At least 24 country names contain eight letters of the alphabet. Most of these countries are in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Only a few (four) are European countries. The majority of the countries with eight letters are well-known countries in the world. Interestingly, none of the country names with eight letters starts with the letter “A.” Below are some of the country names that have eight letters and the origin and meaning of their names.
Barbados is an island country in the Caribbean region of North America. It is located in the western region of North Atlantic and inhabited by the Kalinago people. The name “Barbados” may have been derived from the Portuguese “Os Barbados” or from the Spanish word “Los Barbados,” both translating to “the bearded one.” It is uncertain what “bearded” stands for with some suggesting that it refers to the bearded Caribs who once inhabited the area or the long, hanging roots of the fig tree native to the island.
Botswana is an African country officially referred to as the Republic of Botswana. This landlocked country is situated in Southern Africa. It was formerly known as the British protectorate of Bechuanaland and adopted the current name “Botswana” after independence on September 30, 1966. The name “Botswana” means the “land of the Tswana” which is the dominant ethnic group in the country. However, the name is used to refer to all the citizens of Botswana.
The Kingdom of Cambodia, simply known as Cambodia, is located in the southern part of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast China. It is bordered by Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and the Gulf of Thailand.The name “Cambodia” is an anglicized French word for “Cambodge” which is a French translation for the Khmer word for “Kampuchae". The term “Kampuchae” is in turn derived from Sanskrit name “Kambojadesa” which means “land of". Cambodians often refer to their country as “prateih Kampucie” meaning “the Country of Kampuchae".
Malaysia is a country consisting of 13 states and 3 federal territories separated into two equal regions by the South China Sea, East Malaysia and Peninsular Malaysia. The name “Malaysia” is derived from a combination of “Malay” meaning “mountain” and Latin-Greek suffix “-sia.” The ancient Indian traders referred to the Malay Peninsula as “Malayadvipa.” However, before the European colonization, the peninsula was referred to as “Tanah Melayu” meaning “Malay Land.”
Portugal is a country in southwestern Europe located on the Iberian Peninsula. It is one of the oldest countries in Europe. The country derived its name from the name of a Roman-Celtic place known as Portus Cale. Portus is a Latin word for “port” or “harbor” while Cala was a name of a Celtic goddess and also the name of a settlement at the mouth of Douro River.
Country Naming System
Although these countries share the number of letters in their names, each has a unique history of the origin of the name. Some of the countries are named after indigenous people who dominated the region like Thailand and Botswana. Others are named after famous people. For instance, Colombia is named after Christopher Columbus. Geographical features such as water bodies, mountains, islands, and other landscape features have also contributed to the names of some countries.