A map created by Credit Card Compare shows the historical meanings of each country’s name, as far back as their earliest literary translation. As it turns out, a number of factors may go into a country’s name — often to quite humorous results. To view the full size interactive map, click here.
The surrounding geography and wildlife are common baselines, with Andorra (shrub-covered land) and Spain (land of many rabbits) being among the most straightforward. In some cases, the name is an overarching term used to describe the residents (such as Estonia, which is derived from “Waterside Dwellers”). Some founders went even more in depth in elaborating upon the people who lived there. Macedonia means “Land of the Tall People” while Saudi Arabia translates to “Land of Good Fortune.”
The United States may be the most “to the point” of any country on Earth, translating to nothing except for exactly what the name states. A sign of our no-nonsense approach to identification? Perhaps, or maybe an ode to our ability to come together.
For a bit of fun, try to trace your familial roots back as far as you can. Then, look up the translation for the country as far back as possible on this map. How well does the description fit you? Perfectly? Not at all? Either way, it may just provide a bit of insight into why your family members act the way that they do.
This map could also serve as a base for quizzical conversations, or at the very least, a way to make tracking your travels that much more interesting. “Where are you headed?” an enquiring friend or family member may ask. “To The Village,” you reply, leaving confusion on their faces as they wonder why you’ve loaded a full pack simply to head into town. Little do they realize you’re actually en route to Canada.
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