On 20 May in 1570 the “first modern atlas” was issued. Produced by Dutch-born cartographer, Abraham Ortelius, it was called the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum – the “Theatre of the World”.
In the world of cartography, things have obviously changed a lot – and many times – over the subsequent years, but it got us thinking about some genius maps we saw recently, created by Credit Card Compare.
They show the literal translation of every country’s name, and the results are brilliant. Some meanings are pretty much just as you’d expect, while others are hilarious, intriguingly spot-on or downright bizarre.
For your entertainment and enlightenment, here are all of the continents (minus Antarctica – which, for the record, means “opposite of the Arctic”), plus some of our favourite literal names:
The funniest: Land of Many Rabbits (Spain)
The most charming/poetic: Field of the Blackbirds (Kosovo)
The one we hope comes up at a future trivia night: Land of the Men (Serbia)
The funniest: There (Brunei)
The most charming/poetic: Land of the Thunder Dragon (Bhutan)
The one we hope comes up at a future trivia night: Land of the Free (Uzbekistan) – the USA might have something to say about that! #murica #freedom
The funniest: Hippopotamus (Mali)
The most charming/poetic: Islands of the Moon (Comoros)
The one we hope comes up at a future trivia night: Those Who Went Away (Botswana)
The funniest: St. Christopher’s Land of Snows (Saint Kitts and Nevis). Snows? In the Caribbean?
The most charming/poetic: In the Navel of the Moon (Mexico)
The one we hope comes up at a future trivia night: Place of Pomegranates (Grenada)
The funniest: Bird’s Tail (Uruguay)
The most charming/poetic: Land Beside the Silvery River (Argentina)
The one we hope comes up at a future trivia night: Where the Land Ends (Chile) or Red Like an Ember (Brazil)
The funniest: I Go To The Beach (Nauru)
The most charming/poetic: Land of the Long White Cloud (New Zealand)
The one we hope comes up at a future trivia night: Eight Standing Together (Tuvalu) or Frizzy-Haired Men (Papua New Guinea)