More Than One In Five Brits Unaware Europe Is A Continent

by : Charlie Cocksedge on : 20 Aug 2018 15:31
map of europemap of europeGoogle Maps

Though the UK may sadly be leaving the European Union, we will still be in Europe the continent, unless someone decides to redraw the boundaries…


However, it seems millions of Brits still struggle with this geographical concept, as a new study has found that more than one in five people are unaware Europe is a continent.

Researchers found two thirds of people have no idea the world is made up of seven land masses, with one in four wrongly believing there are only five.

And three per cent – or the equivalent of 1.5 million people – even think Great Britain is its own continent. While one in four people didn’t know Antarctica is home to the south pole.


The poll was commissioned by British Airways Holidays as A level and GCSE students receive their results.

But despite 63 per cent of adults describing themselves as ‘well-travelled’, visiting an average of nine countries each, just one third reckon they would pass GCSE geography if they were to take the exam now.

The study also found 54 per cent of Brits admit their knowledge of world locations, capital cities or landmarks is ‘ok’ or ‘poor’.

Almost one quarter think the most commonly spoken language in Brazil is Spanish, rather than the correct answer of Portuguese.

And one in four are unable to name the Sahara Desert as the largest hot desert in the world.

Sixty-three per cent have no idea there are 50 stars on the US flag and more than one in 10 struggle to name India as the home of the Taj Mahal.


And one tenth also think the Canadian city of Toronto is a US state and the same number pin pointed Athens as the home of the famous colosseum instead of Rome.


But when it comes to capital cities, Brits do a little better with 78 per cent able to identify Copenhagen as the capital of Denmark and 85 per cent correctly naming Washington D.C as the US capital.

The research polled 9,000 adults from 13 countries, including the US, France, Germany, Russia, Brazil and Australia.

Claire Bentley, Managing Director of British Airways Holidays, said:

We all know most love to travel and our holidays are often one of the highlights of the year.

But it’s unsurprising that Brits scored highly when asked to pick out capital cities.

New destinations are opening up all the time, the web has made the world more accessible, and with our extensive route network there’s always more to explore and more ways to broaden your geography knowledge.

man on mapman on map

The research also revealed one in four Australians struggle to name the Colosseum’s home as Rome, while almost one in five of French respondents and one in 10 Italians aren’t aware their home countries are part of the Alps.

Only 54 per cent of Australians correctly said Budapest was the capital of Hungary, whereas UK based respondents fared better with 66 per cent selecting the correct answer.

Six in 10 Germans could name India as the home of the Taj Mahal, yet a third of Russians don’t know Brazil’s language is Portuguese.

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist and sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.

Topics: Life