No one ever wondered why Greenland is a huge island covered by a glacier all the time; it is called Greenland (in Norwegian Gronland), which means "Green Land". It seems that the Vikings who discovered it were a little too clever with geographic landmarks and confused it with Ireland or Britain. But the sources tell us a more entertaining story ...
According to the 11th century chronicler Ari the Wise, Greenland got its name from the light hand of its discoverer Eric the Red, who wanted to attract colonists there with a promising name. After all, even the Vikings needed a reason to sail somewhere.
True, there is another version, according to which in the X century the climate in Greenland was indeed more hospitable than today, and the coastal areas of the south-west of the island, which Eric saw, were covered with dense grassy vegetation.
The island of Madagascar owes its name to the Italian traveler Marco Polo, who confused it with the peninsula. Obviously, studying the sources, he correlated in his descriptions "Madagasikara" (Madagascar island) with the territory of Mogadishi - the current name of the capital of Somalia. Which, in general, is not surprising, since, despite his colorful descriptions of local nature and fauna, he himself has never been there.
3. Solomon Islands.
The Solomon Islands in Melanesia were discovered by the Spaniard Medanya de Nera in the 16th century. Having exchanged gold from the local residents, he compared the new land with the legendary biblical country of Ophir, from where they allegedly brought jewelry and diamonds for the temple of Solomon. According to the Holy Scriptures, ships to Ophir were sent just in this direction from the ports of the Red Sea.
It is not known whether Medanya really believed that he had discovered the land of the mines of King Solomon, or whether he simply had a beautiful story by the way. But, it is worth noting that the legend of Ophir was really widespread at that time.
Australia's name also fell short of expectations from its discoverers, who believed they had finally found Terra Australis Incognita, the most Southern Land traditionally depicted on maps from ancient times to the 18th century. Its outline disappeared from the maps after the travel of James Cook in 1772, who stated that if the Southern mainland exists, it is located very close to the polis and is of no value.
Before that, the inhabitants of Europe believed that the southern land was quite suitable for life. Its outlines on ancient maps were accompanied by images of mountains, rivers and lakes. In 1770, shortly before Cook's discovery, the English navigator Alexander Dalrymple wrote a work where he cited evidence that the population of the southern continent exceeds 50 million people.
In general, thanks to the well-known and popular myth, Australia has remained Australia, in translation - "South Land". This term was used by the traveler, Matthew Flinders, who first explored the Australian coast.
Brazil also owes its name to the legendary land - the island of Brasil (O'Brazil and Hi-Brasil) from Irish mythology. At least that's what one of the versions says. The mythological island in the Atlantic Ocean was marked on many maps of the XIV-XVII centuries. He was most often depicted west of Ireland.
The legendary island promised great prospects, as it was considered the island of the Blessed, the Promised Land. Therefore, expeditions in search of him were undertaken several times. Also, many newly discovered lands personified with him. One of them, obviously, could be Brazil, which amazed the discoverers with its abundance.
According to another version, the name "Brazil" appeared in 1510, when a Lisbon merchant established a trade in local redwood with the metropolis. The Portuguese called the valuable tree pau-brasil (from the Portuguese brasa - heat, coals), since they decided that they had found the place from which the Arabs took the mahogany, known in Europe since the 12th century.