"While poutine is a dish unique to Eastern Canada (Montreal and Ottawa), the concoction of French fries covered in cheese curds and (for no apparent reason) gravy, clearly deciphers Canadian culture. First, heart-blocking poutine is the easiest explanation for Canada's adoption of universal health care coverage. I'm pretty sure I'm still digesting the poutine I had in May 2006. Poutine also serves as a sedative, making you so drowsy and serene you find yourself saying 'a-boot' instead of 'about'. The extra pounds you immediately gain help shield you against the bitter climate. The irrational love of hockey still remains a mystery to me, but I'm convinced it has something to do with poutine." --Jim Gaffigan, Food: A Love Story
Not all countries take the article. Cymru, Lloegr, Iwerddon, Sbaen, Ffrainc, Sweden, Norwy, Denmarc, Rwsia, etc do not take it and it would be incorrect to use it. Some do, like yr Alban, yr Eidal, yr Almaen, y Ffindir, yr Ynys Las, y Swistir, etc . Some occasionally have genitive constructions as names: Gwlad yr Iâ (Iceland), Gwlad Pwyl (Poland).
You just need to learn each one as you encounter them.