The Letter "I" decorated in the features of Planet Earth.

Countries That Start With The Letter I

Did you know there are 8 countries in the world that start with the letter "I"? However, the "I" does not always sound the same, because the letter "I" represents different 'phonemes,' a term for the individual sounds that make up a word. For example, the "I" in "Big" and "Kite" is pronounced differently- the "I" in "big" is represented as /ɪ/ and the "I" in "kite" is written as /aɪ/ in the international phonetic alphabet.

The "I" sounds at the beginning of these countries' names are very common! In fact, they are used in 92% of over 3,000 languages and dialects spoken around the world, according to the linguists at

Also, did you know that in English, the letter "I" shows up in about 7.31% of all the words we use? That is something researchers at Cornell University found out. Yet, how these 3 countries got their names that start with "I" is a fascinating story, so keep reading to learn more.

Countries That Begin With The Letter I

Country Population I Phonemes
Iceland 375,318 /aɪ/
India 1,428,627,663 /ɪ/
Indonesia 277,534,122 /ɪ/
Iran 89,172,767 /ɪ/
Iraq 45,504,560 /ɪ/
Ireland 5,056,935 /aɪ/
Israel 9,174,520 /ɪ/
Italy 58,870,762 /ɪ/


Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland

According to Norse legend, the country of Iceland got its name from a Viking explorer named Naddador. He originally called the uninhabited land Snæland, meaning 'snow land' in Ancient Norse. Iceland is sometimes referred to as “the land of fire and ice" due to its abundance of icebergs and frigid weather.

Iceland can be found to the northeast of the United Kingdom. Its remote location and harsh environment have resulted in a spacely populated yet tight-knit country. Its capital city, Reykjavík, is the largest in Iceland and makes up more than a quarter of the total population.


Mumbai, India.
Mumbai, India.

The name “India” was derived from the River Indus. The country is known for its numerous festivals, including Diwali, Durga Puja, and Rakshabandhan, among others. India celebrates and adheres to festivals of all religions.

Located in southern Asia, India only just surpassed China as the most populated country on the planet in 2022. With more than 1.4 billion people calling India home, India has struggled to lift large segments of this population out of poverty but has made huge strides in the last few decades to assist its most disadvantaged citizens.


Jakarta, Indonesia.
Jakarta, Indonesia.

The title Indonesia originates from the combination of the Greek word "Indos" meaning India and the Latin word "nesos" meaning island. This name was only used until Indonesia became an independent country in the 20th century, Before this period it was often referred to as the Dutch East Indies.

Indonesia is one of the most densely populated countries on Earth with more than 277 million people living there. The country is largely made up of various island chains, many of which are volcanic and still active. The capital city of Jakarta can be found on one of the largest islands in the country, Java.


Tehran, Iran.
Tehran, Iran.

Iran's name originated from the time of the Sassanid Empire in the 3rd century AD. The literal translation into English means "land of the Aryans". Today, especially in the West, the mention of the word Aryan conjures up images of Adolf Hitler's ideology but in this instance, it has zero relation. In the Iranian context, the Aryans being mentioned are an ancient people who are thought to have settled in Ancient Persia.

Iran is located in the middle of various regions. To its west lies the Middle East, to the north Central Asia, and to the east, the Indian Subcontinent. Iran has long been at a crossroads of culture, faith, and language and as a result, boasts one of the richest and deepest cultures on Earth.


Baghdad, Iraq.
Baghdad, Iraq.

The name is Iraq comes from the Arabic word meaning "the fertile". This name is quite fitting considering the land located along the Tigris and Euraphetes Rivers is thought to be the birthplace of civilization more than 6000 years ago. In historical terms, this region is often called the Fertile Cresent.

Iraq can be found in the heart of the Middle East bordering Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, and Syria. The climate in Iraq is famously hot and dry all year round and receives little in the way of rainfall. Its capital city Baghdad is located right along the Tigris River and is one of the oldest cities in the region.


Dublin, Ireland.
Dublin, Ireland.

Ireland gets its name from the Gaelic word Eire. This means both "fertile land" and “land of abundance”. It is also supposed that Ireland could derive from the Pagan goddess Eriu, who once played a large role in a pre-Christian Ireland.

Ireland is an island country and only shares one border with Great Britain. The Emerald Isle is not known for having weather. It's relatively cold, rainy, and foggy for most of the year. Despite this, the warmness and charm of the Irish people more than makeup for it.


Tel-Aviv, Israel.
Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Israel can trace the origins of its name to Biblical times. Israel comes from the Hebrew word "yisra" which means to struggle and "el" which means God. This is often interpreted as meaning "to struggle with God."

Israel is situated in the Middle East bordering the countries of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and Gaza Strip. Its capital city Jerusalem is one of the most significant cities of all three Abrahabic faiths. Its holy sites are visited by millions of worshipers each year.


Rome, Italy

Italy supposedly gets its name from an ancient Italian king who was called Italos by the Greeks. This name then morphed into Italia during the times of the Romans, which was then Anglicized in later centuries into Italy.

Italy is located in southern Europe and is considered to be one of the cultural capitals of the world. The country's history stretches back to the 5th century BC, and it is credited with giving the world endless breakthroughs in art and cuisine.


All of the countries in the world that begin with the letter "I" are widespread. Located all across Asia and Europe, each of these countries has something unique and special to offer.


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