Monday Trivia No. 76 [Steve D Wins! And Answer Key]

The following nations all have something in common: Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Belize, Bolivia, Cambodia, Colombia, Cook Islands, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Georgia, Israel, Ireland, Kiribati, Laos, Liechtenstein, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Monaco, Nicaragua, People’s Republic of China, Philippines, Republic of China (Taiwan), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, São Tomé and Príncipe, Saint Thomas, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Tunisia, United States of America. What is it?

EDIT: Saint Thomas is the name of one of the United States Virgin Islands, a non-self governing territory of the United States of America, and therefore does not qualify for inclusion on the list. Not A Potted Plant regrets the error.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.


  1. Is this list exclusive, or are there additional countries that could also be included?

    • My very best estimate is that this list is exhaustive. The only other remote claimant of which I am aware is Peru. But Peru’s claim for inclusion is IMO implausible.

  2. Countries with political parties advocating secession of some part of the country, or from a larger entity. No, Canada would have to be on the list then.

  3. Tuesday hint: Quite deliberately excuded from the list are nations like France, Russia, Uzbekistan, Somalia, and England for a reason that may best be described as “singular-plural.”

    By contrast, nations like Jordan, Vietnam, South Africa, Ecuador, Australia, Montenegro, and Canada are excluded for a more categorical reason.

    • Er… yes. But it would still count if it were a country. So would a lot of other places (tomorrow I’ll do U.S. states that would qualify if they were independent nations). I wanted to just limit the list to nations.

  4. I think the answer is going to have something to do with the administration of the capital city in each country. I’m going to go with “nations whose capital city’s municipal government is a is subject only to the national government,” though I’m not happy with the phrasing.

  5. Wednesday hint: the following states of the United States of America would qualify for inclusion, if they were independent, autonomous nations: California, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

    Oh, you’re from Canada, eh? Well, I got Canadian provinces that would qualify if they were independent, autonomous nations, too: Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Price Edward Island.

  6. I’m pretty sure if you spoon feed me the answer like last week I’ll be able to guess it again.

      • This week it’s “provide more and more clues that still leave Randy Harris perplexed.”

  7. Your Thursday hint is that there is nothing about eligibility for the list that would be of any particular professional interest to any of the following:

    a) a political scientist
    b) a politician
    c) an economist
    d) a statistician
    e) a demographer
    f) an accountant
    g) an inventor or a manufacturer
    h) a vexillologist
    i) a lawyer
    j) a doctor
    k) an oneologist and/or a zymurgist
    l) a member of the military

  8. Perhaps providing an incomplete list would be of more assistance:

    Colombia, Cook Islands, Dominican Republic, Marshall Islands, Philippines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, São Tomé and Príncipe, Saint Thomas, Saudi Arabia, Solomon Islands.

    Consider the following list of states and provinces:

    Alberta, British Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Prince Edward Island, Washington


  9. Most of them are named after people, if that’s anything… but China wouldn’t be on the list and Peru’s claim is pretty good.

    • Actually, trawling Wikipedia further, China is traditionally named after the Qins.

    • SteveD wins, despite his misgivings. All the country’s names are related in some fashion to the names of specific people. (Or, in the cases of Ireland and Monaco, a god and a demigod.)

      Linguistic corruption accounts for some of the names being obscured — e.g., “Wallace,” a British buccaneer active in that region of the world, became “Belize”.

      China is named for its first emperor, Qin.

      There is a claim that “Peru” was the name of a native chieftan who misunderstood the question he was asked by Spanish explorers, but it appears to me more likely that “Peru” is a Spanish corruption of a native word for “river,” “biru,” because a similar word for “river” was encountered by other explorers in what is today Ecuador. I did indicate when asked that Peru had a claim, and that it was my opinion the claim was weak.

      I’ve got the whole list at home, but it’ll be a few hours before I can post it.

  10. Lucky guess! Look forward to that list. It’s amazing how complex the origin of some of those names are.

  11. Damn. I should have checked earlier. I never get these, but I saw this one immediately.

  12. Here’s the complete answer key:
    Antigua and Barbua, The Madonna, aka la Virgen de la Antigua.
    Azerbaijan, Atropates or Atarpat.
    Belize, Peter Wallace, a Scottish explorer of questionble background.
    Bolivia, Simón Bolívar.
    Cambodia, Kambu Svayambhuva.
    China (and Taiwan), Qin.
    Colombia, Christopher Columbus.
    The Cook Islands, Captain James Cook.
    The Dominican Republic, Saint Dominic.
    El Salvador, Jesus the Christ.
    Georgia, Kartlos.
    Israel, Jacob.
    Ireland, Ériu.
    Kiribati, Thomas Gilbert.
    Laos, Lava.
    Liechtenstein, Anton Florian of Liechtenstein.
    The Marshall Islands, John Marshall, the British explorer (not the American judge).
    Mauritius, Maurice of Nassau.
    Monaco, Hercules.
    Nicaragua, Nicarao.
    Philippines, Philip II.
    Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Christopher.
    Saint Lucia, Lucy of Syracuse.
    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Vincent.
    San Marino, Saint Marinus.
    São Tomé and Príncipe, Saint Thomas.
    Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin Saud.
    Seychelles, Jean Moreau de Séchelles.
    Solomon Islands, Solomon.
    Tunisia, Tanith.
    United States of America, Amerigo Vespucci.

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