Greenland vs. Africa. The true size of the world.

Written by Morten Jonassen Read now | Comments

Do you know how big the world actually is?
If you take a look at the map below, you will probably think Greenland is a little bigger than Africa. Their shapes even look quite similar don’t they. But which one is actually the biggest?

A common world-map with Greenland and Africa looking similar in size

The answer to this question might surprise many, but also underlines the silliness of this very question. The correct answer of course is; Africa.
Africa has a bigger landmass than Greenland, MUCH bigger!

The African continent, with its 30,365,000 square km, is more than 14 times larger than the island of Greenland with its 2,166,000 square km. In fact the African content is larger than USA, China, India, Japan and Europe – combined!!

Check out this “true size” projection of Greenland on top of Africa. It really puts sizes into perspective.

Greenland overlaid on top of the African continent

But why does Greenland look so massive on the world map?

Well, this is the due to the representation of the landmasses on the common Mercator projection map. A disadvantage of such a map is introduced when the cylindrical landmasses are projected onto a flat 2D surface. The areas on the top and bottom will simply distort and become overly exaggerated in size.

To get a better idea of the true sizes of countries, I suggest looking at an old style physical globus. Alternatively, you can in fact use Google Maps. Just make sure to enable the “globe” view setting, which will give you a more accurate spherical representation of the world map.

A globe map view in google maps
The true country sizes with the “Globe View” in Google Maps

Visit The True Size of and generate your own size projection map. Here you can even overlay more countries to get a true grasp of the size of the world. Happy mapping and don’t believe in all the flat earthers.