Britons Struggle with Geography – South Africa Identified as Mexico and Russia Identified as the USA

British interviews

A UK based online travel agency has completed a piece of research to look at the geographical knowledge of Britons. A poll covering a similar topic was conducted four years previously, which showed 50% of Brits were unable to locate their last holiday destination on a map. The new piece of research clearly shows that the knowledge of geography in the average Brit is still poor.

During a new piece of research conducted by a UK based online travel agency, it was found that Brits were unable to identify some of the biggest and best known countries in the world, which are also very popular holiday destinations. Following the research, a ‘World Map According To Britons’ has been published that shows where Brits believe certain countries to be.

The research was completed by, who attempted to update a 2011 study where it was found that 50% of Brits were unable to locate their last holiday destination if shown a map of the world. The travel agency,, decided to perform a similar piece in the hopes that knowledge had since improved. For the study, some 2,189 people were surveyed. All were over the age of 18 and residents of the UK and they all had travel experiences. During the survey, participants were shown a blank map of the world and they were asked where they believed certain countries to be.

During the tests, 90% of people were able to identify just two countries on the world map. Those were Great Britain and Italy. The researchers at believe this is because both countries have very recognizable shapes. Italy is known to look like a boot, and Great Britain looks familiar because participants are actually from there.

The rest of the research did not paint a pretty picture in terms of geographical knowledge:

  • The area that makes up various South American countries (mainly Argentina, Chile, Peru and Brazil) was mistaken for Australia in 22% of cases.
  • Canada was mistaken for China in 29% of cases.
  • 19% of people thought the landmass that is Mexico was actually Thailand.
  • 21% though Russia was actually the United States of America.
  • India was mistaken for France n 27% of cases.
  • Jamaica was mistaken for Madagascar in 38% of case.
  • In 23% of cases, people believed South Africa to be Mexico.
  • Algeria was confused for Greece in 31% of cases.
  • Australia was mistaken for Brazil in 33% of cases, which is interesting since Brazil was also mistaken for Australia.
  • Turkey was believed to be Spain very frequently.
  • 26% of people who saw Crete believed it to be Tenerife.
  • 18% of people believed Greenland was actually Russia.
  • 24% of people labelled Iceland as being Malta.

The map, World Map According To Britons, is available on, which gives a great visual representation of what the world would actually look like if the survey respondents had been correct.

WorldMapAccordingToBritonsChris Clarkson,’s Managing Director stated:

“The world is hardly a small place, so it’s understandable that some people won’t know where certain countries can be found on the map. Unless you’ve studied a globe or been taught the lay of the land, it can be difficult to get your head around.”

He went on to say:

“When it comes to holidays though, it’s nice to know where you’re heading and where you are in relation to your home turf. If you’re ever on a flight that has a moving map available, take a quick look and you might pick up some handy geographical knowledge along the way!”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.