Have you Ever Wonder Why is Iceland Green and Why is Greenland Icy?

We have heard tales of how places got their names. Like how Mount Mayon become a legend and how it got its name. 

Different countries around the world have their origins, and most of the Countries around the globe named based on a person, a tribe, directional description or the land’s features. 



Like for example, how “Norway” was named as a directional description. It implies “The Way North” or “The Northern Way” then become “Norway”. 



The United States of America on the other hand named after a person who was an Italian explorer, “Amerigo Vespucci.” 

The “Philippines” was named after “King Philip II” of Spain. 

Mauritania is a country named after a large ethnic group residing there called, “Mauris.” 

However, the two Countries; Iceland and Greenland remains a mystery as to how their names got switched?

Greenland is Icy, while Iceland is a land full of greenery with lush tree and plants. Almost 80% of Greenland’s area is covered with Ice, and while there are houses painted with green, the place is still a winter wonderland. 

Way back in AD 982, explorer Erik the Red arrived at the south-west part in which Greenland was a much greener place. To prove it, a Norse custom creates a rule that people will name places or things on what they saw or the description of the place. Hence, Greenland was a much greener pasture then.



On the other hand, Iceland was first named as “snow land” according to Naddador, the first Norse explorer to arrive in Iceland that he named the place Snaeland or “snow land” because it was snowy at the time. Swedish Viking Garoar Svavarosson also called the place Garoarsholmur which means “Garoar’s Isle.”

A National Geographic article further explains and tell many people that:

“Garoar’s Isle was not so kind to its nex arrival, a Viking named Floki Vilgerdarson. Floki’s daughter drowned en route to Iceland, then all his livestock starved to death as the winter dragged on. Depressed and frustrated, Floki, the sagas say, climbed a mountain only to see a fjord full of icebergs, which led to the island’s new name.”

Yet according to a history professor and the current Iceland President, Guoni Thorlacius Johannesson, that the new people of Iceland:



“felt they were part of the Nordic region, but they wanted to maintain a separate identity” and since “an island has to have a name, and that is the one that stuck”, he added.

Since our world is prone to climate change, the rapidly melting of Ice on Greenland and the rise in cold temperature in Iceland, it is no wonder that the two countries will be switching back to their original states in the future.

It is a great concern to find out that climate change has switched a climate from once a cold country to a greener one and vice versa. This should be a reality check and eye opener to all people how climate change affects everything.







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