Lonely Planet Writer

This map shows you the literal translation of country names

An illuminating map of the world highlighting the literal translation of country names has been unveiled by Credit Card Compare in Australia. Featured on their blog, the colourful map provides an insight to travellers who may not have known the original meanings to countries’ names.

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The map delves into all country descriptions. Image by Credit Card Compare

“Learning the etymology – the origin of words – of countries around the world offers us fascinating insight into the origins of some of our favourite travel destinations and the people who first lived there,” the company says. Zooming in on continents and regions, from Europe to South America and Africa, the map offers a different perspective.

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“The Land of the Thunder Dragon”, i.e. Bhutan, is one of the coolest literal country names in Asia. Azerbaijan should stick with “Protected by Fire”! Image by Credit Card Compare

“Both company co-founders travel a lot and isn’t it cool to know a little about where you’re travelling to?” David Boyd, Co-Founder and CEO of Credit Card Compare told Lonely Planet.

“We know that people in Australia use our comparison site extensively to research travel-related credit card rewards and travel destinations so that they can make the most of their international travels. We wanted to look at the world map in a whole new way for our visitors by getting to the literal translations of country names. And that’s what we’ve managed to do with this beautiful world map.”

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Much of North America has been influenced by European colonialists, e.g. El Salvador and Costa Rica being derived from “The Savior” and “Rich Coast” respectively. Image by Credit Card Compare
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South American country names are highly descriptive, for example, “Land Beside the Silvery River” (Argentina) and “Land of Columbus” (Colombia). Image by Credit Card Compare
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“Southern Land”. Nauru, which literally translates as “I Go to The Beach”/ Image by Credit Card Compare

“The interest has been enormous far beyond Australia because of some of the unexpected names. People are contacting us with their positive feedback and reasons for some corrections to one or two names. We plan to release even high-def downloads suitable for big poster-sized prints.”

Credit Card Compare focus in on helping Australians compare, research and apply for a new credit card. You can see more of the maps and read about all the explanations on their blog here.