Great Britain is a continent

By | Category: Travel news
London landmarks

Great Britain – typified by a red telephone box, the Elizabeth Tower ( Big Ben to some) is a continent?

In a recent story Just about Travel mentioned an exhibition about on eof the map makers of the Renaissance – Humphrey Llwyd.

He was one of map makers that made us less ignorant of the world around us. Or has he?

Results from a poll commissioned by British Airways Holidays says that 20% had no idea Europe was a continent; 66% had no idea that the world is made up of seven land masses and – more shaming than anything – 3% think Great Britain is a continent!

Twenty-five per cent don’t believe that Antarctica is home to the South Pole and 10% are unaware that the Taj Mahal is in India. (In Germany it was 40%.) The same number think that Canada’s largest city, Toronto, is an American state and 25% couldn’t name the Sahara as being the largest hot desert in the world.

Overall 63% said that they considered themselves well-travelled having visited an average of nine countries each but that might be wrong given that some people might think cities or regions are countries! If 63% think they are well-travelled how is that 54% of Britons think that their knowledge of capital cities and landmarks is “OK” or “poor?”

It actually proves to be better than you might think after reading those despairing percentages.  78% of Britons could name Copenhagen as the capital of Denmark; 85% could name Washington DC as the capital of the USA and 66% gave Budapest as the capital of Hungary whereas only 54% of Australians gave the correct answer. But then Hungary is a long way from Australia. How would Britons manage naming the capital of New Caledonia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea or Laos?

In these day when people can name football teams from around the world you might have thought their knowledge of geography would have improved. Maybe geography as taught in schools today isn’t so much about city, capitals, countries but about land-use and deforestation.

Could it be that we need the basics reintroduced into school curricula?

If you want to test your knowledge the tour operator has set up an interactive map and a quiz. You can find it by  clicking here.

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