Ever wondered how England got its name? As with countless other countries, it's all down to a tribe of early settlers (in this case the 5th Century Angles).

In fact, almost every country in the world is named after one of four things: 1) a tribe; 2) a feature of the land; 3) a directional description; or 4) an important person. That's according to Quartz, which analysed 195 countries listed in the Oxford Concise Dictionary of World Place-Names.

1> Tribe names

England is in good company with the lion’s share (about a third) of the world’s countries named after an early tribe or ethnic group.

FRANCE – Named after the Franks, who conquered the land in the Medieval ages.

VIETNAM – Named after the Viets of the South.

AFGHANISTAN – Translates to "Afghan-land; place of the Afghans”.

THAILAND – Relates to the “tai” people, an ethnic group from the central plains region.

RUSSIA – From the Medieval Latin term “Russi”, which denoted the people of the land.

2> Important people

SAINT LUCIA – This Caribbean island was named by the French in 1625 after the Catholic Saint Lucy, who was widely worshipped during the Middle Ages.

COLOMBIA – Named after famed explorer Christopher Columbus, who incidentally never even set foot in the country. It was in fact discovered by his companion Alonso de Ojeda in 1499, but was eventually named after Columbus anyway.

PHILIPPINES – Named by Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos, in honor of King Philip II of Spain in 1542.

SAUDI ARABIA – After esteemed warrior and aristocrat Emir Muhammad bin Saud, who is considered the founder of the First Saudi State in 1744.

SEYCHELLES – In 1976, this beautiful chain of islands in the Indian Ocean gained independence from the UK but before that it was controlled by France and was named after French minister of finance Jean Moreau de Sechelles in the 1700s.

EL SAVADOR – This tiny country in Central America takes its name from Jesus and translates to "The Saviour". It was named by Spanish conqueror Pedro de Alvarado in the 1500s.

3> Land features

ICELAND – This moniker translates to "Land of Ice", perhaps for obvious reasons, from the ancient language of Old Norse, and is said to have been named by Norwegian Viking Hrafna-Flóki Vilgerðarson in 856 AD. This ignores Iceland’s plentiful green landscape, however, and many theorise that Iceland was named as such to dissuade potential settlers from invading what would have sounded like a cold, hostile environment.

HAITI – This Caribbean country’s name translates to "mountainous land" in its indigenous Taíno language. It was colonised by Spain in 1492 and originally named “La Española”, but was later renamed “Haiti” in 1804 by former slave and revolutionary Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who declared himself emperor and took back the land.

BARBADOS – This name translates to ‘the bearded’ in Portuguese, which is thought to be due to the long hanging roots of the fig trees that were noticed and marvelled at by colonizers in the late 16th Century.

UKRAINE – Ukraine was labelled as such during the 12th Century and translates to “near the border” in Old Slavic. Essentially it was used to define an area of territory within what was then the East Slavic state of Kievan Rus.

4> Location

AUSTRALIA – First coined by the Ancient Greeks, Australia translates to “Unknown Southern Land”, but was officially declared by this name in the early 1800s by English cartographer Matthew Flinders.

NORWAY – Conversely, this country traces its name to the Old English term for “northern way”, first mentioned in 880 by the Anglo-Saxons.

JAPAN – Nippon, which is the name commonly used by Japanese natives, means “land of the rising sun”, referring to its geographical location of being east of China.

There do exist a smattering of countries in the world which stepped outside the box with their naming criteria - around 20 of them. While some are disputed or their exact origins unclear, here is a handful of the most quirky and imaginative...

Bhutan, which calls itself Druk Yul, means "land of the thunder dragon" on account of the magnificent storms that tear through the Himalaya Mountains.

There are several theories as to the origin of Nepal's name, one of which makes reference to Kathmandu's sheep-rearing history, given that in Tibetan, "ne" means "home" and "pal" means "wool" - ergo "the home of wool"

Nauru, one of the world's most remote islands and the smallest state in the South Pacific, might take its name from the native term "anáoero" - which rather charmingly means, "I go to the beach".

1. You’ll Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

As young people most of us have a pretty established comfort zone. You have your established, friends, activities, hangouts and possibly jobs. We become comfortable in these daily roles and the idea of breaking out them can be scary and uncomfortable.

The problem is, you learn the most in uncomfortable, unfamiliar situations. In our daily routines, you know how to act and respond to people and your surroundings. Being in a new place, with different people, who hold different values and go about life differently strips all that familiarity away.

It can be scary, but once you figure out that you can connect with people despite differences, and you can navigate foreign environments, you become a smarter, more competent individual. Embrace the discomfort. Search for it, because it is helping you grow.

2. Traveling Builds Confidence

As you conquer the obstacles of figuring out how to use public transit in a foreign country, or asking for simple things in a grocery store, you are building a confidence and ability to adapt in foreign situations. 

You realize that you CAN do things, despite the obstacles and suddenly the obstacles seem less obstructive and more like welcomed challenges.

3. You Will Develop Cultural Sensitivity

Being culturally sensitive is key in our globalizing world. It is not enough to say “people from X country are like this.” It is important to look for underlying values that may explain a certain behavior in order to practice cultural sensitivity. 

Being aware of cultural values and norms is not only fascinating, but can help us understand international issues and conflicts, or even relate to the cultural norms of a foreign business partner. It is an important skill to be able to shift perspectives and see where someone else is coming from.

Cultural sensitivity will help you with your communication on both business and personal levels.

4. You Can Adapt to Globalization

Whether you like it or not, with the internet and social media, we are globalizing quickly. It is not unlikely that you would end up with a job that has you travel for business or take part in conference calls with international business partners. In our globalizing world it is important to be culturally sensitive and it can’t hurt to know a foreign language.

In the business world, having lived abroad can give you a competitive edge. Use the confidence and cultural sensitivity that traveling helps you develop and help it make you successful.

5. Be Immersed in a Second (or Third) Language

Once you travel abroad you realize that especially in Europe, almost everyone you meet speaks at least two languages somewhat proficiently.

We in the States have a bit of a disadvantage since geographically we cannot country-hop as easily as Europeans can. This is why traveling, especially for us, is even more important.  In the globalizing world it really can only benefit you to speak another language. Not to mention, it opens up a whole new world of people you can now connect with and understand that you would never have gotten the chance to get to know had you never learned their language.

Living abroad is really the best way to learn a new language since you are forced to challenge and practice your skills on a daily basis.

6. Infinite Opportunities to Network

If you are interested in working internationally or even just having a couch to stay on in a country that you love, never underestimate the value of networking wherever you go.

People are generally very friendly and love to talk about their home and culture. This is not always the case, but more than often it is. Making friendships abroad can make this big world seem a little smaller and help you feel more connected wherever you go.

The best advice is to meet as many people on your travels as you can. It will definitely make your time abroad more enjoyable since the locals know best! Plus you never know when these connections will come in handy in the future whether visiting each other for fun or otherwise.

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About

Kingtronics International Company was established in 1995 located in Dongguan City of China to handle all sales & marketing for factories located in Chengdu, Sichuan and Zhaoqing, Guangdong, China. In 1990, we established the first factory to produce trimming potentiometer and in 1999 we built up new factory in Zhao Qing, Guangdong. Now with around 850 workers, Kingtronics produce trimming potentiometers, dipped tantalum capacitors, multilayer ceramic capacitors, and diode & bridge rectifier. We sell good quality under our brand Kingtronics, and Kt, King, Kingtronics are our three trademarks. All our products are RoHS compliant, and our bridge rectifier have UL approval. Please visit our Products page, you could please download all our PDF datasheet and find cross reference for our Trimming Potentiometer and capacitors.

Tantalum and Ceramic Capacitors Cross Reference ↓ Download
Diodes & Rectifiers List(PDF: 97KB) ↓ Download
Trimming Potentiometer Cross Reference ↓Download

Meet Kingtronics in Moscow soon
Chip EXPO 2017
Chip EXPO 2017
"Expocentre" Moscow Russia
Date: Oct 31 - Nov 2nd, 2017
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Electronica 2018
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New Munich Trade Fair Centre, Germany
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