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Discover the Origins and Meaning of the Names of These African Countries

You certainly know these countries, their cultures and customs but perhaps not the origins and the meaning of the names that have been conferred on them since the beginning of time. Do you know why Ivory Coast is so called? Let’s discover together the origins and meaning of the names of these African countries.


The ancients were inspired by an Arabic word الجزائر (al-gaza’ir) which means “islands”. The country being surrounded by four islands in the 1525’s bears the name of what nature has generously offered. So in Arabic language Algeria means island.


It is the mixture of Nigerian and Portuguese languages ​​that gave birth to Benin. In time the Portuguese had baptized a capital in their dialect itsekiri “Ubinu”. It was the biggest capital to have all the contacts with Europe.


The Portuguese were represented in large numbers in Angola during the colonial period. To pay tribute to a monarch in his time in the Ndongo region, the Portuguese gave his name to the country. Mr. Ngola’s name was-he was an ally of these.

4-Burkina Faso

This name comes from a local language, Moré language. ” Burkina ” means in moré the land of a righteous and upright people. This is why when we want to talk about Burkinabe people we always say the country of honest men.

5-Ivory Coast

With a wealth of ivory in several coastal regions and very generous in terms of labor (slaves), the settlers christened the country “Ivory Coast”. And the name “Ivorian” originates from “ivory”.


A river of the country received a Portuguese name “Rio de Camarões”. This name means shrimp river was immediately affiliated with the country because of the English sailors. In this river lived many shrimp and to indicate the country, the sailors said “Cameroons” which has become today Cameroon.

Written by How Africa

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