Brain Teaser – Place Name Origins

Our brainteaser this week is about the origins of place names. Need help? Use Credo Reference Online a reference library at your figuretips!

1. Which continent was named after the Spanish explorer Amerigo Vespucci?

2. Which country is called by its natives Nippon, “the land of the rising Sun”?

3. Which city on Manhattan Island was originally called New Amsterdam?

4. Which American state is named after France’s King Louis XIV?

5. Which bay was discovered by Captain Cook in 1770 and named on account of the great variety of new plants observed there?

6. Which Central American country was given a name which meant “rich coast”?

7. In 1642, a Dutch navigator discovered an island southeast of Australia which he named Van Diemen’s Land. It is now named after him. What is its modern name?

8. Which African country was formed in 1964 when Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged?

9. Which South American country was explored in 1499 by Amerigo Vespucci and nicknamed with a name that means “little Venice”?

10. Which Australian city was founded in 1835 and named in 1837 after the British prime minister?

How did you do?

0 – 1 Mmmm, not exactly brilliant.
2 – 5 A reasonable stab.
6 – 8 A good showing. But there’s still room for improvement!
9 – 10 You really know your stuff. Well done!

Questions set by Tony Augarde (

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