5 countries, whose names have come up out of stupidity
The origin of the names of some countries to have the same "Terra incognita", as once America for discoverers. Greenland Ice translates as "green land", and the islands in Melanesia, named in honor of King Solomon
No one ever wondered why Greenland - a huge island, very often covered by a glacier, it is called Greenland (Grønland in Norwegian), which means "green land". It seems that the Vikings, who opened it, a bit too clever by half with the geographical landmarks and mixed it with Ireland or Britain. But sources tell us more interesting story. According to the chronicler Ari the Wise, who lived in the XI century, Greenland got its name from the light hand of its discoverer Erik the Red, who wanted a promising name to attract colonists. In the end, even the Vikings need an excuse to go somewhere.
However, there is another version according to which in the X century the climate in Greenland really was more hospitable than it is today, and coastal areas of the south-west of the island, which saw Eric, were covered with a thick grassy vegetation.
its name to the island of Madagascar is obliged to Italian traveler Marco Polo, who confused him with the peninsula. Obviously, studying the sources, it is related to their descriptions of "Madagasikaru" (Madagascar) with territory Mogadishu - the current name of the capital of Somalia. That, in general, is not surprising, since, despite his colorful descriptions of the local nature and fauna, he had never been there.
Solomon Islands in Melanesia were discovered by the Spanish Medan de Nera in the XVI century. Barter with locals gold, he compared the new earth with biblical legendary country Ophir, where supposedly brought jewelry and diamonds for Solomon's temple. According Scriptures ships to Ophir sent just in the direction from the Red Sea ports.
Believed there really Medan that opened the land mines of King Solomon, or simply had the word had a beautiful story - it is unknown. But it's worth noting that the legend of Ophir was really common in those days.
Name Australia also did not meet the expectations of its pioneers, who believed that finally found Terra Australis Incognita, the southernmost Earth is traditionally depicted on maps from ancient times to the XVIII century. Its outline had disappeared from the maps after the trip of James Cook in 1772, who said that if the Southern continent, and there, it is very close to the pole and does not represent any value.
Prior to that, the Europeans believed that South land is quite suitable for life. Its outline on ancient maps accompanied by images of mountains, rivers and lakes. In 1770, shortly before the opening of Cook, English navigator Alexander Dalrymple wrote the work, which has led evidence that the population of the southern continent is more than 50 million people. In general, thanks to the well-known and popular myth Australia, Australia and remained in the translation - "South Land". This term is used the traveler, Matthew Flinders who first investigated the Australian coast.
Brazil, too, owes its name to the legendary land - island of Brasil (O'Brazil and High-Brasil) from Irish mythology. At least, so says one of the versions. Mythical island in the Atlantic Ocean has been applied to many cards XIV-XVII centuries. Most often it is portrayed to the West of Ireland.
The legendary island promised great promise, as we believe the island's Cathedral, the Promised Land. Therefore the expedition in search of him have been made repeatedly. Just personified many of the newly discovered lands to him. One of them, obviously, could be a Brazil that struck explorers for its abundance. According to another version, the name "Brazil" appeared in 1510, when Lisbon has established a merchant trade of the local red timber with the metropolis. Portuguese called valuable pau-brasil tree (from the Portuguese brasa - heat, coals), as decided to find a place where Arabs took mahogany, known in Europe since the XII century.