Yesterday I check out a blog write-up that had actually me thinking around countries that start with D. No, seriously.

You are watching: What country starts with the letter d

There room only 4 of them. But prior to we get to the countries, here’s the mind game that triggered this post.

Pick a number in between 1 and also 10.Multiply that number by 9.If it’s a two-digit number, include the digits together. (If it’s a one-digit number, do nothing.)Subtract 5.Now take the number and match it to a corresponding letter utilizing the adhering to algorithm: A = 1, B = 2, C = 3, and so on.Now think of a country that starts through that letter.


Are you thinking of Denmark?

Yeah, you and also a many other people. (Maybe the picture primed girlfriend a bit…)

There are a few variations the this so-called “mind game.” periodically there’s another step that asks girlfriend to take the critical letter the the country you thought of and also then think that an pet that starts with that letter.

Are you thinking of a kangaroo?

I’ve even seen versions that go a step further and ask friend to take the last letter of the animal and also think that a fruit that starts with that letter.

I expect you’re sitting under for this, but…

Are you thinking of one orange?

The factor this game works at all, the course, is that the human running it forces the listener, via a little of cool math, to come up with D.

Every. Single. Time.

Don’t think me?

The cheat hinges top top the truth that as soon as you multiply any number native 1 come 10 by 9, you get a number v digits that include up come 9. For example, the digits of 18 include up come 9, the number of 27 include up come 9, and so on.

Mind puffy yet?

In various other words, there’s no means that friend can finish up with any type of letter of the alphabet besides D.

But What about Djibouti?

I admit that I come up v Denmark when I an initial tried the game.

But then i thought, “What around Djibouti?”


There space four countries that start with D, and yet if you asked 10 Americans, ns bet 9 of them would certainly say Denmark.

Well, as it transforms out, it’s not fairly 9. Yet it’s quiet the majority, if my facebook friends are representative (and they may not be).

Before posting this post, I common the above game and waited to see exactly how my friends responded.

A chuck 72% said “Denmark,” but “Djibouti”—to my good surprise—came in second. (Maybe my friends are just up on their Horn of Africa geography…)


A fully unscientific poll mirroring that most civilization (ahem, many of my American facebook friends who actually responded) come up through “Denmark” as soon as asked come think of a country that starts v the letter D. (Denmark = 72%; Djibouti = 17%; Dominica = 6%; Dominican Republic = 6%)

A primer on the Four nations That start with D

The four nations that start with D are Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, and also the Dominican Republic. that’s it.

And no, we’re no counting country names in a international language, such together Deutschland, the German word because that Germany.

Of course, the “mind-reading” trick ns mentioned over fails miserably if your listener picks Djibouti, Dominica, or the Dominican Republic. The human being asking you come go through the math is bank on your restricted geographic knowledge.

In the interest of boosting your geographical knowledge, then, here’s a short rundown of every of the four D countries. (All population stats are July 2017 estimates taken from the CIA’s people Factbook.)


Location: northern Europe

Neighboring country: Germany

Population: 5.6 million

Main language: Danish

Of the four nations that begin with the letter D, this is more than likely the one friend know. The in northern Europe, it’s where Legos come from, and also it even shows up in a famous line from Hamlet: “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

The surname “Lego” originates from a contraction of the Danish words leg godt, definition “play well.”


Location: east Africa

Neighboring countries: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia

Population: 865,000

Main languages: French, Arabic

Djibouti (pronounced ji-BOO-tee) is both the name of the country and the surname of its best city and also capital.


Djibouti (above, in red) is a little country in east Africa—and is likewise a most fun to say.


Location: the Caribbean

Neighboring countries: none (it’s one island)

Population: 74,000

Main language: English

Dominica’s boiling Lake is the second largest hot lake top top the planet. No, “hot lake” is not a typo.

Dominican Republic

Location: the Caribbean

Neighboring country: Haiti

Population: 10.7 million

Main language: Spanish

When Christopher Columbus “discovered” the new World, he landing in the Dominican Republic.


The Dominican Republic—not come be perplexed with Dominica, circle in red above—shares the island the Hispaniola through Haiti.

Note: look at at various other lists of countries that begin with D and also you’ll see the DRPK (North Korea) and also the Democratic Republic of Congo. Yet not here. My thinking is that once you start using official country names or countries that walk by various names, things get a little bit out that hand. For example, Denmark’s main name is the Kingdom that Denmark, however we’re not really going to say the Denmark starts v a K, space we?

Americans and Geography Are choose Oil and Water

So are most Americans really more likely come think that Denmark before Dominica as soon as it comes to countries that begin with D?

I think so. And the data says that yes, americans are bad at geography.

The Roper Survey, a 2006 inquiry into location skills, found that 10% the Americans eras 18 come 24 think the Sudan is in Europe. (It’s not.)

In addition, fewer than fifty percent of those surveyed knew the Sri Lanka is in Asia. (This is the exact same Sri Lanka the was everywhere the news in December 2004 because of the tsunami in the Indian ocean that killed a 4 minutes 1 of a million people.)


Sri Lanka—home come 22 million people—is located in southern Asia off the shore of India.

Of course, the U.S. Education and learning system doesn’t place focus on people geography. And also we’re no really lighting that up once it pertains to the study of international languages, either.

If American students do learn geography in institution at all, the emphasis is invariably ~ above American—and possibly European—geography. Whatever else it s okay left behind.

Think about it: go you examine the nations of the Horn of Africa in her tenth-grade human being cultures class? i didn’t.

Greg Chun, a previous international cultural program developer at an innovation firms SK Planet and also SAP in Seoul, says that other determinants are in ~ play, too. “One’s command of geography depends ~ above a variety of factors, including where one now lives, where one thrived up, and also how one traces her ancestry.”

By this logic, a citizens of tiny Liechtenstein, because that example, would have a higher understanding of geography than who who has grown up in the middle of the united States.

The Puerto Rico Conundrum

To provide you an idea of simply how negative Americans are at geography, think about this: 46% of Americans execute not even know the Puerto Ricans space U.S. Citizens.

Those who know that Puerto Ricans room Americans overwhelmingly supported giving help to Puerto Ricans in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, while those that don’t were fifty percent as likely to assistance aid.)

Let that sink in.


If we see Puerto Ricans (correctly) together “on our team,” climate they can just gain the help that lock need. If, however, we watch them (incorrectly) as “foreign” or “other,” then we’re much less likely come help.

One of the ways that journalists, educators, and also bloggers can promote geographical knowledge is by using comparisons.

For example, this post mentions that Puerto Rico—population 3.1 million—has an ext people than Vermont, Wyoming, and Alaska combined. I would wager the this comparison has more definition for you 보다 if you saw just the population statistic.

So if countless Americans don’t also know the Puerto Rico is component of the united States, it seems unlikely the they would know (or care) about far-flung countries.

Why location Matters

So are you a negative person if you can’t come up with the four countries that start with D?

No, yet at the threat of sound trite, knowledge of the world is vital for anyone functioning in a worldwide economy. Understanding of geography is as useful a skill as expertise of math, foreign languages, person psychology, and economics.

These areas pervade whatever we do.

Michigan State university professor Harm de Blij thinks location is an important but frequently overlooked component of students’ education.

His publication Why geography Matters: an ext Than Ever renders the situation that understanding of place educates our decisions about the major issues of our time, indigenous climate adjust to terrorism.

Americans must be better at geography. But that’s not because we must all sign up with hands in song and live in peace and also harmony for every eternity. (Although that definitely beats war and also famine.)

It’s since Americans require to recognize that they’re no the only civilization in the world. We should know how other countries’ politics, cultures, and also economies impact our own, and also vice versa.

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Djibouti’s military might may never ever rival America’s. But at a time as soon as our president says Nambia (repeatedly!) at a meeting through African heads of state, a much better facility v maps would go a long method towards discovering what other nations are out there.