Everything has a point behind its existence. Similarly, different countries have different stories behind their discovery and origin. For example, United States of America was named after Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. But when it comes to countries like Iceland and Greenland it’s a bit confusing, as Iceland is green, while Greenland is icy.
Generally, countries names are decided on the basis of elements like its land features, prominent tribe/person, or even a directional description. Like Norway is Norway, because it is a way to the North.
But as I said, when it comes to Iceland and Greenland it becomes very ambiguous. You’ll be amazed to know that Iceland is green and Greenland is way too icy.
So aren’t you curious to know that how their names get switched? So here we are to tell you the story behind it.
Well, a place where more than 80% area is covered with ice is called Greenland. But you should keep in mind that when the place was explored, the grass was much greener at the time way back AD 982 when Erik the Red, reached the island for the first time.
Norse custom says that the name placed on the basis of its features, consequently they named it “Greenland”.
According to the legends, earlier Iceland was named “Snowland” because it was very snowy. After few years, Swedish Viking Garðar Svavarosson visited the island and called it Garðarshólmur which means “Garðar’s Isle”.
And When we researched about Iceland we find a catastrophic story behind its name. According to National Geographic’s article, “Garðar’s isle was not so kind to its next arrival, a Viking named flóki vilgerðarson. Flóki’s daughter drowned en route to Iceland, then all his livestock starved to death as the winter dragged on. Depressed and frustrated, flóki, the sagas say, climbed a mountain only to see a fjord full of icebergs, which led to the island’s new name.”
We hope because of climate change both the islands will be switching soon to their actual states.
“The rapidly melting Greenland ice sheet has resulted in cold temperatures in the North Atlantic, which has significantly slowed the Gulf Stream. Should the trend continue, Iceland will likely suffer much colder temperatures and even sea ice, while Greenland will continue to grow warmer and shed icebergs at an alarming rate”, wrote National Geographic.