The Prime Meridian is an imaginary south/north longitude line that divides the planet into two. The Prime Meridian stretches from the South Pole and passes through Greenwich’s Royal Observatory in England to the North Pole. The most commonly used meridian is the International Reference Meridian. There are eight nations located on the Prime Meridian: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Spain, Togo, and the United Kingdom.
Countries on the Prime Meridian
Algeria is a northwest African state situated in the Maghreb area. Algeria is the world’s tenth biggest nation and it occupies an area of about 919,595 square miles. Algeria became the biggest African state after the separation of South Sudan and Sudan in 2011. It is surrounded by Niger, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritius, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Western Saharan territory. It is a semi-presidential republic made up of 1,541 communes and 48 provinces. Algeria has the biggest defence budget in Africa and one of the largest militaries on the continent.
Burkina Faso is a West African landlocked state that occupies an area of about 105,900 square miles. Burkina Faso is bordered by Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin, Niger, and Mali. The state was renamed Burkina Faso by President Thomas Sankara on August 4, 1984. It is a francophone nation with their business and government language being French. The locals are referred to as the Burkinabes and the country has a population of over 20.1 million residents.
The United Kingdom
The United Kingdom (UK), commonly known as Britain, is a sovereign state that lies off the northwestern coast of the European mainland. The UK is made up of Great Britain Island, northeastern parts of Ireland and numerous other smaller islands. The only land boundary the country has is with Ireland. The United Kingdom has the world’s twelfth longest coastline which includes the Celtic Sea, English Channel, North Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean. It is the seventy-eighth biggest state in the world which occupies an area of about 93,600 square miles. The largest and capital city of Britain is London. London is UK’s financial center and global city with over 10.3 million residents.
The Prime Meridian passes through France from Villers-sur-Mer to Gavarnie. Villers-sur-Mer, a resort town, has a monument that recognizes the placement of the Prime Meridian.
Spain is on the Iberian Peninsula with its territory including two archipelagoes: the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands. The Melilla and Ceuta enclaves make the Kingdom of Spain the only state with a physical boundary with an African country (Morocco). Mainland Spain is bordered by Portugal, Andorra, France, Bay of Biscay, Gibraltar, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea. Spain is the biggest state in Southern Europe which occupies an area of about 195,360 square miles. Spain has a population of over 46.7 million residents.
When Was Greenwich Selected to Host the Prime Meridian?
The International Meridian Conference decided that Greenwich should be the Prime Meridian in 1884. Forty-one delegates from twenty-five countries met in Washington D.C. to vote for the adoption of the Greenwich in 1884. Twenty-two states voted in favor of the Greenwich becoming a Prime Meridian while France argued for a neutral line like the Bering Strait and the Azores, but they used the Paris Meridian until 1911.