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Widest Countries

Name the countries that have the longest east/west spans.
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Span
Country
10,564 km
5,823 km
5,224 km
4,563 km
4,329 km
4,045 km
3,151 km
3,008 km
2,887 km
2,523 km
Span
Country
2,176 km
2,110 km
2,122 km
1,911 km
1,820 km
1,773 km
1,702 km
1,670 km
1,634 km
1,610 km
Answer Stats
Span
Country
% Correct
Your %
This quiz is based on original research. The distances are approximate, and may be slightly generous. Please let me know if I made any major mistakes.
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Aug 8, 2015
(75)
BTW, I am a bit skeptical of Morocco. How are we measuring this? Even Niger right next to it looks far wider. You cannot even draw a continuous line between Morocco's most eastern and western points, as the border with Mauritania does not allow it. If this is the case, then I think it is impossible for Morocco to make the list.
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Aug 9, 2015
(75)
I guess the continuous part just means water. So you take the largest mainland of the country and mark it's farthest east and west points, and measure the horizontal distance between them.
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Aug 9, 2015
Yes, this is correct. I'm struggling to find a succinct and accurate way to phrase this. We choose the eastern and westernmost points that exist on a continuous land mass, not including exclaves. Then I calculate the approximate width of this in miles.
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Aug 10, 2015
(18)
How about Western Sahara???
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Feb 15, 2016
(70)
Can you explain how you define the "width" of a country? I find some of your estimates quite generous indeed, especially for countries with high latitudes. For example, I find about 8000km for Russia and 5200 for Canada (which would be behind China).
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Aug 9, 2015
For the Russian mainland, I get a longitudinal span of 191.3 degrees. In your calculations did you take into account that Russia's easternmost point is actually in the western hemisphere?
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Aug 10, 2015
And yes, we take into account latitude, but use a generous estimate. I use the latitude of either the easternmost or westernmost point, whichever is closest to the equator.
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Aug 10, 2015
(70)
You're right, I also made a slight mistake. Wikipedia tells me that the westernmost point of mainland Russia is at 27°E, and the easternmost at 169°W, which would give a span of (180°-27°) + (180°-169°) = 164°, am I wrong? The wiki page does not give the latitude of those points, but I tend to choose an average value on the territory, which would be close to 60°N for Russia. So I guess we would finally get something like 9000km... the only sure thing is that Russia is by a long way the widest country ;).
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Aug 10, 2015
Sorry, that was a mistake. I get a longitude span of 164.017.
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Aug 10, 2015
(67)
The concept of "wide" means looking only from an east-west perspective. I've done a Longest Countries quiz that looks at the greatest distance from one end of each country's mainland to the other, regardless of compass direction. There is also means less debate about how to calculate the distances.
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Aug 10, 2015
(49)
Probably better using the longitude of each ends of the countries
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Oct 27, 2015
(53)
I am personally surprised that Morocco made the list and South Africa didn't. Could you check that, cause it doesn't seem right to me. Otherwise an interesting quiz.
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Oct 27, 2015
(44)
You should reverse Algeria and D.R. Congo, they are out of order.
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Oct 27, 2015
(65)
I don't understand how DRC is wider than Australia...
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Aug 9, 2015
(70)
Yes, DRC must be a "major mistake". I would estimate it around 2300km.
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Aug 9, 2015
I was going to write something about the Mercator projection, but actually I just made a mistake. This has been fixed.
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Aug 10, 2015
(21)
Yeah. That would have been funny given the fact that it is over 700km between Adelaide and Melbourne.
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May 22, 2016
(67)
The longest straight line across Canada I can get without transiting the sea is 4696 km, and for Russia it's 6623 km. It's tricky though, because the shortest east-west distance can be quite a bit longer than the shortest distance between the easternmost and westernmost points!!! especially for Russia. Try it out on a globe to see what I mean.
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Aug 9, 2015
(70)
The problem is, that the lines that can be considered as straight lines on a sphere are great circles, which parallels are not... That's why I maintain that the width of a country is not well-defined.
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Aug 9, 2015
(70)
After a bit of thinking, I'm sure that one must use the great-circle distance to get a somewhat pertinent result. It can prove to be surprising... for example, if you take a value of 164° for Russia's longitude span and a latitude of 60° for the extremities of the arc, it gives a value of... only 6600km, which is interestingly close to the value given by Jerry928. I will compute the values for the other top 5 countries. I use this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great-circle_distance
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Aug 10, 2015
(70)
Strangely, the USA are the most puzzling country, because the westernmost and eastermost points are both at high latitude and don't provide the highest distance between points on the west and east boundary of the 48 states... Once again, I don't think this is very well defined. It's a much more complicated problem than expected. Anyway, here are my estimates: 1) Russia: 6200km ; 2) China and Canada: both very close to 5000km ; 4) USA: between 4400km and 4700km ; 5) Brazil: 4250km
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Aug 10, 2015
(70)
Oh, and this is quite helpful to understand the difference between the orthodromic distance, which is the only true distance on a sphere, and the loxodrome (or rhumb line), i.e. a straight line on a Mercator projection. http://www.sciences.univ-nantes.fr/sites/genevieve_tulloue/Meca/RefTerre/Orthodromie1.php
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Aug 10, 2015
I did find a couple errors in my calculations, but I think they are closer to accurate now. For Russia, I get a longitude span of 164.017 degrees. I used the latitude of the easternmost point of 54.65. Approximating a degree as 69.172 miles, gives me this formula for the span: 69.172 * 164.017 * cos(54.65) = 6564.08 miles. Convert to kilometers to yield 10,564 kilometers.
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Aug 10, 2015
(70)
Like I said above, it's not reasonable to use the rhumb line distance (or at least, it is artificial). If you go from (27°E, 54,5°N) to (169°W, 54,5°N) by the shortest possible way on the surface of the earth, it will be 7800km long, not 10500. Seriously, my link above really helps realizing that.
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Aug 10, 2015
And yes we are using the rhumb line, even though it may not be the shortest line between two distances. Your great circle for Russia likely goes over the north pole, which explains why we are so far apart for that country. I think that violates the idea of traveling east-west, which really only works on a flat map.
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Aug 10, 2015
(70)
Ok, that's your quiz, you can of course make that choice, but I must admit that I don't like that. For me, if the line presents a maximum in latitude, it's sufficient for the idea of traveling east-west...
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Aug 10, 2015
p.s. Thanks for your help!
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Aug 10, 2015
(70)
You're welcome. It's fun to think about that problem (yes, I like maths ;) ).
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Aug 10, 2015
(71)
Don't change a thing...I got 100% on both.
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Aug 10, 2015
(70)
I was also wondering about South Africa. Using your definition, I find 1630km.
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Aug 10, 2015
I got 1,607.
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Aug 11, 2015
(56)
I was also thinking South Africa is wider, just did a simple straight line measurement from Alexander bay(just south of Namibia border) to the kosi river mouth (just south of the mozambique border) = 1630
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Oct 27, 2015
(61)
To be widest I presume means East to West along a latitude line and not crossing other countries in doing so. The best I can get on Google Earth is just over 1,600 km......... much like the answer given by Quizmaster.
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Nov 24, 2016
(27)
Because Lesotho is in the way
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Jan 13, 2017
(41)
Indonesia?
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Oct 27, 2015
(46)
Not on one landmass
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Jan 11, 2017
(43)
Full marks Broseph Stalins!
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Oct 27, 2015
(60)
Impressive. It's actually pulled ahead of the "Countries of the World" quiz.
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Oct 27, 2015
(40)
That's just based on today, not all time
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Oct 27, 2015
(62)
Very surprised Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan didn't make it.
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Nov 28, 2015
(59)
Same, and Ukraine maybe...?
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Nov 28, 2015
(58)
"Continuous" means, that Island Nations are fully excluded? Kiribati spanns over 4.000 km from east to west.
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Jan 24, 2016
(68)
"on the same land mass"
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Jan 25, 2016
(30)
why can't indonesia is not on the list? indonesia has a very wide area.
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Feb 15, 2016
(21)
Read the notes.
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May 22, 2016
(18)
And I thought I was good at geography! On the plus side, I typing in the least gotten country-Morocco. :D How is Indonesia not here though
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Feb 15, 2016
(21)
Read the notes.
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May 22, 2016
(22)
Indonesia should make the list. Unless you discount islands.
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Feb 15, 2016
(21)
Read the notes.
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May 22, 2016
(33)
Guessed them all but the United States!!
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Feb 16, 2016
(46)
The one country I missed was The United States, lol
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May 22, 2016
(36)
I can't believe I actually got all of them
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May 22, 2016
(30)
Enjoyed this one got Morocco with a minute to spare
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Oct 5, 2016
(60)
Is it possible not to think about Australia??? Helle yeah...
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Nov 24, 2016
(11)
Im A person
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Jan 11, 2017
(47)
At first I read it as "wildest" countries and wondered if it meant untamed nature or population
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Jan 11, 2017
(43)
Where is Indonesia??!
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Jan 12, 2017
(37)
I thought Argentina would be in the list :(
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Jan 12, 2017
(26)
iran
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Jan 13, 2017
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