Couldn't give a continental

Terry : I have searched high and low but I can't find out how the continents got their names.

Edward Luhn: Europe has something to do with Europa from Greek mythology, who was seduced by Zeus and brought from Phoenicia across the Mediterranean Sea to Crete. Asia and Africa are a mystery to me. Both names are Greek, however. Antarctica means "opposite the Arctic," and "arctic" comes from the Greek word for "bear" (referring to the bear constellations of the north, what we now call the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper. America is easy; one of the first mapmakers to draw up the New World labeled it in honor of the navigator Amerigo Vespucci. (That was a close one. Can you imagine living in the "United States of Vespucci?")


Return to the Archive Index
Return to the Word for Word articles
Return to the BrisMail Home page