Summer’s here and it’s time to pack your suitcase. From Europe to the USA, from South America to the Middle East, every destination holds a priceless heritage of different traditions and cultures for you to discover.
How many of you have already chosen your summer holiday destination?
If you’re still undecided about your destination, you should know that the original name of a country can give you interesting clues about its history and identity.
Today, our friends of STUDIOTRE, we would like to start a curious journey together with you to discover the origins behind the names of countries around the world and their literal translation.
The first stop is the “Great White North”, i.e. Canada: its name comes from the word Kanata which, in the Iroquoian language of the indigenous Huron people, means “village” or “settlement”.
The United States of America got its name in honour of the Italian, Amerigo Vespucci, who was the first explorer to realise that the lands discovered by Christopher Columbus were not the East Indies.
While “Navel of the Moon” is the original meaning in the Nahuatl language of the indigenous Aztecs for Mexico, whose current name is a simplified translation in Spanish of Metztlixihtlico.
Moving to the South, we find the Terra do Brasil or of the brazilwood tree, i.e. Brazil. The pernambuco or paubrasilia is a typical species of tree of this country which was used to make a type of dye for the European textile industry. The Portuguese called it brasa due to its red colour like the glowing embers of charcoal.
Uruguay owes its name to the urugua, the typical molluscs of the regional waterways; in fact, in the Guaranì language, its literal meaning is “river (y) of molluscs (urugua)”.
The stilt houses built around Lake Maracaibo reminded Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci of the typical buildings on water in Venice and this is where Venezuela got its name, literally the “Little Venice” of South America.
Have you discovered any interesting linguistic facts about one of your destinations when travelling around North or South America? Share it with us by sending us an email or a message on our Facebook page.
If you want to discover where will be the next stop on STUDIOTRE’s travels, then keep following us!
**The infographic from which the pictures were taken was created by Credit Card Compare