The Largest Countries In The World

The surface area around the globe is 510,072,000 square kilometers. 150 million square kilometers or 29% is land, and remaining 71%, water. These ten largest countries in the world cover nearly 50% of the land area.

The list ranks countries by landmass and a region of sea extending out to its continental shelf. If measuring a country only by land area, China would be the second largest country, followed by the United States, then Canada. Russia, Canada and the United States rank top three since mid-1900s when Alaska was incorporated into the US.

1. Russia - 17,098,242

Russia is a transcontinental country

Russia is by-far the largest country in the world, covering over 17 million square kilometers of land. The transcontinental country extends halfway around the northern hemisphere, over much of Europe and whole of North Asia. It boasts 11 time zones, and borders 14 different countries. Russia's runner-up, Canada, barely reaches-over half of Russia's size in land area. The country covers 1/8 out of world's all inhabitable land, while of its own area, only 4.21% is water.

A pin marking Russia's location
A pin marking Russia's location

Russia undergone vast territorial expansion over a period of time. Its many principalities were at  war before Moscow was established principal and began uniting the country. In the 15th century, Russian Cossacks obtained the long-desired Far East and Siberia that make-up over three quarters of Russia's territory today. The warring country today also grew by 27,000 square kilometers more of annexed Crimea from Ukraine.  

       Siberian Federal District        Historical Russian Siberia        North Asia (greatest extent of Siberia)
      From darkest to lightest: the Siberian Federal District, the Historical Russian Siberia, North Asia (greatest extent of Siberia)

The country is ruled by hard-handed and undisputed President Putin's for over a decade now, and years before that. Officially, "The Russian Federation," is known for vodka, Siberia winters and wool hats, beautiful architecture, and nature. The vast Siberia is partly Russia's, with year-round average temperature -50 degrees Celsius and Oymyakon village where people actually "shiver to live." The beautiful Saint Petersburg is romanticized even by the Russians for riverside strolls, canals, white nights, and myriad of "happening" attractions in the port Metropolitan.

Population: 143,400,000

2. Canada - 9,984,670

map showing north america and canada
Map showing Canada's location in North America

The world's second largest country is the largest of the Americas with nearly 10 million km.sq. of terrestrial area of which 8,93% is water. Canada was first inhabited by the Inuit in the north, and Native Americans around. Frenchman Jacques Cartier navigated the great entrance via the Saint Lawrence River in 1534 and claimed the shores for the French crown, followed by more English and French settlers. Diplomatic and military matters pertained to the British, and the territory was contested land with Civil Wars. Divided times again, but managing to stay collectively, "Canada" became self-governing under the British Crown in 1931.

Aerial view of Montreal showing the Biosphere Environment Museum and Saint Lawrence River during Fall season in Quebec, Canada.
Aerial view of Montreal showing the Biosphere Environment Museum and Saint Lawrence River during Fall season in Quebec, Canada

The head of state and King of Canada is His Majesty King Charles III, upon recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8, 2022.Although Canada is so big, a lot of it is uninhabitable land of boundless wilderness and freezing-cold northern territories. It is one of the most-sparsely populated countries in the world, with only 4 people per square kilometer. 

Aerial East Coast and Skerwink trail with small beach homes near Port Rexton Newfoundland Canada
Aerial East Coast and Skerwink trail with small beach homes near Port Rexton Newfoundland Canada

Canada is proud home to the world's longest coastline, and immensely- beautiful nature all-across with glaciers, Rocky Mountains, mid-prairies, and scenic coastal towns along the eastern stretch. There is the stunningly-modern Montreal and historic Quebec City in the French province of Quebec. There is also the scenic Canada Railway, and popular road-trips to see the vastly-diverse nature, history, and cultural sights.

Population: 38,200,000

3. United States of America - 9,826,675

Map of the USA
Map of the USA

Continental United States covers the area of 9.6-some million square kilometers. The territory comprises 48 contiguous states, the largest Alaska, off-the north westernmost corner of North America, and the state-island of Hawaii in the Pacific. North America was inhabited for around 12,000 years, discovered at the end of the 15th century, and gained independence from Britain in 1776. It was recognized by Great Britain in the Treaty of Paris in 1783, which concluded the American Revolutionary War, and doubled the colonies in size with extension past the Proclamation Line to the Mississippi.

Lexington, Massachusetts- July 10, 2013: Minuteman statue of Captain John Parker on the Village Green where the Battle of Lexington ignited the American Revolution on 19 April 1775 *
Minuteman statue of Captain John Parker on the Village Green where the Battle of Lexington ignited the American Revolution on 19 April 1775 

The greatest expansion doubling the country's territory occurred in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase. Annexation of the Republic of Texas in 1845 eventually led directly to obtaining land that is now the state of California. Manifest destiny in the 19th century propelled the westward expansion, while the Guano Islands Act helped the country expand beyond North America in 1856, culminating in annexation of Hawaii in 1898. Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1867. The country also owned the Panama Canal Zone between 1904 and 1979. The last state of the contiguous United States was admitted in 1912, and the fiftieth, in 1959.

PANAMA CITY, PANAMA - AUGUST 10, 2009: Panama canal and container loading area at Port of Balboa.
Panama canal and container loading area at Port of Balboa

It is a magnetic country, from the "new world", to the land of opportunity, to present-day dream-destination for the starry-eyed and developing nations. Canada's neighbour is most-known for the Times Square, coastal beaches, Hollywood and Las Vegas scenes, and much more. It is home to the Big Sur, the grand Canyon, sky-high skyscrapers, and supersized-everything, including gigantic shopping malls. The fascinating country is also home to a long list of secret hotspots yet to uncover. 

Population: 331,900,000

4. China - 9,706,961
China is the second largest Asian country after Russia

China is the largest country in Asia, boasting massive land where only 1.5% is water. Like Russia, China borders 14 countries, but covers only one time zone. The most-populated country in the world is also the its major economic power. The land of early civilization was inhabited for thousands of years, with many legacies shaping the country into present-day regions and cultures. China is home to ancient high traditions, and known-for cultural shifts, mysticism, and Mao's mastery as a ruler.   

Beijing, China - 13 November 2016: Forbidden City the imperial capitol of ancient Chinese dynasties in central Beijing. A large portrait of Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-Tung) at Tiananmen square.
Forbidden City, the imperial capitol of ancient Chinese dynasties in central Beijing. A large portrait of Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-Tung) at Tiananmen square.

The Zhou Dynasty (up-to 256 B.C.) established the capitals of Zongzhou and Chengzhou and expanded south and east. Following years of war, the king of Qin unified six powers in China as its self-proclaimed First Emperor. The Qui Dynasty (up-to 206 B.C.) expended in a military fashion under the Legalism doctrine. The Hun Dynasty (up-to 220 A.D.) expanded the country through migration and military expeditions, along with diplomacy and trade with Southeast Asia. 

States of the Western Zhou dynasty
States of the Western Zhou dynasty

For over 2000 years, elite of scholar-officials handled routine administrative tasks. The last, Qing Dynasty from 1636, was replaced by the Republic of China in 1912. The mainland turned into the People's Republic of China in 1949, and the Republic of China went to Taiwan. There is an ongoing dispute between PRC and the ROC for sole governance of the country, although the United Nations recognize former as China's representative since 1971. Hong Kong and Macau are administrative entities within since transferring sovereignty to China in 1997 and 1999 from the United Kingdom and Portugal respectively.

The Imperial Palace of The Qing Dynasty in Shenyang (Mukden Palace). Text on plaque translate into Enligh is Dazheng Hall. It is UNESCO World Heritage Site, built in 1625. located in Shenyang, China.
The Imperial Palace of The Qing Dynasty in Shenyang

There's also a quirky and stubborn side to China, rooted-in traditions and known for doing everything "my way or the highway" for centuries. The luring country is a tourist-magnet for cheap services, intrigue, and endless beauty. There's undeniable charm in the small mountainous villages surrounded by desert plains and rice-fields, with incredibly hard-working population keeping it all together.

Population: 1,412,400,000

5. Brazil - 8,514,877

Location of Brazil in South America
Location of Brazil in South America

The largest country in South America occupies over 47% of the continent and borders every other country except Ecuador and Chile. Brazil comprises 26 states and one federal district, with the most-populous city of São Paulo. Within the last century, Brazil gained a wonderful blend of culture from high level of immigration. It is the largest country in the world that uses Portuguese as an official language, and boasts one of the most diverse populations.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 02-03-2020 - Cristo Redentor on Corcovado
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 02-03-2020 - Cristo Redentor on Corcovado

Brazil became so big primarily through timely independence movements, separating from Portugal in 1822, and not fragmenting into separate countries. It held onto identity and area over centuries and changing forms of government. The hegemonic country with a universal Portuguese language celebrated their 500th anniversary of contact with Portugal, and latter independence at the turn of the 21st century.

Aerial View of Green Mangrove Forest. Nature Landscape. Tropical Rainforest. Africa. Gambia. Senegal.
Amazon River in the Amazon Forest of Brazil

Brazil is known for stunning, white-sanded beaches, the huge statue of Jesus the Redeemer, and the colorfully-loud city of Rio de Janeiro. The deeply-historical country is a destination to behold with over 7,000 km of tropical beaches, vibrant cities, and beautifully-diverse natural landscapes. There is the Amazon River, the famous Iguaçu Falls, as well as the largest wetland in the world, the Pantanaal, spreading through Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay. Many also come for the samba, football, and the famous carnival, Rio Brazil

Population: 214,000,000

6. Australia - 7,741,220

Map of the Location of Australia
Map of the Location of Australia

Oceania's largest country sits entirely within Southern Hemisphere. It is the only "coterminous" country in the world, with no distinction where continent ends and country begins. Australia boasts deep history with first inhabitants dating back to 65,000 years ago when they migrated from Southeast Asia. The colonized country developed hundreds of distinct languages before seeing first European settlers in the early 17th century. Australia gained independence from Britain in 1901. It is one of the most world's most multicultural countries, and home to the longest continuous culture. 

The Sydney Opera House in Australia
The Sydney Opera House in Australia

The western boundary of the original New South Wales was extended to longitude 129° East in 1825. It is the current boundary of Western Australia, comprising the modern state, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and the Northern Territory. The colony of Victoria separated from the New South Wales in 1851. In 1890, a colonial politician said, "The crimson thread of kinship runs through us all...we must unite as one great Australian people." Colonial concerns about German and French eyeing the region led to a unified federated Australian defense force and single-gauge railway network for defense. May 1942 uniform tax laws gave all power to the Federal Government and reduced financial autonomy of the states.

Great Barrier Reef. Whitsundays. Queensland Australia
Great Barrier Reef in Whitsundays, Queensland Australia

There are no two states alike in Australië, and vibrant cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth, equally memorable to feel at home. The diverse landscape include the outback and bush wilderness, tons of white-sanded beaches, the Whitsunday Islands, and the Great Barrier Reef. The isolated "land down under" is a popular destination to let go "go wild", like spotting crocodiles and kangaroos, surfing, backpacking, and road-tripping in a rented camper van.  

Population: 25,700,000

7. India - 3,287,263

India is the world's 7th largest country.
India is the world's 7th largest country.

The second largest country in Asia is also the second most populous country in the world that is expected to surpass China's population count, while its land-area is almost half the size of 6th-ranked, Australia. India is bordered by more, populous countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, China, Nepal, and Pakistan. The country not for the faint-hearted, is subject to monsoons and hot weather, but with many must-see places and diverse topography.

Gateway of India was built by British raj in 1924,The structure is basalt arch, on December 6,2015 Mumbai, India
Gateway of India was built by British raj in 1924 in Mumbai, India

British India expanded beyond its company borders throughout the north during initial phase of crown rule, although northwest tribal frontier remained turbulent towards the settlers. Russian expansion into Central Asia in the 1860s provided great anxiety and incentive to advance the empire's frontier beyond the Hindu Kush mountain range, up to Afghanistan’s northern border along the Amu Darya. When the British Indian empire approached its outermost limits of expansion by the end of the century, "the institutional seed of the largest of its national successors was sown." India gained independence from Pakistan in 1947.

Part of the Amu Darya River
Part of the Amu Darya River

India is home to about 10% of water, deserts, beaches, and sections of the world's highest range, the beautiful Himalayas in the northern part. The capital of New Delhi is a municipality within the National Capital Territory. There is something magical and untouched about the land of the Mahatma Gandhi, despite grit and noise of the overcrowded, rather poor country. The thought-after destinations exemplifies true unity of faith, tradition, culture, and nature, along with magnificent architecture of ancient temples and golden palaces of Maharajas. 

Population: 1,393,400,000

8. Argentina - 2,780,400

Locator map of Argentina

Argentina is the second biggest country in South America. It is a long, protruding stretch of land extending into Patagonia, with Atlantic Ocean on the right and Pacific to the left. Argentina is traversed by the Andes Mountain Range, while sharing majority of the continent’s Southern Cone with Chile. Argentina also claims part of Antarctica's territory of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the South Sandwich Islands. 

A unique and beautiful scenery: a blue river in El Chaltén, Patagonia, and Mount Fitz Roy in the background. Located at the Southern Patagonic Andes between Chile and Argentina.
A unique and beautiful scenery: a blue river in El Chaltén, Patagonia, and Mount Fitz Roy in the background. Located at the Southern Patagonic Andes between Chile and Argentina.

The Europeans colonized the "vast tract of fertile land and a social and economic backwater" in 1580. Argentina is historically, a composed society with temperate character, and social and economic structures similar to the English colonies. The country lost some power from the institutional breakdown following WWI. Today the world’s eighth largest country is more extensive than Mexico and the U.S. state of Texas combined. 

Buenos Aires, National Congress building
National Congress building Buenos Aires

It is a fascinating country with rich culture and nice locals, where over 60% of the population has full or partial Italian ancestry. There is dazzling natural versatility due to the north to south layout, with everything from tundra to dehydrated plateaus, snow-topped peaks, forests, and tropical beaches with thousands of miles of ocean shoreline. The most "westernized" country in South America, is still authentic with clear evidence in atmospheric cities and cuisine.

Population: 45,800,000

9. Kazakhstan - 2,724,900

Khazakhstan location map
Khazakhstan location map

Kazakhstan is the largest, as well as most economically and politically powerful country in Central Asia. The largest country in the world without an ocean coast overspills into Eastern Europe and borders the Caspian Sea, Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. The country is known for one of the lowest population densities in the world, with 6 people per square kilometer. The landscape is uniform with a lot of desert in full snow-coverage during very cold winters. There are also seven National Parks, some fishing lakes, and many mountainous areas, with snow-capped peaks for skiing.

Panoramic view of Almaty city, Kazakhstan
Panoramic view of Almaty city, Kazakhstan

The largest and most populous city of Almaty served as the capital until 1997. Kazakhstan was part of the Soviet Union, and last to declare independence from it, in 1991. Kazakhstan is home to the famous comedian Borat, and the Russian space base “Baikonur Cosmodrome." The Kazakhs, translating to "itinerant bums", were first humans who tamed horses to travel through the vast plains. Today, Kazakhstan is unexpectedly cosmopolitan, with cultures ranging from Russians, to Chinese, to the Caspian Sea-origin. Almaty is the cultural heart and hub with many trendy cafes, beautiful fountains, lush parks, and expansive boulevards. The new capital of Astana is the emerging metropolis in more recent years. 

USSR - CIRCA 1987: A stamp printed in USSR shows Lenin planning strategy with two generals. 70th anniversary of the Russian revolution, circa 1987.
A stamp printed in USSR shows Lenin planning strategy with two generals, 70th anniversary of the Russian revolution, circa 1987

There were recent, concerning claims by Russian politicians and journalists that Kazakhstan did not exist before the Russians' arrival and that its territory was a gift from Russia and the USSR. Similar statements that "half of Ukraine is also a gift from Russia" furthered the anxiety, with conflict, annexed Crimea, and now, the war between the two countries.

Population: 19,000,000

10. Algeria - 2,381,741

Algeria is Africa's largest country.
Algeria is Africa's largest country.

Algeria is the largest country in Africa, located in the north of the continent. It bounds the Mediterranean Sea between Morocco and Tunisia with lands of fruit-bearing trees, like cherries and dates, and immense sands covering 90 percent of the country. Algeria's southern portion is dominated by deserts that transition into the northern part of the Saharan Desert below. The coastal plains in the north under Mediterranean influence, are separated by the Atlas mountains from the southern region.

The location of the Sahara Desert in Africa
The location of the Sahara Desert in Africa

Algeria was part of the Ottoman Empire, and a département of France during the French rule in the 19th century. French colonists modernized Algeria’s agricultural and commercial economy but lived separate and much better than the Algerian majority. Ethnic resentment spurred nationalists movement in the mid 1900s, turning into the war of independence from 1954 to '62. It ended with negotiations and independence, but French language and culture stuck around. The country spent last half of the 20th century restoring its Arab and Islamic roots while discovering riches in the oil, natural gas, and other mineral deposits-endowed interior of the country. By the early 21st century Algeria was among top thriving economies in Africa

Oran, Algeria
Oran, Algeria

Most Algerians occupy the fertile, northern coast of the glittering Mediterranean Sea with abundant fishing and year-round recreation galore. The northern portion of the country is Arab-Berber of Islam religion, and the official languages of Algeria are Arabic and Berber. Algerian Arabic is the most spoken language, while French is commonly used in administrative jobs and educational contexts.

Population: 44,600,000

These giants are the world's ten largest countries by land area. Sometimes, the size of the country is measured in terms of population where the "largest countries" are the most populous. Countries are also commonly ranked by wealth or Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Rankings are fluid rather than exact or definitive, providing an approximate comparison according to different sources and methods of measuring.

Rank Country Total area in km2 (mi2) Land in km2 (mi2) Water in km2 (mi2) % water
1 Russia 17,098,246 (6,601,670) 16,378,410 (6,323,740) 719,836 (277,930) 4.21
2 Canada 9,984,670 (3,855,100) 9,093,507 (3,511,023) 891,163 (344,080) 8.93
3 China 9,596,961 (3,705,407) 9,326,410 (3,600,950) 270,550 (104,460) 2.82
4 United States 9,525,067 (3,677,649) -9,833,517 (3,796,742) 9,147,593 (3,531,905) -9,147,643 (3,531,925) 377,424 (145,724) -685,924 (264,837) 3.96-6.97
5 Brazil 8,515,767 (3,287,956) 8,460,415 (3,266,584) 55,352 (21,372) 0.65
6 Australia 7,692,024 (2,969,907) 7,633,565 (2,947,336) 58,459 (22,571) 0.76
7 India 3,287,263 (1,269,219) 2,973,190 (1,147,960) 314,073 (121,264) 9.55
8 Argentina 2,780,400 (1,073,500) 2,736,690 (1,056,640) 43,710 (16,880) 1.57
9 Kazakhstan 2,724,900 (1,052,100) 2,699,700 (1,042,400) 25,200 (9,700) 0.92
10 Algeria 2,381,741 (919,595) 2,381,741 (919,595) 0 (0) 0
11 DR Congo 2,344,858 (905,355) 2,267,048 (875,312) 77,810 (30,040) 3.32
12 Kingdom of Denmark 2,220,093 (857,183) 2,220,072 (857,175) 21 (8.1) 0
13 Greenland (Denmark) 2,166,086 (836,330) 2,166,086 (836,330) 0 (0) 0
14 Saudi Arabia 2,149,690 (830,000) 2,149,690 (830,000) 0 (0) 0
15 Mexico 1,964,375 (758,449) 1,943,945 (750,561) 20,430 (7,890) 1.04
16 Indonesia 1,904,569 (735,358) 1,811,569 (699,451) 93,000 (36,000) 4.85
17 Sudan 1,861,484 (718,723) 1,731,671 (668,602) 129,813 (50,121) 6.97
18 Libya 1,759,540 (679,360) 1,759,540 (679,360) 0 (0) 0
19 Iran 1,648,195 (636,372) 1,531,595 (591,352) 116,600 (45,000) 7.07
20 Mongolia 1,564,110 (603,910) 1,553,556 (599,831) 10,560 (4,080) 0.68
21 Peru 1,285,216 (496,225) 1,279,996 (494,209) 5,220 (2,020) 0.41
22 Chad 1,284,000 (496,000) 1,259,200 (486,200) 24,800 (9,600) 1.93
23 Niger 1,267,000 (489,000) 1,266,700 (489,100) 300 (120) 0.02
24 Angola 1,246,700 (481,400) 1,246,700 (481,400) 0 (0) 0
25 Mali 1,240,192 (478,841) 1,220,190 (471,120) 20,002 (7,723) 1.61
26 South Africa 1,221,037 (471,445) 1,214,470 (468,910) 4,620 (1,780) 0.38
27 Colombia 1,141,748 (440,831) 1,038,700 (401,000) 100,210 (38,690) 8.8
28 Ethiopia 1,104,300 (426,400) 1,000,000 (390,000) 104,300 (40,300) 0.7
29 Bolivia 1,098,581 (424,164) 1,083,301 (418,265) 15,280 (5,900) 1.39
30 Mauritania 1,030,700 (398,000) 1,025,520 (395,960) 4,480 (1,730) 0.44
31 Egypt 1,002,450 (387,050) 995,450 (384,350) 6,000 (2,300) 0.6
32 Tanzania 945,087 (364,900) 885,800 (342,000) 61,500 (23,700) 6.49
33 Nigeria 923,768 (356,669) 910,768 (351,649) 13,000 (5,000) 1.41
34 Venezuela 916,445 (353,841) 882,050 (340,560) 30,000 (12,000) 3.29
35 Pakistan 881,913 (340,509) 856,690 (330,770) 25,223 (9,739) 2.86
36 Namibia 825,615 (318,772) 823,290 (317,870) 2,425 (936) 0.12
37 Mozambique 801,590 (309,500) 786,380 (303,620) 13,000 (5,000) 1.63
38 Turkey 783,562 (302,535) 769,632 (297,157) 13,930 (5,380) 1.78
39 Chile 756,102 (291,933) 743,812 (287,187) 12,290 (4,750) 1.63
40 Zambia 752,612 (290,585) 743,398 (287,028) 9,220 (3,560) 1.23
41 Myanmar 676,578 (261,228) 653,508 (252,321) 23,070 (8,910) 3.41
42 Afghanistan 652,867 (252,073) 652,867 (252,073) 0 (0) 0
43 South Sudan 644,329 (248,777) 644,329 (248,777) 0 (0) 0
44 France 640,679 (247,368) 640,427 (247,270) 3,374 (1,303) 0.52
43 Somalia 637,657 (246,201) 627,337 (242,216) 10,320 (3,980) 1.62
45 Central African Republic 622,984 (240,535) 622,984 (240,535) 0 (0) 0
46 Ukraine 603,550 (233,030) 579,300 (223,700) 24,250 (9,360) 4.01
47 Madagascar 587,041 (226,658) 581,540 (224,530) 5,501 (2,124) 0.94
48 Botswana 581,730 (224,610) 566,730 (218,820) 15,000 (5,800) 2.58
49 Kenya 580,367 (224,081) 569,140 (219,750) 11,227 (4,335) 1.93
50 Yemen 555,000 (214,000) 555,000 (214,000) 0 (0) 0