22 Stories Behind Country Nicknames Around the World
1. Rainbow Nation - South AfricaThe term "rainbow nation" in reference to South Africa was coined by Archbishop Desmond Tufu and describes the multi-culturalism of a nation post-apartheid, which was once divided by skin colour.
2. The Emerald Isle - IrelandThe stunning greenery of Ireland is symbolized as an emerald in the country's nickname. First referred to in print by William Drennan's poem "When Erin first rose", the affectionate nickname has stuck.
3. Land of Poets - ChileChile is a country whose literature is highly regarded, having won the Nobel prize twice, both in 1945 and 1971 earning the country the enviable title of Land of Poets!
4. L'hexagone - FranceTranslated as "the hexagon", this refers to the shape of mainland France closely resembling the shape of mainland France closely resembling the shape of a hexagon. The national side of the French 1 and 2 euro coins also display a hexagon.
5. The Heart of South America - ParaguayDue to the location of Paraguay, landlocked in the centre of South America, it is often referred to as Corazon de Sudamerica, or "The Heart of South America".
6. Uncle Sam - United States of AmericaThe personification of the US as Uncle Sam has been reported to be based off of Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from New York who provided provisions during the War of 1812, although the true origin of the name is unclear. The name is often used to refer to the US government, as well as the country as a whole.
7. A jewel in the Irish sea - Isle of ManLocate in the Irish Sea sandwiched between Ireland and the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man boasts stunning countryside and wonderful scenery - making it the highlight of the Irish sea!
8. The Bread Basket Of Europe - UkraineThe richness of the soil in the Ukraine and high production and export levels of wheat and other foodstuff into Europe have earned the country this nickname
9. The Sunny Side Of The Alps - SloveniaThe incredible range of climates can lead to warm Mediterranean breezes up to the foothill of the Alps, which has earned Slovenia the enviable title of "The Sunny Side of the Alps"!
10. Land Of Fire And Ice - IcelandThe intimidating nickname of Iceland has been earned from being a country of extremes with glacial regions and areas of active volcanoes sat side by side.
11. The Boot - ItalyAnybody that has looked at a world map will know where Italy gets this nickname from, closely resembling the shape of a boot. Who'd have thought?!
12. The Graveyard Of Empires - AfghanistanThe nickname of Afghanistan is a little more political than most, having fought off invasions from many of the worlds superpowers including the British and Soviet Union, the country has become a graveyard for many an empire!
13. The Lucky Country - AustraliaThe term of endearment used to describe Australia was originally the title of a book by Donald Horne that actually presented the country in a negative light. The name has since been turned on its head however and is widely applied positively to the prosperous and laid-back country.
14. Land Of The Long White Cloud - New ZealandThis name comes from the translation of the Maori word "Aotearoa", which was originally in reference to the North Island of New Zealand, but is now accepted as a name for the entire country in 1878 which is still used today.
15. Land Of The Rising Sun - JapanHistorically, from China it appears that the sun rises from the direction of Japan. Furthermore, the Japanese often refer to their country as "Nippon" which translates roughly to the name "The Land of the Rising Sun". This name is embodied in the national flag of Japan.
16. Teardrop Of India - Sri LankaThe location of Sri Lanka just off the bottom of India and the shape of the country closely resembling a teardrop has led to this nickname, however, it is also sometimes referred to as The Pear of the Indian Ocean for the same reason!
17. The Gift Of The Nile - EgyptHistorically, the yearly flooding of the river Nile caused by melted snow in the East African mountain range left a layer of silt which was rich in nutrients and allowed crops to be grown. This has led to Egypt as being referred to as the gift of the Nile, despite the Aswan Dam now controlling the flooding in modern times.
18. The Land Of Smiles - ThailandThailand is referred to as "The land of smiles" because of its reputation of having happy, easy-going natives and beautiful scenery, however, the Thai language also has 13 words for different types of smile!
19. The Great White North - CanadaThe abundance of snow in many part of the country and the location of Canada in the Northern hemisphere of the world results in this affectionate name.
20. Land Of The Thunder Dragon - BhutanThe violent thunderstorms resulting from the Himalayan mountains were believed to be fire from a dragon known as the Druk. The Druk is a national symbol which is emblazoned on the flag of Bhutan, the dragon is holding jewels to represent wealth.
21. The Kingdom In The Sky - LesothoBeing the only country in the world to be entirely above 1000m in elevation and having the highest low point of any country on Earth means Lesotho's nickname is not misplaced!
22. The Land Of Grace - VenezuelaThe large quantity of fresh water from a river that deflected the voyage of columbus during his third voyage of the Americas amazed him so much that he declared he must have arrived in Paradise - resulting in the naming of the country the "Land of Grace"!
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