According to the directories, on our planet there are 251 countries: a recognized, unrecognized, dependent and free, virtual and real, small territory and a superpower. And each of them once received its name. But where did it come from? It turns out that there are only four sources of inspiration. According to the Oxford Dictionary of World Geographical Names, most states fall into one of the following categories:
Geographical location of the country
For example, the name “Norway” comes from the Old Norse northr and veg (Norðrvegr) – the “northern path”. Australia is the “unknown southern land” (Latin terra australis incognita).
Austria is the “Eastern Kingdom”. In the 9th century, the country was the easternmost territory of the Frankish Empire and, in addition, the border zone of German settlements with the Slavic land. Karl the Great called the country Ostmark – “eastern border area.”
Features of the area
“Costa Rica” in Spanish means “rich coast”. So the country was named in the beginning of the XVI century by Christopher Columbus, who, together with the team landed on an unfamiliar land and saw that local residents wear heavy gold jewelry. The navigators decided that there was a lot of gold and minerals, but it turned out that they were wrong. But the name was fixed.
Barbados was given the name of the Portuguese explorer Pedro a Campos. Los Barbados means “bearded.” It was to such a traveler that the fig trees of the island appeared.
Argentina received its name from the Latin word argentum – “silver”. The first Spanish conquistadors opened the Rio de la Plata, in which, according to some reports, it was full of silver.
Well, Sierra Leone is nothing more than a “lion’s mountain,” perhaps because the echoes in them resembled the lion roar that came here to the Portuguese navigators.
The name of the tribe or ethnic group
Russia for the first time the mention of “the people grew up” is found in a letter that in Byzantine emperor Theophilus in 839 sent Frankish Emperor Louis Pious. This happened even before the formation of the ancient Russian state, and the Varangians, who were called to Novgorod in 862, were not associated with the Eastern Slavs. Under the assumptions of some scientists, the “dew” was called the ancient group of Vikings.
Many other countries also owe their name to the tribes that inhabited their territory. For example, France is “the land of the Franks”.
And Italy – the “calf country”, received the name due to the people of the vital, who inhabited the present region of Calabria and was engaged in the cultivation of calves.
The Philippines is named in honor of King Philip, the Spanish monarch of the 16th century. The Spaniard Rui López de Villalobos, who arrived on the islands during the expedition, declared them the possessions of his king.
Bolivia was named in honor of Simon Bolivar, a military figure who fought with the Spaniards, and the first president of the republic after the recognition of the country’s independence in 1825.
It is believed that America (and after it the United States) was named after the Florentine traveler Amerigo Vespucci. However, some experts are inclined to believe that part of the world was named Richard ap Meryk (Richard Amerike), a merchant from Bristol, who funded the second transatlantic expedition of John Cabot. Cabot reached the Labrador coast two years earlier than Vespucci and named open lands in honor of the main sponsor of the expedition.