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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

List of African Country Names

African Country Names

Surrounded by water from all directions, Africa is a continent with 54 sovereign states and 54 different ways her counties were named.


How African Countries Got Their Names




Women of Niger


Among the sovereign African countries, the largest is Algeria, occupying around 7 percent of the continent's landmass; the smallest African nation is Seychelles. The Morocco is in the first place among the most popular travel spots in Africa, followed by South Africa, Egypt and Tunisia. 


Africa


Africa is a continent with 54 sovereign states and 54 different ways her counties were named. List of African country names is long and colorful. Study this list of African country names to understand Africa and her 54 country history.



The following 54 fully recognized states are all members of the United Nations and the African Union.

How African Countries Got Their Names
African Country
Etymology of African Country Names
Algeria
The country name derives from the capital city of Algiers
Angola
Name derived by the Portuguese   from the title "ngola" held by kings of the Ndongo (Ndongo was a kingdom in what is now northern Angola)
Benin
Named for the Bight of Benin, the body of water on which the country lies
Botswana
The name Botswana means "Land of the Tswana" - referring to the country's major ethnic group
Burkina Faso
Name translates as "Land of the Honest (Incorruptible) Men"
Burundi
Name derived from the pre-colonial Kingdom of Burundi (17th-19th century)
Cabo Verde
The name derives from Cap-Vert   (Green Cape) on the Senegalese coast, the westernmost point of Africa and the nearest mainland to the islands
Cameroon
In the 15th century, Portuguese explorers named the area near the mouth of the Wouri River the Rio dos Camaroes (River of Prawns) after the abundant shrimp in the water; over time the designation became Cameroon in English; this is the only instance where a country is named after a crustacean
Central African Republic
Self-descriptive name specifying   the country's location on the continent; "Africa" is derived from the Roman designation of the area corresponding to present-day Tunisia "Africa terra," which meant "Land of the Afri" (the tribe resident in that area), but which eventually came to mean the entire continent
Chad
Named for Lake Chad, which lies along the country's western border; the word "tsade" means "large body of water" or "lake" in several local native languages
Comoros
Name derives from the Arabic designation "Juzur al Qamar" meaning "Islands of the Moon"
Congo-Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Named for the Congo River, most of which lies within the DRC; the river name derives from Kongo, a Bantu kingdom that occupied its mouth at the time of Portuguese discovery in the late 15th century and whose name stems from its people the Bakongo, meaning "hunters"
Congo Brazzaville (Republic of the Congo)
Same as DRC, named for the Congo River, which makes up much of the country's eastern border; the river name derives from Kongo, a Bantu kingdom that occupied its mouth at the time of Portuguese discovery in the late 15th century and whose name stems from its people the Bakongo, meaning "hunters"
Cote d'Ivoire
Name reflects the intense ivory trade that took place in the region from the 15th to 17th centuries
Djibouti
The country name derives from the capital city of Djibouti
Egypt
The English name "Egypt" derives from the ancient Greek name for the country "Aigyptos"; the Arabic name "Misr" can be traced to the ancient Akkadian "misru" meaning border or frontier
Equatorial Guinea
The country is named for the Guinea region of West Africa that lies along the Gulf of Guinea and stretches north to the Sahel; the "equatorial" refers to the fact that the country lies just north of the Equator
Eritrea
The country name derives from the ancient Greek appellation "Erythra Thalassa" meaning Red Sea, which is the major water body bordering the country
Ethiopia
The country name derives from the Greek word "Aethiopia," which in classical times referred to lands south of Egypt in the Upper Nile region
Gabon
Name originates from the Portuguese word "gabao" meaning "cloak," which is roughly the shape that the early explorers gave to the estuary of the Komo River by the capital of Libreville
The Gambia
Named for the Gambia River that flows through the heart of the country
Ghana
Named for the medieval West African kingdom of the same name, but whose location was actually further north than the modern country
Guinea
The country is named after the Guinea region of West Africa that lies along the Gulf of Guinea and stretches north to the Sahel
Guinea-Bissau
The country is named after the Guinea region of West Africa that lies along the Gulf of Guinea and stretches north to the Sahel; "Bissau," the name of the capital city, distinguishes the country from neighboring Guinea
Kenya
Named for Mount Kenya; the meaning of the name is unclear but may derive from the Kikuyu, Embu, and Kamba words "kirinyaga," "kirenyaa," and "kiinyaa" - all of which mean "God's resting place"
Lesotho
The name translates as "Land of the Sesotho Speakers"
Liberia
Name derives from the Latin word "liber" meaning "free"; so named because the nation was created as a homeland for liberated African-American slaves
Libya
Name derives from the Libu, an ancient Libyan tribe first mentioned in texts from the 13th century B.C.
Madagascar
The name "Madageiscar" was first used by the 13th-century Venetian explorer Marco POLO, as a corrupted transliteration of Mogadishu, the Somali port with which POLO confused the island
Malawi
Named for the East African Maravi Kingdom of the 16th century; the word "maravi" means "fire flames"
Mali
Name derives from the West African Mali Empire of the 13th to 16th centuries A.D.
Mauritania
Named for the ancient kingdom of Mauretania (3rd century B.C. to 1st century A.D.), which existed further north in present-day Morocco; the name derives from the Mauri (Moors), the Berber-speaking peoples of northwest Africa
Mauritius
Island named after Prince Maurice VAN NASSAU, stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, in 1598
Morocco
The English name "Morocco" derives from, respectively, the Spanish and Portuguese names "Marruecos" and "Marrocos," which stem from "Marrakesh" the Latin name for the former capital of ancient Morocco; the Arabic name "Al Maghrib" translates as "The West"
Mozambique
Named for the offshore island of   Mozambique; the island was apparently named after Mussa al-BIK, an influential Arab slave trader who set himself up as sultan on the island in the 15th century
Namibia
Named for the coastal Namib Desert; the name "namib" means "vast place" in the Nama/Damara language
Niger
Named for the Niger River that passes through the southwest of the country; from a native term "Ni Gir" meaning "River Gir"
Nigeria
Same as Niger, named for the Niger River that flows through the west of the country to the Atlantic Ocean; from a native term "Ni Gir" meaning "River Gir"
Rwanda
The name translates as "domain" in the native Kinyarwanda language
Sao Tome and Principe
Ao Tome was named after Saint Thomas the Apostle by the Portuguese who discovered the island on 21 December 1470 (or 1471), the saint's feast day; Principe is a shortening of the original Portuguese name of "Ilha do Principe" (Isle of the Prince) referring to the Prince of Portugal to whom duties on the island's sugar crop were paid
Senegal
Named for the Senegal River that forms the northern border of the country; many theories exist for the origin of the river name; perhaps the most widely cited derives the name from "Azenegue," the Portuguese appellation for the Berber Zenaga people who lived north of the river
Seychelles
Named by French Captain Corneille Nicholas MORPHEY after Jean Moreau de sechelles, the finance minister of France, in 1756
Sierra Leone
The Portuguese explorer Pedro de Sintra named the country "Serra Leoa" (Lion Mountains) for the impressive mountains he saw while sailing the West African coast in 1462
Somalia
"Land of the Somali" (ethnic group)
South Africa
Self-descriptive name from the country's location on the continent; "Africa" is derived from the Roman designation of the area corresponding to present-day Tunisia "Africa terra," which meant "Land of the Afri" (the tribe resident in that area), but which eventually came to mean the entire continent
South Sudan
Name from the country's former position within Sudan prior to independence; the name "Sudan"   derives from the Arabic "bilad-as-sudan" meaning "Land of the Black peoples"
Sudan
The name "Sudan" derives from the Arabic "bilad-as-sudan" meaning "Land of the Black peoples"
Swaziland
"Land of the Swazi" people; the name "Swazi" derives from 19th century King MSWATI II, under whose rule Swazi territory was expanded and unified
Tanzania
The country's name is a combination of the first letters of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, the two states that merged to form Tanzania in 1964
Togo
Derived from the Ewe words "to" (water) and "go" (shore) to give the sense of "by the water"; originally, this designation applied to the town of Togo (now Togoville) on the northern shore of Lake Togo, but the name was eventually extended to the entire nation
Tunisia
The country name derives from the capital city of Tunis
Uganda
From the Swahili "Buganda," adopted by the British as the name for their East African colony in 1894; Buganda had been a powerful East African state during the 18th and 19th centuries
Zambia
Name derived from the Zambezi   River, which flows through the western part of the country and forms its southern border with neighboring Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Name from the Kingdom of Zimbabwe (13th-15th century) and its capital of Great Zimbabwe, the largest stone structure in pre-colonial southern Africa

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