Country names by etymology (meaning) of native name

Fill out the English names, although it's the etymology of the native names that are hinted at
Quiz by profnick
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Last updated: October 10, 2019
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First submittedFebruary 10, 2018
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Average score50.7%
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Answer
From Norse for either "northern way" or "narrow way"
Norway (Norge)
The Rus' people (who were actually Norsemen, not Slavs)
Russia
Land of (legendary figure) Hayk the Great
Armenia (Hayastan)
Eastern realm
Austria (Österreich)
Black mountain
Montenegro (Crna Gora)
The Belgae tribe of Gaul
Belgium
Little castle
Luxembourg (Lëtzebuerg)
Land of the Kartvelians
Georgia (Sakartvelo)
Bosna river + the German for "duke's land"
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Possibly "the borderland"
Ukraine
Realm of the Svea tribe
Sweden (Sverige)
The Bulgar people (who were actually Turkic, not Slavic)
Bulgaria
The Persian governor Athurpat (Atropates in Greek, ca. 320 BCE)
Azerbaijan
Land of ice
Iceland (Island)
Low land
Netherlands (Nederland)
The Franks (a Germanic tribe)
France
Ultimately from "Slavic people"
Slovakia + Slovenia
Land of people speaking diutisc ("popular" in contrast to Latin)
Germany (Deutschland)
Probably from Latin excipere for "understanding"
Albania (Shqipëria)
Land of the Magyar tribe
Hungary (Magyarorszag)
Possibly related to the Norse word "to burn" via Old High German
Switzerland
White Rus' people
Belarus
Bright stone (from the name of a castle)
Liechtenstein
Woodland or borderland of the Dani tribe
Denmark (Danmark)
Possibly from Greek for a certain tree or plant
Cyprus
Possibly from Greek rendering of Oscan word for "calf"
Italy
Greek either for "highlanders" or "the tall ones"
North Macedonia
Greek for "single house"
Monaco
Possibly from Greek for "honey"
Malta
Latin for "Port of Cale", a Celtic settlement
Portugal
Romans
Romania
Saint Marinus
San Marino
Ultimately from the city Ashur (even though it's the wrong location)
Syria
Land of the Kambojas (an Indo-Iranian people that lived in Kashmir)
Cambodia
Sanskrit honorific meaning "radiance" + "island"
Sri Lanka
Possibly from Sanskrit for "protected by the sage Nemi"
Nepal
Possibly from Sanskrit for "seafarers"
Brunei
Possibly from Tamil for "mountain land"
Malaysia
From Tamil for "islanders"
Maldives (Dhivehi)
Sanskrit for "lion city"
Singapore
Named after the Jordan River (its own etymology is debated)
Jordan
The ancient Bharata tribe and the legendary emperor Bharata
India (Bharat)
Aryan (the ancient name of a people that means noble)
Iran
From Phoenician for "white" (as in snowy)
Lebanon
"East" + Malay word for "East"
East Timor
Struggle with God
Israel
The Lao people
Laos
Middle realm
China (Zhōngguó)
Land of the pure (while also an acronym for five of the regions)
Pakistan
The origin of the sun
Japan (Nippon or Nihon)
Great Han (which also means great, and unrelated to Han China)
South Korea (Daehan or Hanguk)
Land of the + another word for Pashtuns
Afghanistan
Named after the ancient and Biblical Philistines
Palestine (Filastin)
From Chinese for "southern Yue people" (named after battle axes)
Vietnam
Morning brightness (also an ancient name for the country)
North Korea (Choson or Joseon)
Possibly evolved from a word for "human being"
Thailand
Greek for "Indian islands"
Indonesia
Possibly "the end of Tibet"
Bhutan
Land of Bengal
Bangladesh
The Bamar ethnic group (alternatively the literary name for this group)
Burma/Myanmar
Possibly from the ancient city Uruk
Iraq
The royal dynasty + the people (which means desert nomads)
Saudi Arabia
Possibly "south" or "blessed" for its fertile soil south of the desert
Yemen
Land of almost Turks, alternatively pure Turks
Turkmenistan
Land of the wanderers (meaning nomads)
Kazakhstan
Land of the forty (for forty original tribes)
Kyrgyzstan
King Philip II of Spain
Philippines
The two seas
Bahrain
Christopher Columbus
Colombia
Venezuelan military and political leader Simón Bolívar
Bolivia
Spanish for "equator"
Ecuador
Portuguese for "like an ember" (named for a red tree)
Brazil
Amerindian for "land of many waters"
Guyana
Named after the Paraguay River (itself of uncertain etymology)
Paraguay
Named after the Uruguay River (itself of uncertain etymology)
Uruguay
Spanish for "Little Venice"
Venezuela
Hint
Answer
The first local commoner or ruler the Spanish met named Birú
Peru
Italian for "made of silver"
Argentina
An Amerindian tribe called Surinen
Suriname
From the native St Lawrence Iroquoian word for "village"
Canada
Either from Taino for "big upper middle land" or Spanish for "low tide"
The Bahamas
The native Taino name "land of high mountains" of Hispaniola
Haiti
The native Taino name "land of wood and water"
Jamaica
From another name for the Aztecs
Mexico
From Nahuatl (Aztec language) for "place of many trees"
Guatemala
Many possible Nahuatl words, eg. "the Anahuac reached this far"
Nicaragua
Many possible native meanings, eg. "abundance of fish"
Panama
Originally from Mayan belix for "muddy-watered" for a river
Belize
Latin for "Sunday"
Dominica
The Spanish city Granada
Grenada
Spanish for "rich coast"
Costa Rica
Spanish for "the savior"
El Salvador
Saint Dominic (medieval Spanish priest, founded an order of monks)
Dominican Republic
Spanish for "depths"
Honduras
Spanish for "ancient" and "bearded"
Antigua and Barbuda
Spanish for the "bearded ones"
Barbados
Spanish for "Trinity" and "tobacco"
Trinidad and Tobago
English shortening of San Cristobal + Spanish for "(our lady of the) snows"
Saint Kitts and Nevis
The martyr Saint Lucy of Syracuse
Saint Lucia
The Spanish deacon Saint Vincent of Saragossa + the city Granada
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Latin for "southern"
Australia
Greek for "small islands"
Micronesia
Named after the Dutch province Zeeland
New Zealand
Native name of uncertain origin + named after the coast of West Africa
Papua New Guinea
The Biblical King Solomon
Solomon Islands
Native pronunciation of "Gilbert" (after British sea captain Thomas Gilbert)
Kiribati
British sea captain John Marshall
Marshall Islands (not native name)
Tongan pronunciation of the island name "Viti (Levu)"
Fiji
Possibly native for "I go to the beach"
Nauru
Possibly native for "village"
Palau
South
Tonga
Eight standing together (meaning eight inhabited islands)
Tuvalu
Native word for "land" or "home" with "stand" (meaning independent)
Vanuatu
"Large houses of stone" after a ruined city from the Middle Ages
Zimbabwe
Named after the Zambezi River
Zambia
From the name "vast place" (named for a desert)
Namibia
King Mswati II (d. 1868)
Swaziland (eSwatini)
Combination of Tanganyika (sail in the wilderness) + Zanzibar (black shore)
Tanzania
From an ancient Berber tribe (the Greeks called the continent by the name)
Libya
Probably from Tuareg "Egerew n-Igerewen" ("river of rivers")
Niger + Nigeria
Possibly from the word "hippo" which became "place where the king lives"
Mali
Arabic for "black"
Sudan
Arabic for "the islands" (named for a city on the coast)
Algeria (al-Jazair)
Arabic for "the West"
Morocco (al-Maghrib)
Arab trader and ruler Mussa Bin Bique (alternatively Ben Mbiki), ca. 1500
Mozambique
From the Arabic word "qamar" meaning "moon"
Comoros
Spanish for "lioness mountains"
Sierra Leone
Land of the Tswana ethnic group
Botswana
Land of the people who speak Sotho
Lesotho
Jean Moreau de Séchelles, the French minister of finance from 1754-56
Seychelles
Maurice of Nassau/Orange, Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, 1585-1625
Mauritius
Wolof for "our boat", named for a river
Senegal
From Kambra, the original Mandinka name for the major river
The Gambia
Named after the Buganda kingdom
Uganda
From the title "ngola" used by rulers of Ndongo
Angola
Portuguese for "green cape"
Cape Verde
Portuguese for "Saint Thomas and the prince"
São Tomé and Príncipe
Portuguese for "shrimp"
Cameroon
From the Portuguese for "cloak" for the shape of the estuary
Gabon
Name the Portuguese used for West Africa of older uncertain origin
Guinea
"Warrior king", a title given to kings of the empire of the same name
Ghana
Two words of different languages meaning "honest" + "fatherland"
Burkina Faso
"God's resting place" named for a mountain
Kenya
Corrupted form of "Ubinu", the capital of an empire in Nigeria
Benin
Land where lagoons lie
Togo
"Lake", named after its largest lake
Chad
Semitic for "frontier" (while the Greek comes from the temple of Ptah)
Egypt (Masr)
Greek for "red", as in the Red Sea
Eritrea
Greek for "burnt face"
Ethiopia
Latin for "freedom"
Liberia
Latin for the Berber people they called Mauri (from Greek for "black")
Mauritania
Gets its name from medieval Europeans confusing it with Mogadishu
Madagascar
4 Comments
+1
Level 75
Feb 10, 2018
Luxembourg doesn't work, you have to type in Letzebuerg as well.
+1
Level 71
Oct 28, 2020
I'm pretty sure Nicaragua got its name from an Indian King named Nicarao.
+1
Level 74
Oct 28, 2020
According to Wikipedia, the etymology in question is uncertain, but recent research suggests that Nicarao was not the king's name.
+1
Level 71
Oct 7, 2021
That's the thing about wikipedia, it's a gamble.