Have you ever been to Middle Kingdom? Blessed Island? How about Land of Many Rabbits? Ever take a cruise to Land of Shallow Sea?
I know these all sound like places that you might hear while you’re playing Dungeons & Dragons, but they’re actually the historical meanings of different countries’ names, going as far back as their earliest literary translations. They were put together by Credit Card Compare. Some of them make perfects sense but others just get…weird. Take a look…
There are several ways the names of countries have been derived. For instance, a land’s geography can be a baseline:
Chile = Where the Land Ends
Congo = Kingdom of Mountains
Bahamas = Land of the Shallow Sea
Or the wildlife there:
Albania = Land of Eagles
Kosovo = Field of the Blackbirds
Guyana = Land Of Many Waters
Sometimes a name can go back to the people who lived in the area:
Macedonia = Land of Tall People (at 4’6″, I am obviously NOT Macedonian LOL!)
Papua New Guinea = Frizzy Haired Men
Suriname = Land of The Surinens
Some countries’ names have much more varied reasons and can go back centuries:
Botswana = Those Who Went Away
Botswana was named after the indigenous people, the Tswana or baTswana. Their name apparently means ‘Those Who Went Away’ or ‘the separators.’
France = Land of the Fierce
France gets its name from a coalition of Germanic tribes, the Franks (anyone else remember that from their World History classes?). The name Frank comes from the Old German word franka, which means “fierce.” That makes France “Land of the Fierce.”
And sometimes it’s simply a literal translation:
Scotland = Land of The Scots
New Zealand = New Sea Land
Costa Rica = Rich Coast (in Spanish)
As for the United States? Its name is the most “to the point” one out there…just like us LOL! Then again, our country is also very young and didn’t have to have to go through any translations.
United States of America = The United States of America 😉
Want to see some more? Click here for an entire, full-size interactive map.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary