World Leaders, Spouses and Capital Cities 1st September 2021

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Countries ▲▼Leader and their Current Age
Germany

The West


Flag used in Reuss, central Germany in 1778

Angela Merkel Chancellor 67

(husband Joachim Sauer 72)

Click here for some of its history

Capital City: Berlin. Founding Year: 1237

France


Flag from 1794

Emmanuel Macron President 43

(wife Brigitte Macron 68)

Click here for some notes on France since 1789

Capital City: Paris. Founding Year: Circa 250BC

Italy


Flag used in Reggio Emilia, northern Italy in 1797

Mario Draghi PM (since 13 Feb 2021) 73 (wife Serena Cappello)

Click here for some notes on Sicily and Naples in the south-west. Traditionally close to the west (Spain).

Click here for some notes on Venice in the north-east. Traditionally close to the east (Austria).

Click here for Florence, Tuscany in the north-west, homeplace of the Medici Family, the Renaissance and the modern Italian language. Traditionally close to Rome and the Royal House of Savoy, who with the aid of France engineered Italy's reunification 1859-1870 from Sardinia, and its capital Turin on the north west border surrounded by the Alps.

Capital City: Rome. Founding Year: Circa 753BC

UK


Flag from 1801

Boris Johnson PM (since 24 Jul 2019) 57

(partner Carrie Symonds 33)

succeeding Theresa May PM 64

Click here for some of England's history

Capital City: London. Year: Circa 47AD

Canada


Flag from 1965

Justin Trudeau PM 49

(wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau 46)

Click here for some of Canada's history

Founding Province: Quebec. Year: 1608

Capital City: Ottawa. Founding Year: 1855 with the renaming of Bytown.

USA


Flag adopted 1777

Joe Biden President 78 (wife Jill Jacobs 70)

succeeding Donald Trump as president 75 (wife Melania Trump 51)

Click here for some of US's history

Major City: New York. Founding Year: 1624 as New Amsterdam. Renamed New York in 1664.

Capital City: Washington D.C.. Founding Year: 1790 from two pre-existing settlements founded in 1749 and 1751.

Tonga


Flag from 1875

Tupou VI King 62

(wife Nanasipau'u_Tuku'aho 67)

Click here for some of Tonga's history

Capital City: Nuku'alofa. Formalized: 1875

NZ


Flag from 1902

Jacinda Ardern PM (since 26 October 2017) 41

(partner Clarke Gayford 44)

Click here for some of New Zealand's history within the Commonwealth

Major City: Auckland. Founding Year: Circa 1350

Capital City: Wellington. Founding Year: Circa 1280

PNG


Flag from 1971

James Marape PM (since 30 May 2019) 50 (wife Rachael Marape)

Click here for Papua New Guinea Timeline

Capital City: Port Moresby. A trading village renamed in 1873. Became a British Protectorate in 1888 following German colonisation in the north.

 

Australia
Flag from 1901

Scott Morrison PM (since 24 Aug 2018) 53

(wife Jenny Morrison 53)

Josh Frydenberg (Treasurer) 49

NSW Qld Vic Premiers

Gladys Berejiklian NSW 50

Annastacia Palasczuk Qld 52

Daniel Andrews Vic 49

Some Famous Aussie Politicians

Anthony Albanese Current Opposition Leader 58

Bill Shorten Previous Opposition Leader (2013 to 2019) 54

Alexander Downer 69
Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1996 to 2007 and High Commissioner to the UK from 2014 to 2018. Click here for that London conversation with George Papadopoulos (Trump's adviser) in May 2016

Some Famous Aussie Writers
Adam Creighton (about) 40

Nikki Gemmell 55

Frances Whiting (about) mid 50s

Greg Sheridan 65

Click here for some editorials written by Greg in The Australian (2007-2018)

Bernard Salt 64

Phillip Adams 82

Famous Footballer
Israel Folau 32

Click here for New South Wales Timeline

Major City: Sydney. Founding Year: 1788

Capital City: Canberra. Parliament House Opened: 1927

Israel

Middle East


Flag from 1897

Naftali Bennett PM (since 13 June 2021) 49

(wife Gilat Bennett 44)

Click here for the latest news on Israel

Capital City: Jerusalem. Called Salem circa 2000BC. Renamed as City of David circa 968BC (previously named Jebus).

Gaza StripIsmail Haniyeh Hamas Chief 59

Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement was founded in 1987 as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. It has been the de facto governing authority of the Gaza Strip since its takeover of that area in 2007.
Since December 2019, Ismail Haniyeh has been living in Doha, Qatar, along with the previous Hamas chief, Khaled Mashal.

Major City: Gaza City. Founding Year: Circa 2000BC

West Bank (Palestine)


Flag from 1964

Mahmoud Abbas President 85

(wife Amina Abbas)

Capital City (de facto): Ramallah. Founding Year: Circa 1000AD Crusader era

Turkey


Flag from 1844

Recep Erdogan President 67

(wife Emine Erdogan 66)

Click here for a recent article on the Turkish President in the Weekend Australian

Major City: Istanbul. Founding Year: Circa 660BC as Byzantium. Made Eastern Capital City in 324AD by Roman Emperor Constantine with the name Constantinople. Name changed to Istanbul in 1923.

Capital City: Ankara. Founding Year: Circa 2000BC. Made Capital City in 1923.

Egypt


Flag from 1953

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi President 66

(wife Entissar Amer 64)

Capital City: Cairo. Founding Year: Circa 2000BC as Memphis, the northern capital of Egypt. Also known as Masr, from Mizraim, Noah's grandson via Ham, who settled there after the flood. Renamed al-Qahirah Play ("Cairo") in Arabic in 973.

Lebanon


Flag from 1943

Michel Aoun pronounced Mee-shell Oww-an President 86 (wife Nadia El-Chami)

Najib Mikati PM (since 10 September 2021) 65
Became PM after Hassan Diab submitted his resignation in wake of the 2020 Beirut explosion.

Click here for Lebanese Civil War 1975-1990, during which time Michel Aoun served as Brigadier-General. Granted asylum in France when Syrian soldiers attacked and occupied Lebanon 1990-2005.

Capital City: Beirut. Founding Year: Circa 2000BC. Early Canaanite/Phoenician name meaning "The Wells". Made Capital City of Lebanon following its independence from France in 1943.

Syria


Flag from 1958

Bashar al-Assad President 55

(wife Asma al-Assad 46)

Click here for rulers of Syria since 1920

Capital City: Damascus. Founding Year: Circa 1400BC.

Jordan


Flag from 1921

Abdullah II King 59

(wife Queen Rania 51)

Following the Ottoman defeat in World War 1, it was agreed in 1921 that Abdullah bin Hussein would administer the territory known as Transjordan under the auspices of the British Mandate for Palestine. It achieved full independence as a kingdom in 1946, with its name shortened to Jordan in 1949.

Capital City: Amman. Founding Year: Circa 2000BC. Capital city for the Ammonite tribe.

 

Saudi Arabia


Green Flag from 1744

Salman King 85 (wife Fahda bint Falah Al Sultan)

Mohammad bin Salman Crown Prince (since 21 June 2017) 36 (wife Princess Sarah bint Mashhoor bin Abdulaziz Al Saud)

Click here for Saudi royal family background

Capital City: Riyadh pronounced Ree-yadd. Founding Year: 1744.

 

With regard to the failed state of Yemen directly to the south click here for its current status. Yemen’s war erupted in 2014 when the Iran-supported Houthi rebels, a tribal militia from the country’s north, stormed the capital Sanaa and captured it. Saudi Arabia viewed the rebels presence on its southern border and Iran’s support for the movement as a dangerous expansion of Tehran’s regional footprint and formed an international, US-supported coalition to fight it. Subsequently the Saudis have imposed an air land and sea blockade on Houthi areas around Sanaa, with imports subject to coalition approval, driving up prices.

Currently, there are three Presidents

  1. President Hadi, who resigned in Sanaa 21 Jan 2015 and was placed under virtual house arrest. A month later, Hadi escaped to his hometown of Aden, rescinded his resignation, and denounced the Houthi takeover. He has been living in Riyadh since 26 March 2015.
  2. Mahdi al-Mashat, acting President of the Iran-funded Houthi movement in Sanaa, and
  3. Aidarus al-Zoubaidi, President of the Southern Transitional Council in Aden.
Iraq


Flag from 1963

Mustafa Al-Kadhimi PM (since 6 May 2020) 54

Associated with the ancient city of Uruk, about 80 kms north-west of Ur. Ruled by the Arabs, then the Ottoman Turks from the 1500s. After World War 1, Faisal bin Hussein became King of Iraq under the British Mandate. Iraq became an independent kingdom in 1932, then a republic in 1958.

Capital City: Baghdad. Founding Year: 762AD just north of ancient Babylon.

 

Iran


Tricolor Flag from 1906

Ali Khamenei Supreme Leader (Ayatollah) 82 (wife Mansoureh Khojaste Khamenei)

Ebrahim Raisi President (since 3 August 2021) 60 (wife Jamileh Alamolhoda)

Aga Khan IV Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini born in Geneva Switzerland. 84
He has been married and divorced twice and is currently single. He has a daughter and two sons by his first wife, now in their late 40s, and one son by his second wife, now 20. At present no successor has been named.
His grandfather Aga Khan III (1877-1957) was born in Karachi in what was then British India, today Pakistan. His great grandfather (Aga Khan II) and great great grandfather (Aga Khan I) were both born in Iran in 1830 and 1804 respectively. They are said to be direct lineal descendants of Mohammed through Mohammed's cousin and son-in-law, Ali, considered the first Imam in Shia Islam, and Ali's wife Fatima az-Zahra, Mohammed's daughter from his first marriage. While the Aga Khan has British citizenship and travels worldwide continually, his primary residence is in Gouvieux, 65 kms north of Paris France.

Click here for the latest news on Iran

Capital City: Tehran. Founding Year: 1554 when a bazaar and a square town wall with four gates were built. Previously it was an unwalled region with just 1,000 residents. Circa 1778, a citadel (today's Golestan Palace) was built by Karim Khan Zand. In 1786 Tehran was made the capital of Iran, and by 1807 its population had grown to 50,000. Greater Tehran now includes Rhages, a prominent city that belonged to the Medes.

Click here for Iran's earlier capitals back to Susa (or Shushan) at the time of Daniel, Cyrus the Great and Esther.

Russia

East


Flag from 1696

Vladimir Putin President 68 (currently single)

Capital City: Moscow. Founding Year: 1147

A brief history of Russia
Click here for Moscow in 1283, traditionally the year of its first monastery. In 1582 Western Siberia was invaded by Russian Cossacks, building the town of Tobolsk in 1590 to be its historic capital. By 1640 they were encroaching upon Manchuria in China, though were driven back in 1685, signing a cross-border trading agreement instead in 1689. They settled the far eastern Kamchatka peninsula and reached "Russian America" in 1732, later selling it (as Alaska) to the USA in 1867. Finally the Chinese were pressured into signing the Treaty of Aigun in 1858, providing Russia with the port of Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean in 1862.

In the west, Moscow's treaty with the Turks in 1829 brought about the autonomy of Serbia in 1830, and the autonomy of Greece in 1832, though Russia's advance into Romania was thwarted (until 1940) by the Crimean War 1853-1856.

Russia then formed the USSR 1922-1991, called CCCP in Russian. In Aug 1991 known briefly as
Union - Soyuz
Soviet (The Governing Council) - Sovetsky
Sovereign - Suverennykh (an alternate word in Cyrillic is Соверен - Soveren)
Republic - Respublik.

Since 1991, the Commonwealth (in Russian: Содружество Sadruzistva So-Association Druzhba-Friendship - An Association in Friendship) of Independent States or CIS has formed in place of the USSR. The western states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia chose not to participate, Georgia withdrew its membership in 2008, and the Ukraine, following Russia's annexation of the Crimea, has largely ceased to participate since 2014.

Member states are Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikstan and Uzbekistan. A 10th state, Turkmenistan, is an "associate state", and Afghanistan and Mongolia are "observer states".

 

Pakistan


Flag from 1947

Imran Khan PM (since 18 Aug 2018) 68

(wife Bushra Bibi Khan 47)

Pakistan (Muslim), which in 1947 included East Pakistan (modern Bangladesh), became independent from India (Hindu) on Aug 14, 1947 using the artificial "Radcliffe" line (published three days later) to split the provinces of Punjab and Bengal.
Much war and violence followed as millions of refugees fled both countries. Pakistan appointed a Prime Minister and Governor General, becoming a Dominion in the (British) Commonwealth of Nations until March 23 1956, when under its Muslim constitution it became a Republic with Iskander Mirza elected as its first President.

Click here for rulers of Pakistan since 1973

Major City: Karachi. Founding Year: 1729

Capital City: Islamabad. Founding Year: 1960

 

India


Flag from 1947

Narendra Modi PM 70 (currently estranged from wife)
India is the second most populated country in the world.
Click here for India's eight most widely spoken languages and scripts.

Click here for India's history after Noah's flood.

The Dominion of India came into being in the (British) Commonwealth of Nations between 15 August 1947 and 26 January 1950, following which it became the modern Republic of India with the adoption of its new constitution.

Capital City: New Delhi. Continuous settlement since about 6th century BC. Founding Year as a walled city, now known as Old Delhi: 1648. From 1857 the British capital was in Calcutta. The Foundation Stone for New Delhi was laid in 1911 by King George V, and the new capital was inaugurated in 1931.

Dalai Lama 86 (a monk since childhood)
As Leader of Tibetan government in exile, the Dalai Lama's residence is in Dharamshala in the far north of India. Several thousand Tibetan refugees live in exile in the suburb of McLeod Ganj where he resides.
Regarding the Tibet Autonomous Region, a large province in south-west China, it is sparsely populated – just 3 million. On Tibet's southern border with Nepal (Pop. 29 million) is Mount Everest, the highest point on earth.

 

Bangladesh


Flag from 1972

Sheikh Hasina PM 73 (currently widowed)

Capital City: Dakha. Founding Year: 1608

A brief history of Bangladesh
After independence from India in 1947, East Bengal province, and then East Pakistan as it became known after 1955, were ruled by Pakistan in the west. With a separate language and other ethnic differences, Bengalis felt their needs were being continually overlooked by Pakistan. Hasina's father, Sheikh Mujib Rahman, played an important role at this time forming the Awami Muslim League.

War broke out in March 1971. Her father was arrested and taken to Pakistan. Bangladesh formed a provisional government, with her absent father named as President in April. They were aided by India at this time, and had Calcutta as the capital-in-exile.
In Dec 1971 Pakistan surrendered, Bangladesh declared its independence, and her father became its Prime Minister. It was finally recognised by Pakistan in Feb 1974. After suffering a major famine that same year, in Jan 1975 he became President once again, and now dissolved parliament, implementing a one party state, closing all newspapers except for four nationalised ones. Next he, his wife and most of his family were assassinated in Aug 1975 by junior army officers, and in the turmoil that followed, the executioners were granted immunity from prosecution. However, after Sheikh Hasina's election in 1996, that immunity was revoked.

 

Myanmar (Burma)


Flag from 2010

Min Aung Hlaing State Leader, age 65 (wife Kyu Kyu Hla)
Military coup d'état 1st February 2021

Win Myint President since 2018, age 69 (wife Cho Cho)
Deposed in coup d'état 1st February 2021

Aung San Suu Kyi Owwn Saan Soo Chee
State Counsellor since 2016, age 76 (widowed since 1999)
Deposed in coup d'état 1st February 2021

Click here for some further notes on Burma

Major City: Yangon (also known as Rangoon). Founding Year: Circa 1028. In 2006, the military government relocated the administrative functions to the purpose-built city of Naypyidaw.

China


Flag from 1949

Xi Jinping President 68

(wife Peng Liyuan 58)

China (including Tibet) is the most populated country in the world.

Click here for a history of China's dynasties (with censuses).

Capital City: Beijing. Founding Year: 1045BC

 

Korea North


Flag from 1948

Kim Jong-Un Supreme Leader age 38 according to South Korea, 37 according to US records

(wife Ri Sol-ju)

In 1910 Japan annexed the whole country. Following Japan's defeat and with Soviet troops advancing, the country was divided at the 38th parallel by US troops on 10 August 1945. When Soviet troops entered Pyongyang on 25 August 1945, it became a temporary capital for the provisional government, then the de facto capital after 1948. With Korea's division, between 400,000 to 4 million refugees fled south 1945-1950. In May 1946 the Soviet-US joint commission who were overseeing Korea's reunification made it illegal to cross the 38th Parallel without a permit. Following the failure of the commission, first South then North Korea appointed their own leaders in 1948.

In 1950 North Korea invaded South Korea with the aid of Stalin. They captured Seoul in late June 1950, were forced out by the UN in September, recaptured it with the aid of Mao's army in early January 1951, before being forced out again in March. A long stalemate followed, arguments over POWs with numerous North Korean and Chinese POWs not wanting to be returned to their homeland. Finally an armistice was arranged in 1953 with ⅔ of the Chinese POWs heading to Taiwan. Both sides lost 1 to 1½ million people each during the war, the UN, well, mainly the US assisting the south. From Australia 17,000 military personnel served between June 1950 and July 1953 with 339 dead and 1200 wounded.

Click here for some recent news of North Korea

Capital City: Pyongyang. Founding Year (according to Korean mythology): 1122BC

Korea South


Flag from 1948

Moon Jae-In President (since 10 May 2017) 68

(wife Kim Jung-sook 66)

Click here for the US forces currently stationed in South Korea approximately 28,500

Capital City: Seoul in 1945 resumed its traditional role. Founding Year: 18BC

Japan


Flag from 1870

Yoshihide Suga PM 72 Yo-shee-heeda Soo-gar since Sep 2020 replacing Shinzo Abe

(wife Mariko Suga)

Naruhito Emperor (since 1 May 2019) 61

Click here for the US forces currently stationed in Japan, approximately 50,000

Capital City: Tokyo. First fortified (from a small fishing village): Circa 1200

Philippines


Flag from 1898

Rodrigo Duterte President 76

(partner Cielito "Honeylet" Avanceña See-elito Avan-senya)

Click here for the US Spanish War of 1898

Capital City: Manila. First Fortified (for trading): Circa 1200

 

Vietnam


Flag from 1940

Nguyen Phu Trong (pronounced Wen Phoo Trong) General Secretary 77

(wife Ngo Thi Man) Play

Click here for the Officeholders from the establishing of the Indochina Communist Party in 1930.

After the French left in 1955, South Vietnam had two Catholic military presidents with strong US support

  1. Ngo Dinh Diem   Play until 1963 when he was killed in a coup d'etat by his successor.
  2. Nguyen Van Thieu   Play until his resignation April 21 1975, fleeing to Taiwan five days later.

Australia's military commitment to South Vietnam lasted from April 1965 to January 1973.
Click here for some historical notes of Vietnam (French Indochina) that included Cambodia (and Laos).

Major City: Ho Chi Minh City also known as Saigon. Founding Year as a Temple site: Circa 400AD. First settled about 1000AD.

Capital City: Hanoi. Founding Year: 1010

Cambodia


Flag from 1863

Hun Sen PM 69

(wife Bun Rany Hun Sen 66)

Became Prime Minister in 1985, but has had a significant role in Cambodia since 1975, the rule of the Khmer Rouge, and the fall of the US backed Khmer Republic (1970-1975). Note, between 1975-1979 under Pol Pot's regime, all monetary exchange in Cambodia was abolished. The Cambodian riel was reintroduced following Vietnam's invasion in 1979.

Capital City: Phnom Penh. Founding Year: 1372

Thailand


Flag from 1917

Prayut Chan-o-cha PM 67

(wife Naraporn Chan-o-cha 67)

Maha Vajiralongkorn (Rama X) King (since 2016) age 69 (current wife Suthida)

Click here for some further notes on Thailand

Capital City: Bangkok. Founding Year: 1782

 

Malaysia


Flag from 1950

Ismail Sabri Yaakob Current PM 61 (since 21 August 2021) (wife Muhaini Zainal Abidin 59)

Mahathir Mohamad long-term politician 96 (wife Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali 95)

A brief history of Malaya (and Singapore)
In 1800 the population of Malaya was just 3 million with the British East India company establishing an outpost in Penang.

In 1942 the island of Singapore, along with Malaya fell to Japan. After Japan surrendered in 1945, a significant number of British troops were deployed to Malaya and Singapore until 1971. Australia's RAAF supported the British Govt from June 1950, with additional ground forces deployed in October 1955.

In 1957 the Federation of Malaya was formed as an independent nation, becoming Malaysia in 1963 when it merged with Singapore and British Borneo in its north (Sabah & Sarawak). From then until 1966 there was a violent confrontation with Indonesia over Borneo, only easing when General Suharto replaced Sukarno as President.
While in 1965, Singapore was expelled from the Federation to become the Republic of Singapore.

Although British troops withdrew in 1971, good relations have been maintained, with a five nation (Au, NZ, UK, Singapore and Malaysia) operational headquarters set up at Butterworth Air Base at Penang.

Click here for further notes on the early years of British Singapore and Malaysia, starting with Stanley Raffles in Penang in 1805.

Click here for a timeline snapshot (from Wikipedia) of British Malaya and British Borneo.

Capital City: Kuala Lumpur. Founding Year: Circa 1857

Indonesia


Flag in 13th century

Joko Widodo President 60

(wife Iriana 57)

Capital City: Jakarta (known to the Dutch as Batavia until Indonesian independence on December 27, 1949). Founding Year: Circa 400AD

A brief history of Indonesia
It was ruled by the Dutch East India Company (Nederlands Oost Indië) from 1603-1800. At the time the population of Java was about 4 million. The Netherlands then ruled until 1942 and the Japanese invasion. Upon Japan's surrender in August 1945, Sukarno was declared to be President of the new Republic of Indonesia. Four years of intermittent civil war followed till this was recognized by the Netherlands, with British and Australian troops remaining reluctantly in the East Indies until November 1946 to assist authorities maintaining the peace.

Click here for some notes on Marx 1818-1883 and Darwin 1809-1882

Click here for D.L.Moody 1837-1899, wife Emma Moody 1842-1903, and Ira Sankey 1840-1908

Click here for JRR Tolkien 1892-1973

Click here for CS Lewis 1898-1963 and Joy Davidman 1915-1960

Click here for Jordan Peterson 1962-

Click here for Merlin Carothers 1924-2013

Click here for Derek Prince 1915-2003

** End of List

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