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The Origins of Place Names

Posted on 15 March 2018


The origin of many place names has been forgotten over time and although it’s possible to understand how some of them developed such as Australia, which originated from Terra Australis meaning South Land in Latin. Other’s haven’t been forgotten and instead have been passed down through history.

Just take a look at Madagascar, which came by its name by chance and miss-identification of Marco Polo, an Italian merchant and explorer. Marco was describing a “wondrous place, full of animals ranging from Lions to Elephants”. Only he wasn’t describing Madagascar which didn’t contain any Elephants at all but instead is famously known for its Lemurs. Marco Polo was actually describing Mogadishu, which is 1,500 miles away on the African continent.