This map has the answer.
It shows the historical meaning of each country’s name, as far back as their earliest literal translations go.
Surprisingly, a lot of factors seem to influence the name of a country, from geography to climate to wildlife. Andorra, which means ‘Shrub-Covered Land’, and Spain, which means ‘Land of Many Rabbits’, are good straightforward examples of this.
Sometimes the name is a term which describes the inhabitants of a country, such as Macedonia, which means ‘Land of Tall People’.
Some countries have beautifully poetic names. Argentina, whose name means ‘Land Beside the Silvery River’, is a case in point.
Papua New Guinea, which means ‘Frizzy-Haired Men’, would surely agree with the fact that not all country names are complimentary – but France, whose name means ‘Land of the Fierce’, must be happy with their designation.
The US might win the prize for most to-the-point name, with it meaning exactly what it says – the ‘United States of America’.
The map was created by Credit Card Compare, and it certainly has the potential to make travelling more interesting. ‘Where are you going?’ your friends ask. ‘To Middle Kingdom,’ you reply, confident that they’ll think you’ll cool and exotic when you’re actually just popping to China.
Do you think that the name of your country accurately represents what it’s like?