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

Countries That Start With The Letter N

Out of the world's 195 countries, there are only 11 whose names start with the letter "N." However, even though the sound "N" starts with the names of only three countries in English, this same sound is used in roughly 78% of all languages!

Additionally, in English, the "N" sound appears in about 6.95% of all words. This fact comes from researchers at Cornell University. Yet, how these 11 countries got their names that start with "N" is a fascinating story, so keep reading to learn more.

All Countries That Begin With N

Country Population Area
Namibia 2,604,172 318,260 mi2
Nauru 12,780 8 mi2
Nepal 30,896,590 56,826 mi2
Netherlands 17,618,299 16,039 mi2
New Zealand 5,228,100 103,798 mi2
Nicaragua 7,046,310 50,336 mi2
Niger 27,202,843 489,191 mi2
Nigeria 223,804,632 356,668 mi2
North Korea 26,160,821 46,539 mi2
North Macedonia 2,085,679 9,927 mi2
Norway 5,474,360 125,020 mi2


Aerial city view of Windhoek at sunset. Image used under license from
Aerial city view of Windhoek at sunset. Image used under license from

Namibia gets its name from the Namibian Desert that blankets itself across most of the nation. The word "Namib" comes from the local Nama language and literally translates into "vast place" or "large place" in English.

Located in the southwest coast region of the continent of Africa is Namibia. Namibia is bordered by South Africa, Zambia, Angola, Botswana, and the Atlantic Ocean. The country’s largest and capital city is Windhoek which has about 431,000 residents.


A quiet beach in Nauru.
A quiet beach in Nauru.

The origins of where Nauru got its name are not entirely clear. Leading theories suggest that it might derive from the indigenous Nauruan word "anáoero." This means to "go to the beach." Others claim it was a name given by early European explorers but this is yet to be backed with much evidence.

Located in the southern region of the Pacific Ocean in the continent of Oceania Nauru is one of the smallest countries on Earth. Covering a total area of 8.1 square miles, Nauru is the world’s third smallest country by area after Vatican City and the principality of Monaco. The country has a population of about 11,347 people, and its official languages are Nauruan and English.


A stupa in Nepal.
A stupa in Nepal.

According to Hindu myth, the region that is now known as Nepal got its name from an ancient sage named Ne. Nepal is a majority Hindu nation and is famous for its political and cultural isolation from the rest of the Indian Subcontinent.

Nepal is a landlocked country found in Asia’s southern region. The country is situated between China and India and is home to Mt Everest, the highest location on earth. The largest capital city of Nepal is Kathmandu.


Tulip fields in the Netherlands
Tulip fields in the Netherlands.

Also known as Holland, the Netherlands literally means "low-lying country" in Dutch. The Netherlands is indeed a very low-lying country with much of its territory existing under sea level. Over the centuries, the Dutch have undergone a remarkable project of digging their own country out of the North Sea via a series of locks, canals, dikes, and channels.

Located on the continent of Europe is the Netherlands. The Netherlands shares borders with Germany, Belgium, and meets the UK in the North Sea with maritime boundaries. Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands while English, Frisian, and Papiamento are widely spoken in the Netherlands and some of its overseas territories.

New Zealand

Queenstown, New Zealand's South
Queenstown, New Zealand's South.

New Zealand got its name from the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, the first European to spot the islands in the middle of the 17th century. Originally called Staten Land, it was christened Nova Zeelandia after the Dutch province Zeeland. It was later Anglicized into New Zealand.

Located about 900 miles east of Australia, New Zealand is found in the continent of Oceania. New Zealand was one of the last lands to be occupied by human beings because of its remoteness. The official languages spoken in New Zealand include English, NZ Sign, and Maori.


A dairy farm in Nicaragua.
A dairy farm in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua owes its name to a chief of an indigenous tribe named Nicarao. Nicarao and his people came into contact with Spanish colonists in the 1520s who then promptly named the area after Nicarao.

Officially named the Republic of Nicaragua, this country is located in Central America. It is bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south, as well as by the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.


People wading into the Niger River.
People wading into the Niger River.

Niger gets its name from the Niger River. The Niger River has long been the lifeblood of the region giving its people a means of swift transportation, water for irrigation, and a means of easy travel and trade.

Niger is located in West Africa of which over 80% of its territory lies within the Sahara Desert. The country is landlocked and is bordered by Libya, Chad, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Algeria. French is the official language while the country also has 10 national languages, with Hausa and Zarma-Sonrai spoken widely as second languages.


Aerial view of Lagos in Nigeria.
Aerial view of Lagos in Nigeria.

Similar to their neighbors in Niger, Nigeria's name comes as a result of being situated along the mighty Niger River. The Niger River is critically important to Nigeria as well giving the interior of the nation access to the sea.

Officially known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Nigeria has the largest population in Africa. It shares land borders with Niger to the north, Chad and Cameroon to the east, and Benin to the west. To the south, it is bordered by the Gulf of Guinea. English is the official language, although Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba are major languages within the country.

North Korea

Pyongyang, North Korea.
Pyongyang, North Korea.

North Korea gets its name from the Korean kingdoms and dynasties that preceded it. The Korean culture is ancient and storied but the country of North Korea was only founded in the 1950s in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Officially titled as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea is found in the northern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is bordered by Russia, China, and South Korea, as well as by the Yellow Sea, Korea Bay, and the Sea of Japan. Pyongyang is both the country's capital city and the largest city.

North Macedonia

Byzantine basilica in Ohrid, Macedonia
Byzantine basilica in Ohrid, Macedonia

The name Macedonia comes from both Greek and Latin in the 1300s. The Greek word Makedones is said to mean “the highlanders” or “the tall ones.” This word is related to a similar one, Makednos which means “long” or ‘tall” in Greek.

Macedonia made a significant move in 2019 changing its name from the Republic of Macedonia to the Republic of North Macedonia, or North Macedonia for short. The name change brought about an end to a long-running dispute between Greece and Macedonia over the name of the region.


Hardangerfjord, Norway
Hardangerfjord, Norway

The English name for Norway comes from the Old English word Norþweg. This simply translates into "northern way" or "way leading north." Norway was also home to the Norse people, some of whom invaded and settled in England during the Dark Ages.

The Kingdom of Norway is part of the Scandinavian Peninsula in northern Europe. The country borders Sweden, Finland, Russia, and Denmark, along with an extensive coastline along the Barents Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Oslo is the capital and largest city of Norway. Norwegian and Sami are the official languages of the country.


Countries that begin with the letter N can be found in each continent. Each of these countries has their own culture and way of life. Even though there are only 10 nations that start with N, every N country has something unique to offer those who are willing to visit.


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