E is for…..Europe

6th September 2020

Here is a list of the present countries of Europe. I have tried to explain my thoughts on the meaning of the names, which may or may not be correct. There may be more truth than meets the eye on first reading, of course.

We mustn’t forget the meaning of Europe, or Europa as it was traditionally known. I shall no doubt look at this in more detail, but it can be noted Europe can be split into EU rope.

Rope is something to tie up things, and certainly the EU ties up the associated countries in complex knots of directives. It is just as well that the UK is out of it now. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this concoction.

A

  • Albania – So-called as alba means ‘White’, and as a people they were ‘All white’. As opposed to those who weren’t, who were ‘All Wong’. They, the ‘Wongs’ came from China of course.
  • Andorra – Named after the popular girl’s name in this principality, Dora. Usually as a second name. When asked what they were going to call their new-born daughter, the father might say ‘Ann’, whilst the mother would say ‘And Dora’.
  • Armenia – People known for saying ‘I mean, yeh’, hence the name.
  • Austria – Österreich in German. Sounds like ostrich. Makes sense as they buried their heads in the sand when Hitler came to power, and ignored the cruel goings on.
  • Azerbaijan – Somewhat corrupted from ‘Has a boy, Jan?’ One of the odd questions you might get asked if you go there.

B

  • Belarus – After well-known superstore chain dominant in the country, Bel ‘R’ Us’.
  • Belgium – Famous for beer and chocolate. Tendency to over indulge means the people are rather tubby or even obese in some cases. This explains why they were originally called ‘Bulgiem’, the ‘Bulgy people’. It should be noted that obesity one of the conditions associated with Covid 19, so explains deaths earlier this year.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina – Related to ‘boss’ and ‘her ze gov(enor)’. A husband and wife team which, at its best, always works well.
  • Bulgaria – Similar to Belgium obviously. But ‘b’ can be ‘v’ (see last entry under Ingredients for more details). Originally considered a bulgar or vulgar country, so once called ‘Vulgaria’.

C

  • Croatia – From the Jesuits in the country, as they are known as the ‘Crows’. ‘Crows here’, became ‘Cro’shia’ then ‘Croatia’.
  • Cyprus – Another superstore chain, Cyp ‘R’ Us.
  • Czechia – Short for Czech Republic. The people are well known for not understanding foreigners. They give you a blank stare. Hence they are called ‘Blank Czechs’.

D

  • Denmark – Originally Danmark, from two brothers, Dan and Mark. Their names are recorded on the Jelling stones. One brother was large and fat, one was short and relatively slim, just like the stones. A type of the cartoon characters, Obelix and Asterix.

E

  • Estonia – A question asked by the natives. ‘Is Tony here?’. There is a puzzle book called ‘Where’s Tony?’, which is  little known outside of the country. Rather like ‘Where’s Wally?’.

F

  • Finland – The end of the world. ‘Fin’ is end in French. Obvious really.
  • France – The French are Franks. And frank they often are, as they will tell you what they think without reserve. Unless they are Gauls in which case they can be galling, as when they go on strike.

But France contains Brittany, which is related to the Bretons and the British, so they are bright.

G

  • Georgia – From ‘George’ meaning ‘farmer’. But the female version, a matriarchal society where the women were the farmers.
  • Germany – Source of diseases and ideas about diseases, i.e. where germs come from. Including Covid 19 (the idea not the disease).
  • Greece – Are the Greeks greasy? Well, they have an oil-rich diet with olives and fish. But the ancient Greeks were Hellenes, meaning ‘of the light’. Nowadays they seem in an awful muddle, so it’s all Greek to me.

H

  • Hungary – The people are always starving. Lots of Goulash, but never enough it seems.

I

  • Iceland – Lots of ice, clearly. Set up a freezer supermarket chain in Britain. Many people go to Iceland, but one cannot be sure if they are going to shop, or going on holiday unless they explain further.
  • Ireland – See I is for…..Ireland for more info.
  • Italy – From I.T.A., Ideas to Action, and Ly, short for lie. The nation dominated by people who come up with lots of ideas to do things, say they are going to do them, but don’t. So it is a lie. Thus ‘ITAlie’.

The word, really a phrase, can be heard when an Italian claims something is true, and another exclaims ‘It a lie!’.

K

  • Kazakhstan – The word originates from Kazakhs Tan, the effect of living a nomadic life on the Steppes where the sun beats down. The Kazakhs are the people of course, and they get a good tan from the sun.
  • Kosovo – Apparently this derives from a word meaning ‘blackbird’. Well, Kos or Cos is a type of lettuce and ‘ovo’ is an egg in Esperanto. Blackbirds come from eggs, but what the lettuce part means is anybody’s guess. Lettuce know if you have an idea.

L

  • Latvia – Appears to come from ‘Latvija’ which itself is derived from the name of the ancient Latgalians. This was originally ‘Laitgallans’ or ‘Laitgallons’, a reference to the gallons of milk they drank (lait is milk in French).
  • Liechtenstein – Meaning ‘Light ten stone’. This was the weight of the first prince of this principality, and indeed quite light for a man (like me when I was younger). Very understandable, as he burnt off the calories from going up to and down from the pastures in the Alps.
  • Lithuania – The meaning clearly comes from ‘Lith’ meaning stone of which there are plenty in the country. They lie all over the place. See the following for more details.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Stones_in_Lithuania

  • Luxembourg – Originally a hill or ‘berg’ which got the light (lux) from the sun as opposed to the valley where the sun didn’t shine all the time. A town was built on the berg (a sensible place for towns at the time) and became corrupted to ‘bourg’. This became a name for towns generally in the area.

Today, Luxembourg is very rich; hardly surprising as it is a tax haven. I think it should now be called ‘Luxuriousbourg’.

M

  • Malta – The islands lived in by Maltesers, a milk chocolate coloured ethnic group. They have a tendency to get aerated.
  • Moldova – Named after a lot of bandits, who were bad eggs. I am sure you can work out how the name arose. If not let me know.
  • Monaco – A small principality named after its founder, Mona Lisa. She set it up in company with some friends, hence Mona & Co, or Monaco.
  • Montenegro – From Venetian meaning ‘Mountain Black’. That was easy, but boring.

N

  • Netherlands – Nederland in the Dutch language. Neiderlande in German. I believe the Dutch were once a German family who needed land (need the land). They took up residence in this low lying country.

They got rid of the ‘I’ and the end ‘e’ so as to distinguish themselves from their German cousins.

  • North Macedonia (formerly Macedonia) – Only changed its name to North Macedonia in 2019, apparently. This is the land of the Mac Edons, a Scottish family who emigrated here, having got fed up with the wind and rain in Scotland.

There is a picture in Wikipedia under ‘Modern Period’ which shows a man with a gun rather like a Scottish gamekeeper of the period.

  • Norway – Wikipedia says it has two official names, Norge in Bokmål and Noreg in Nynorsk. I have said elsewhere that rge probably stand for rage or urge. As the Vikings came from Norway this makes no sense, as they had both the ‘urge’ to travel and the ‘rage’ to beat up other peoples. They should have called the country ‘Yesrge’.

No reg makes more sense as I am not aware of anybody called ‘Reg’ or ‘Reginald’ in Norway. Let me know if I am wrong.

P

  • Poland – The land of the po, short for potty. Inhabitants driven mad by being invaded all the time, either by Russians or Prussians or Germans. Or a combination of them. Enough to drive anybody potty.
  • Portugal – Derives from the Royal Navy of Great Britain, of the sailors who had a girl or ‘gal’ in every port.

R

  • Romania – Pronounced Row-mania. The people are very keen on boating on the Danube, or any other suitable stretch of water. In fact they are quite mad on it. You will often see them sculling on the water, frantically rowing away.
  • Russia – You have to rush around to get anywhere in any reasonable time as it is so vast a country. But once you get there things can seem slow. Something of a contradiction. That’s Russia for you.

S

  • San Marino – Named after Saint Marino, who invented a type of sheep. Unfortunately he was rather naïve. The local inhabitants would make him a sweater or jumper and he would try it on.

It was too tight, so somebody had to help him remove it. As soon as it was over his face, they would go and steal his sheep. He ruefully exclaimed that he had had the wool pulled over his eyes.

  • Serbia – The Serbians are very happy living here. This is the opposite of those who don’t, who are near neighbours. They are known as Ascerbicians, and very bitter about it they are too.
  • Slovakia – From ‘Slow vacca’. The cows graze contentedly, there’s no rush.
  • Slovenia – Unlike Russia they are slow movers. Slow to come that is (‘venir’ to come in French). Maybe because they do not understand what you are saying.
  • Spain – Used to be a spain in the bum, but now quite friendly. The natives used to be Spaniards, but after metrification became Spanmeters.
  • Sweden – Lived in by Swedes, from the Turn’ip family. They can be seen wearing blue swede shoes, like Elvis Presley. Woe betides anyone who steps on them (the shoes that is).
  • Switzerland – In German this is ‘Schweiz’. As schwei is ‘sweat’ in German, Schweiz is obviously ‘Sweats’. Which is what you will do if you ‘climb every mountain’, like Julie Andrews.

And the people will be known as ‘Sweaters’. Which is what you need to wear in the winter when it is cold.

T

  • Turkey – Turks live here, they have a habit of gobbling everything up. Have tended to take things easy over the years, taking matters lying down on their Ottomans.

U

  • Ukraine – Typically either very hot or very cold. Despite its name, does not see the rain of the UK.
  • United Kingdom (UK) – Despite machinations of S.N.P., who wish us untied, we are still united. And never really part of Europe after the English Channel was formed.

V

  • Vatican City (Holy See) – In the city of Rome, Italy. Awash with roaming Catholics. You may see men in black robes (batmen) taking money asking for donations from the crowds in St Peter’s square. Supported by scarlet breasted men (robins).

Rather like Robin the Hood taking from politely asking the rich to donate to the poor. Only the other way round.

On rare occasions you might see a ‘vacca’ wandering around. It will have escaped from the papal compound following its ritual bathing in the holy see or ‘sea’. Then you may hear a robin say to a man in black, ‘Holy cow, batman!’.