Snaring's interest in geography is unusual for the United States. Just half of college-age Americans can find New York on a map and only 37 percent can locate Iraq, according to a National Geographic poll released last year.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fourteen-year-old Caitlin Snaring won a U.S. geography contest on Wednesday when she correctly identified the imperial capital of Vietnam (Hue) and the administrator of the island of Lampedusa (Italy).

Snaring did not miss a single question during the two-day
National Geographic Bee, becoming only the second female champion since the contest began in 1989.

"The girls are better at spelling bees but I personally don't like spelling bees," Snaring said. "If you want to know how to spell something, just go on Microsoft Word."

The home-schooled student from Redmond, Washington, won a $25,000 (12,600 pound) college scholarship thanks to her knowledge of Lithuanian languages, Central American volcanoes and South American monkeys.

Snaring beat 54 other students in grades 4 to 8 who had won geography contests in their respective states or territories.

In second place, Suneil Iyer of Kansas correctly identified the Arabic name for a dry river valley (wadi) and the second-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa (Angola) before stumbling over the two final questions.

Snaring said she studied geography eight hours a day during the week and 10 hours per day on weekends.

"I read all of the atlases available," she said. "I looked at all the important islands -- even the small ones. I thought 'Oh, might as well know it'."