Destinations

What do country names reveal about our favourite travel destinations?

We all know the origin stories for our own names.

Uncovering the etymology of a name can reveal a lot about a place, an object or even a person.

For instance, we know a guy whose name means ‘hallway’, whereas our name means ‘helper of mankind’.

We’re just going to leave that comment there.

tumblr_opy66p22Kq1r2pp2to1_400

Moving right along.

Uncovering the etymological origins of a country name can reveal a lot about a place, or at least, the people who named it.

Credit Card Compare has made some very informative pictorial explanations of what country names translate to.

What does your favourite destination’s name mean to you?

Europe 

Europe has a long history of exploration, and many of the country names reflect the lands and those who explored them.

France takes its name from a coalition of Germanic tribes, the Franks. The name Frank comes from the Old German word franka, meaning ‘fierce’, making France the Land of the Fierce.

Some even map the trails that people used to use to discover their world.

Norway simply means ‘The Way North’, or ‘The Northern Way’, making reference to an old Viking route.

02_Literal-Translation-Of-Country-Names_Europe..original

Africa

Africa is known as the cradle of civilisation – the place where all human life stems from.

Its country names reveal a history of indigenous cultures and colonisation.

For example, Malawi means ‘Land of Flames,’ which is thought to reflect the local habit of burning off dead grass to prepare the land for cultivation.

The continent has had its fair share of explorers land on its shores.

Portuguese explorer Fernando Poo travelled along the river Wouri in 1472, finding an abundance of shrimp along the way.

He discovered and named Rio dos Camarões ‘River of Prawns,’ but it’s now known as Cameroon.

03_Literal-Translation-Of-Country-Names_Africa..original

Asia

Asia takes up a third of the world’s total land area and is the most populated continent on the planet.

Its rich diversity of culture and history is reflected in its country names.

The Goryeo dynasty ruled their kingdom from 918 to 1392 CE, overseeing a country that was forming its own distinct cultural traditions.

That country is now known as Korea, which can be translated as ‘high and beautiful’.

We can also learn about the geography of the region. Iraq’s name refers to its location astride the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers.

It comes from the Arabic al-‘irāq, which translates to ‘beside the water’.

04_Literal-Translation-Of-Country-Names_Asia.or.original

North America 

North American country names tell a story of European colonisation.

The name ‘America’ itself may come from Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, who was the first person to realize that continent was a separate landmass and not on the east coast of Asia.

This was the ‘New World,’ and one destined for a tragic period of war and conflict over land. Mexico, colonised by Spain, is the simplified Spanish translation of a Nahuatl name for the Aztec capital, said to mean ‘In the Navel of the Moon’.

Spanish explorers reached much of Central America and the Caribbean, too, where they found gems like the ‘Land by the Water’ and the ‘Place of Pomegranates’ – known today as Nicaragua and Grenada.

05_Literal-Translation-Of-Country-Names_NorthAm.original

South America

South America has some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet.

It’s also home to the world’s largest river: the Amazon.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that many of the country names reflect.

The abundance of water found there.

Guyana is derived from an indigenous Amerindian language and means ‘Land of Many Waters,’ while neighbouring Venezuela is named after the city of canals, ‘Little Venice’.

Three countries in South America have the equator passing through them, and this is, in fact, where Ecuador gets its name.

The Spanish word for equator is, you guessed it, Ecuador.

The north/south divider also passes through ‘Red Dyewood’ and the place ‘Where the Land Ends.’ Any guesses?

06_Literal-Translation-Of-Country-Names_SouthAm.original

Oceania 

Oceania may be the smallest continent, but its diverse landscapes – from tropical rainforest to volcanoes to grasslands – have fascinated people for centuries.

It was the Greeks who came up with the name Terra Australis Incognita, meaning ‘Unknown Southern Land,’ when they were dreaming of unknown lands in the southern hemisphere.

Some believe that these lands down under gave birth to the entire universe.

Samoa translates to ‘Sacred Centre,’ and legend has it that this is where Samoan God Tagaloalagi of the Heavens created the world.

07_Literal-Translation-Of-Country-Names_Oceania.original

For more information, go here.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Destinations

South Australia set to open its border to Victorians

It looks like ScoMo’s plan for domestic borders to be open by Chrissy is well on track, with the crow-eaters finally letting those from the Garden State back over their side of the fence.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Rob Thompson named Tourism Fiji’s acting CEO

While the search for Tourism Fiji’s next leader is well underway, the organisation has revealed who will be keeping the CEO’s seat warm.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

WORLD FIRST: Aeronology to launch independent full-service platform for mobile travel agents

Are you a mobile agent in the market for a new platform to help you rebound your business with ease? This travel tech company has got your back.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Global travel association brings another back from the dead (well, sort of)

Utterly confused by this story’s headline? Click ahead to minimise your bewilderment.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Agents now required to collect passenger information for COVID-safe travel

The government has finally recognised the crucial role agents can play in COVID tracing with this new measure.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Silversea to show off biggest-ever itinerary release with exclusive webinar

The ultra-luxury cruise line’s sales team have been sharpening their webinar presentation skills in anticipation of this exclusive event.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas wins appeal over workers’ sick pay

The airline will not be required to pay stood-down workers sick pay, including a man who has been battling cancer and another with heart disease.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Airline pilots turn flight path into penis and balls in support of disgraced football captain

Flight trackers around the world were left clutching at their pearls when they discovered this strange symbol in a low-cost airline’s flight path.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

Rocky Mountaineer to introduce new route in Southwest US

The luxe rail company has just unveiled a new route for 2021! So, get your train fanatic clients ready to TOOT TOOT their way through the US!

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

TTC is hosting a bunch of free virtual events to get your clients booking domestic

Keep your client keen to book their next domestic trip with this handy video series from The Travel Corporation.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qatar charges airport police officers over invasive searches of women

Qatari authorities have filed criminal charges against police officers working at Hamad International Airport following allegations women were invasively searched there last month.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

New report reveals the countries Aussies are most reluctant to visit now

by Huntley Mitchell

Are you finding some international destinations harder to sell than others right now? This new research might help explain why.

Share

CommentComments