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Lv 5
? asked in Science & MathematicsGeography · 8 years ago

Shouldn't Iceland and Greenland change its names?

Iceland: Greenland

Greenland: Iceland

7 Answers

  • ?
    Lv 6
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Iceland was named by Flóki Vilgerðarson ("Raven Flóki"), who discovered the country by launching ravens from his boat (ravens can't swim, and so would head to land if they could see it, and otherwise return to the boat). He settled at Barðaströnd in Vestfjörður. During his first winter in the country there was pack ice that came into the fjörd, which is very unusual in Iceland - but to him, it was as if the sea itself was freezing. Hence the name.

    Iceland is not, contrary to popular myth, some super-green landscape. It's a diverse landscape, with grassy plains, mossy lava, scrubby forests, barren mountains, and yes, expansive icy wastelands. And of course the whole country gets snowy in winter. Iceland has the largest glacier in Europe. And if any of the early settlers coming from the south or east questioned the name, the sight of Vatnajökull (largest glacier in Europe) probably put those questions to rest.

    Greenland was named by Eiríkr Þórvalddson (Eirík the Red), who was banished from Iceland for a few years due to a complicated case involving some killings. Back in those days, if you were "convicted" of something, that didn't mean that the state would punish you - it just meant that everyone else had the right to punish you themselves, without retribution.

    There was already a land known to the west - actually, two (one of them, a small series of skerries, no longer exists, due to volcanic activity). Of course, all that was known of it was a barren icy coast. Eiríkr sailed further along the coast than anyone had before, and found... wait for it... green land. Sizeable parts of the south and western shores of Greenland are not glaciated and have significant plant life, sort of like a several-degrees-cooler version of northern Iceland. So Eiríkr named the place Grænland (Greenland). Now, yes, in this particular case, unlike with the name Iceland, it *was* chosen deliberately for "propaganda" purposes - he stated that he wanted an appealing name so that people would come to settle there. But it's not like he was trying to trick people into settling on a glacier - he was actually talking about green, habitable land not all that different from the land that they were leaving.

    Why am I writing all this? In hopes that at least one person will stop with this silly, "Iceland is Green, Greenland is Icy, they named them to trick people!" The reality is far more complicated.

    Source(s): I live in Iceland.
  • 5 years ago

    The nation was once named Iceland by an early settler who was upset by way of seeing the coastal waters full of ice after an unusually bloodless and long wintry weather. However Iceland shouldn't be as bloodless as most places thus far north. The Gulf movement ocean present warms most of Iceland's coast. Iceland can also be a land of midnigh sun. It's gentle nearly 24 hours a day in June and darkish for the same period in December.

  • 8 years ago

    They were named for when the Vikings ruled that area. They didn't want the Vikings to take the land where things grow, so to mislead them, they named it Iceland. No one wants to take over a place called Iceland; it makes it sound like there's nothing there. So they took a place that WAS icy and foreboding and names it Greenland so the Vikings would go there instead.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    i agree there is no good reason to do that. but think about this if they remain the same as they are now then they have a bit of witty irony about thier names.

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  • 8 years ago

    Yes they aught to change their well as their underwear, at least once in 2 weeks.

  • 8 years ago

    Yes! They should.

    Because of adaptation to reality!

  • ?
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    No reasons to do so.

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