This map shows all the meanings of country names

Have you ever wondered where the names of countries come from?  Sometimes, they’re more literal than you think.

This map shows all the meanings of country names.  It shows the historical meaning as far back as their earliest translations go.

View full size map

The name “Canada” likely comes from the Huron-Iroquois word “kanata,” meaning “village” or “settlement.” In 1535, two Aboriginal youths told French explorer Jacques Cartier about the route to kanata; they were actually referring to the village of Stadacona, which is now the City of Québec.

There are some interesting names on this map as well, like “Spain”, which is the “Land of many rabbits”, or “Snow land” (Iceland).

Papua New Guinea, which means “Frizzy-Haired Men”, shows that not all the names are as flattering as they could be.

There are some more beautiful names on the list, such as”Land of many waters” (Guyana) and “Land beside the silvery river” (Argentina).


? Interactive Mini-Game

Now it’s time to try your luck!  Can you find the countries on the map below?  Click on the country to select it.

By James

I'm the creator of the 3A Hospitality English Program and Co-Founder of 3Aenglish.com. I lived and taught in China for a few years and am currently back in BC, Canada. Thanks for joining us here, I hope we can learn some cool new things together!