Map Literal Translation Of Country Names

These Maps Show the Actual Translations of Country Names

This fascinating map reveals the origins of country names from around the world. Some are very obvious such as “The People From Rome” for Romania, and “Land of Columbus” for Colombia.

Others though are very surprising and quite strange like Spain’s “The Land of Many Rabbits,” and Nauru’s “I Go To The Beach”.

And some just seem downright racist like “The Land of Burnt Faces” for Ethiopia and “Country of the Blacks” for Sudan. Click on each photo for a larger resolution version.

africa literal map country names

Many European country names are very straightforward and not surprising at all like “Ice Land,” “Land of the Franks,” and “Northern Way.” Some of them are just plain boring like “Land” for Finland.

europe literal translation map

The name Canada comes from the Native word “Kanata” which meant village. When the early settlers arrived they asked what this great land is.

The Natives just replied “Kanata”, “our village.” The origin of the word America is still debated, but many believe it’s named after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, the first person to realize that North America was a separate landmass and not on Asia’s east coast.

north america literal country names

New Zealand’s “Land of the Long White Cloud” sounds really magical and mystical. which is actually the Māori translation of Aotearoa. Australia is not surprising, seeing as Australis means south in Latin, hence Aurora Australis.

oceania literal map

The Spanish, who settled many parts of Central and South America, names a lot of the countries. Guyana comes from the Amerindian language which means “Land of Many Waters”, and Venezuela has the honor of being named after Venice in Italy.

south america literal country names

And last but not least is Asia. Most of them are simple “Land of the..” and the obvious Philippines named after Prince Philip, but there are a few interesting ones like Kazakhstan (Place Where One Stands) and Korea (High and Beautiful).

asia literal country names map

You can buy a poster of this map here.

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