuela, with Colombia and Ecuador both lying between them. Heads-up, Mr Chavez was among the most unpopular figure in the Bush administration with his socialist ideology and anti-American thinking.

5. Obama Moves The Falkland Islands To Asia

The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean with a total area of 4,700 square miles (12,000 square kilometres), comprises of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 other smaller islands. For a long period of time, these Islands have been a central point of tension between Argentina and United Kingdom. Officially, the Islands are a British overseas territory, administered by U.K, the same way U.S administer Guam.

But, in Buenos Aires, the Falklands are known by its Spanish name Las Malvinas and considered an integral part of Argentina. The dispute between the two countries led to the Falkland War of 1982. America vowed to be a neutral in this conflict, but later provided material support to the UK. That’s a whole different thing.

Anyway, recently at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia in 2012, former president Barak Obama instead of calling Falklands by its Spanish name, referred to the islands as the Maldives, a group of atolls that lie off the Southern coast of India. The gaffe was so huge that the British press claimed it made Obama look more accident-prone than George W. Bush.

4. Rick Perry’s hilarious geography

In 2011, the former Governor of Texas, Rick Perry identified Juarez, a Mexican city which lies across the Rio Grande, south of El Paso, Texas as “the most dangerous city in America.”. If you think that was a big gaffe on the part of Mr. Perry, then here is an another one.

In the same year, while criticizing the green energy policy, he gave birth to a whole new nation. Halfway through his speech, he made a gaffe nation, his exact word were “I want to say it was over $500 million that went to the country Solynda.” Solynda was actually a solar energy company that went down after receiving over $500 million in federal loan guarantees.

3. Nicaragua Accidentally Invades Costa Rica

Well, this might not entirely a gaffe and a demonstration of territorial sabotage, we never know. In 2010, Nicaraguan military commander Eden Pastora invades the Costa Rican territory and order troops to take down Costa Rican flags in the territory. The important thing was that the invasion was carried on the basis of faulty google maps. It led to discord between the neighboring countries for nearly five years. Finally, in December 2015, thing were resolved, when the International Court of Justice ruled that the disputed area definitely belonged to Costa Rica.

2. Nearly Everyone On Earth Gets Slovakia Wrong

The two countries share the same continent, similar locations, identical histories, also shares a fate alike. In June 1991, a tiny province of Slovenia became independent in a Ten-Day War. Two years later, after the Velvet Revolution in late 80s, Slovakia peacefully disintegrated from Czech Republic, thereby dissolving Czechoslovakia. Whether it’s their history or geography, they are more or less identical.

Both countries are situated in Eastern Europe, both were once ruled by communist governments. These two nations also have flags that are made of three horizontal stripes in red, white, and blue in ascending order, and also decorated with a shield. Since their independence, each of them has been embarrassed and humiliated unintentionally on international stages. 

In 1999, the former president and then Texas governor, George W. Bush, jeopardize a Slovak reporter by saying “the only thing I know about Slovakia is what I learned firsthand from your foreign minister, who came to Texas. But the fact was, Bush had not met the foreign minister of Slovakia, but the then prime minister of Slovenia.

Read: Top 30 Failed Technology Predictions by Tech Leaders

In 2004, Slovenia got so fed up that they even start considering their flag redesign to solve their current identity crisis. Just imagine how humiliated you will feel if someone repeatedly associate yourself with a nation that you never even been into.

1. What is Aleppo?

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Seriously, what is Aleppo? Well, the question should be where is Aleppo as it’s one of the most prominent cities in Syria. But, for the 29th Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson the city of Aleppo is certainly a thing that he is not aware of.

While on MSNBC, “What is Aleppo” that’s what he said on how as the president, he will address the refugee crisis in the war-torn Syrian city. After MSNBC commentator emphasize whether he was serious Mr. Johnson indicated that he was really not aware of the city. When they explained the whereabouts of Aleppo, it was too late for him to recover.