The United Nations (UN) recognizes 195 countries or sovereign states, which includes 193 member states and 2 observer states. Of this total, 11 countries have names in the English language that contain 11 letters. These countries are listed below and grouped by continent.
Countries with 11 Letters by Continent
Five of the eleven countries with eleven letters in their name are located in Africa: Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Swaziland. However, Cote d’Ivoire, which is officially the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, would be omitted from the list of countries names with 11 letters if its less common English name (Ivory Coast) was considered. Also, Burkina Faso was added to the list of countries with 11 letters in 1984, following a change of name from Upper Volta, which had ten letters.
Three countries in Asia have eleven letters in their name: Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and the Philippines. All three countries are located in different parts of the continent, but their names loosely refer to a place. For instance, Afghanistan means "Land of the Afghans," Saudi Arabia means the "the Saudi Arab kingdom," and the Philippines was named after King Philip II of Spain.
Like Asia, three European countries have eleven letters in their name: the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Vatican City. The Netherlands was selected over its more informal name, Holland, which would appear on the list of country names with seven letters. Switzerland, which means the "land of the Swiss" is officially the Swiss Confederation and would be included on a list of country names with 18 letters. Vatican City, which is a UN non-member observer state, is officially Vatican City State, which is 16 letters in length.
Official Country Names
The number of letters in a country's name has been determined based on its commonly used name. For example, "Saudi Arabia" contains 11 letters, but the country's official name, the "Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" contains many more. Similarly, if the "Republic of South Africa" or the "Islamic Republic of Afghanistan" were counted instead of "South Africa" and "Afghanistan," respectively, the list would be much different. Additionally, words such as "the" that are sometime used in a country's name, such as "The Philippines" or "The Netherlands" have been excluded from letter totals.