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Quiz about South American Country Name Derivation
Quiz about South American Country Name Derivation

South American Country Name Derivation Quiz


There are twelve sovereign states in South America. I thought it would be fun to have a look at where some of their names came from - whether person, city, metal, tree or river.

A multiple-choice quiz by Upstart3. Estimated time: 3 mins.
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Author
Upstart3
Time
3 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
378,245
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Easy
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
793
Awards
Top 35% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 136 (5/10), psnz (10/10), Guest 184 (4/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. Which large South American country is named after a metal? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Which South American country is named after a European explorer? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Which country in the north of South America, with English as its official language, has a name from a word in an ancient Amerindian language meaning "land of many waters"? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Which South American country is commonly said to have been named by Amerigo Vespucci because it reminded him of an Italian city? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. The derivation of the name of which thin South American country is debated - possible sources including the call of a bird, the name of a tribal chief or Native American words meaning "the ends of the earth" or "snow"? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. Which landlocked South American country was named after a Venezuelan hero of the battles for independence from Spain? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. Which South American country - conquered by Pizarro - has a name that either comes from that of a ruler or from a misunderstanding of what a fisherman said? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. The second smallest country in South America (after Suriname) was named after a river whose name either comes from a shellfish or a bird. What is its name? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Which South American country gained its name when it was the southernmost district of Colombia and is the only country in the world named after an imaginary line? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Which South American country is believed to have been named after a type of tree? Hint



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Most Recent Scores
Jun 03 2024 : Guest 136: 5/10
May 14 2024 : psnz: 10/10
May 02 2024 : Guest 184: 4/10

Score Distribution

quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Which large South American country is named after a metal?

Answer: Argentina

The eighth largest country in the world, Argentina's name comes from the Latin word for silver, argentum. The use of the name originated with Portuguese and Spanish explorers in the 16th century. South America is the world's largest source of silver and that metal was a major component of global trade in the 16th and 17th centuries.
2. Which South American country is named after a European explorer?

Answer: Colombia

The word Colombia is derived from the name of Christopher Columbus (Cristoforo Colombo in Italian). It was first coined by the splendidly named Venezuelan revolutionary Sebastián Francisco de Miranda y Rodríguez de Espinoza, as a proposed name for a large independent empire of states freed from Spanish and Portuguese control.

It was adopted by Gran Colombia in 1819, which included all of the present-day countries of Colombia, Venezuela, Panama and Ecuador, plus other territory. The Republic of Colombia, after various changes and struggles, was formed in 1886.
3. Which country in the north of South America, with English as its official language, has a name from a word in an ancient Amerindian language meaning "land of many waters"?

Answer: Guyana

Guyana, formerly British Guiana, became independent from the UK in 1966. It is the only mainland South American country that has English as an official language, and the only one that participates in the West Indies cricket team.
4. Which South American country is commonly said to have been named by Amerigo Vespucci because it reminded him of an Italian city?

Answer: Venezuela

The story is that Amerigo Vespucci was the navigator on a fifteenth century expedition that visited the coast of what is now Venezuela. He was a native of Venice, and he saw houses on stilts that reminded him of his home city, so he named the area Veneziola.

There is a conflicting account from a fellow crew member on that expedition that the native people they encountered called themselves Veneciuela.
5. The derivation of the name of which thin South American country is debated - possible sources including the call of a bird, the name of a tribal chief or Native American words meaning "the ends of the earth" or "snow"?

Answer: Chile

Chile is a long, narrow country that lies between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes.

Other possible sources of its name include similarity to an area of Peru that had a town called Chili and native words meaning "sea gulls", "border", "the lowest place on earth" or "cold".
6. Which landlocked South American country was named after a Venezuelan hero of the battles for independence from Spain?

Answer: Bolivia

Bolivia is the 28th largest country in the world, with a great range of terrain and biodiversity.

Its 16 year war for independence ended successfully in 1825, and it took the name of "El Libertador", Simón Bolívar, who became its first president.
7. Which South American country - conquered by Pizarro - has a name that either comes from that of a ruler or from a misunderstanding of what a fisherman said?

Answer: Peru

The first option for the derivation of the name "Peru" is that it comes from the name "Birú" - who was a 16th century ruler of a province of the same name. The alternative is that it came from a 16th century Spanish explorer's conversation with a fisherman, who was asked his name and the name of the place they were meeting. He replied "Berú" and "Pelú" respectively, and the two words somehow got combined to make "Peru".

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of human habitation in Peru as far back as 9000BC.
8. The second smallest country in South America (after Suriname) was named after a river whose name either comes from a shellfish or a bird. What is its name?

Answer: Uruguay

The River Uruguay's name comes from the Spanish attempt to pronounce the Guarani word for it. It either means "river of the Uru", a type of bird, or "river of the uruguá", which is a type of shellfish which is plentiful in the river.

Uruguay's motto is "Freedom or Death".
9. Which South American country gained its name when it was the southernmost district of Colombia and is the only country in the world named after an imaginary line?

Answer: Ecuador

There are 10 other countries whose land the Equator passes through plus two island nations it goes through without touching land. While Ecuador was part of Gran Colombia, its borders were established and it was referred to as the District of Ecuador. It retained the name on leaving Colombia in 1830.

Some intellectuals have suggested that it is named after an imaginary line and is an imaginary country.
10. Which South American country is believed to have been named after a type of tree?

Answer: Brazil

Brazil is said to have been named after brazilwood (Caesalpinia echinata), a tree that was once plentiful there, and commercially important as the source of a red dye.

This is not the same as the Brazil nut tree (Bertholletia excelsa), which Brazilian law forbids to be cut down. Bolivia is actually the largest producer. It is botanically not a nut - it's a seed.
Source: Author Upstart3

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor spanishliz before going online.
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