Why haven't countries like Ethiopia and Sudan changed their names?

Jun 2013
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The Ethiopians believe the name doesn't stem from Greek "burnt faces", but from the name of the founder of Axum, "Ittyop 'is", supposedly a son of Cush, who was a son of Ham. Furthermore the European name for Ethiopia until WWII was Abyssinia, which is derived - via Arabic - from Habesha, today the native name for the inhabitants of Ethiopia, although it originally only applied to the Amhara and Tigray-Tigrinya people.

So the problem is rather that you choose to believe the European etymology over the Ethiopian in this case! ;)
How annoying this ignorance about pre-colonial Africa, isn't it? :D
Ok, ignorance on my part, I never claimed to be an expert on pre-colonial Africa, so I don't appreciate your condescending attitude. The name does also have a Greek meaning though, but thanks for the information.
 
Jun 2013
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Oh, don't be so sensitive. No one cares. It seems like you are looking for things to be offended by. Besides, as Zeno pointed out, the etymology of Ethiopia is uncertain anyway. On the one hand, I think the coincidence with the Greek words for "burning" or "to burn" and "face" seems to obvious not to be true, on the other hand, Pliny (the earliest source to provide an etymology?) says that it derived from a personal name. So, who knows.



Normandy and England too, probably.
Don't claim to know me or my intentions. It was a question, and I don't need to look for things to be offended by, the Greek meaning of the Aethiops and the Arabic word Sudan present themselves rather well. As an offensive term anyway, neither the Greeks nor Arabs were known for being PC.
 
Jun 2013
1,175
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Niger presents an interesting example:

Frequently misidentified as derived from the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_language"]Latin[/ame] niger (“black”), Niger is derived from a series of mistranslations and geographic misplacements by Greek, Roman and Arab geographers, likely originally from Ptolomey's descriptions of the valley Gir (a wadi in modern Algeria), and the "Lower Gir" (or "Ni-Gir") to the south. In one local Berber language, "gher" means "watercourse", and thus may have been derived from Berber tales of large river south of the Sahara desert.[1]

It's also interesting to think that a country's self-recognized name should be challenged by the self-recognized PC world beyond.
 

Otranto

Ad Honorem
May 2013
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It was a question, and I don't need to look for things to be offended by, the Greek meaning of the Aethiops and the Arabic word Sudan present themselves rather well.
What makes you think that the Greek term was used offensively? I see nothing in Herodotus to suggest this. Are there other ancient sources to support your claim? By the way, who is using the term offensively today?

As an offensive term anyway, neither the Greeks nor Arabs were known for being PC.
Of course they were, political censorship is nothing new.

I wonder if more African nations would focus on erasing their colonial history if poverty, lawlessness,etc wasn't prevalent.
Why stop at erasing names from maps, when there are still so many schools, and churches, and railways and roads, dating from colonial times?
 
Jun 2013
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What makes you think that the Greek term was used offensively? I see nothing in Herodotus to suggest this. Are there other ancient sources to support your claim? By the way, who is using the term offensively today?

Of course they were, political censorship is nothing new.

Why stop at erasing names from maps, when there are still so many schools, and churches, and railways and roads, dating from colonial times?
One doesn't need sources to think the term "burnt faces" as referring to people or land is offensive.

I highly doubt that, political correctness is a recent phenomenon.

Why not? Most of those colonial constructions. were built using indigenous labor, why not get rid of them? But on a less sarcastic note, why wouldn't they keep the infrastructure? Keep the good, take away the bad. Roads linking towns and cities existed in Africa before the colonial period anyway, along with schools and churches.

Africans were surviving just fine growing crops and herding livestock before Europeans sailed to Africa.
 
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Jun 2013
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Africans were surviving just fine growing crops and herding livestock before Europeans sailed to Africa.
You mean the ones victorious in intra-African wars, not the defeated and slaughtered, obviously.

You can't make out pre-European-colonial Africa to be some paradise. Africans themselves practiced invasion and colonial domination. Their tribal internecine wars go on today.
 
Jun 2013
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You mean the ones victorious in intra-African wars, not the defeated and slaughtered, obviously.

You can't make out pre-European-colonial Africa to be some paradise. Africans themselves practiced invasion and colonial domination. Their tribal internecine wars go on today.
Of course, to the victor go the spoils. While African "tribal" wars go on today, it wasn't long ago that Europeans were slaughtering each other in the Balkans on the basis of ethnicity and religion. Africa isn't that far ahead using this logic.
Where did I insinuate Africa was a paradise? Wars, imperialism,etc,etc was not unique to Africa. But let's not sit here and pretend that they were twiddling their thumbs before European contact was made. Many African societies and kingdoms were agriculturalists/pastoralists. They had cities, roads, harbors, writing systems, metal working, taxation, trade(yes in something other than slaves) with other peoples and nations,etc.
 
Jun 2013
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"Doing just fine" implies something a bit unrealistic. Africans are no worse and no better than any other peoples. Capable of fine deed and the worst imaginable atrocities -- all of us. Personal exceptions, but no national exceptions.