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

Countries That Start With The Letter V

There are only four different countries in the world that begin with the letter "V." The letter "V" is a relatively uncommon letter in the English language, and the sound it makes can only be found in roughly 27% of all world languages.

In English, the "V" sound appears in just 1.11% of all worlds. This fact comes from researchers at Cornell University. Despite its being such a rare sound in English, the story of how these countries got their names is intriguing.

Countries That Begin With The Letter "V"

Country Population Total Land Area
Vanuatu 334,506 4,706 mi2
Vatican City 825 0.16 mi2
Venezuela 28,838,499 352,144 mi2
Vietnam 98,858,950 127,880 mi2


One of the major islands in Vanuatu.
One of the major islands in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu gets its name from a combination of local Austronesian languages. Vanua means both "land" and "home" in English, whereas tu means "to stand." Combining the two words together was done to indicate Vanuatu's independence.

Located deep in the Pacific Ocean, Vanuatu is a member of the Melanesian world, although several outlying islands have Polynesian communities. Near Fiji, the Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu, Vanuatu is relatively isolated all things considered. The chain of islands that make up Vanuatu is home to more than 300,000 people, the vast majority of whom identify as Melanesian.

Vatican City

An aerial view of Vatican City, the world's smallest country.
An aerial view of Vatican City, the world's smallest country.

Despite the long and storied history of the Vatican and the Catholic Church, the Vatican City was only established in 1929 as a result of the Lateran Treaty. The Vatican gets its name from Vatican Hill, the geographical location in which the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica can be found.

Considered to be the smallest country on Earth, Vatican City's total land area is only 0.17 square miles. Its official population consists of between 400-500 people. These are largely priests, cardinals, bishops, and of course, His Holiness the Pope.


Mount Auyantepui in Venezuala. Home of Angel Falls.
Mount Auyantepui in Venezuala. Home of Angel Falls.

According to legend, Venezuela got its name from the famed Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci during a Spanish-led expedition of the area in 1499. When Vespucci and his men stumbled across a village consisting of slit houses on Lake Maracaibo, it reminded him of Venice. Thus, he christened the region Veneziola, meaning "little Venice."

Venezuela is located in the northern region of South America along the Caribbean coast. In recent years, the country has become famous for its spiraling economy and deteriorating living. Regardless of recent financial woes, its culture and people are still as vibrant as ever.


Hạ Long Bay, Vietnam
Hạ Long Bay, Vietnam

Vietnam translates into "Viet of the South" or "South of the Viet." The term Viet has Chinese origins and was used to describe the land "beyond" the reach of the Chinese Dynasties throughout history. This word was then used to describe the people living in the region that is today known as Vietnam.

Vietnam can be found in Southeast Asia. Sporting Hanoi as its capital city, Vietnam has managed to really turn itself around despite having a long stretch of war and conflict across the 20th century. Today it has quietly become an international tourist destination known for its unrivaled hospitality and fascinating history.

Final Thoughts

Four countries on Earth begin with "V." One is in Oceania, another is in Asia, one is in South America, and the last is in Europe. Each of these places has its own fascinating history and culture. How each of these places got their "V" names is just as captivating, with origins that range from islands to temples.


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