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Five old names for modern places – Quick Quiz answers

We gave you the former names of five countries or territories and asked you for the names of the present-day country. Here are the answers:

  1. Basutoland
    Lesotho. The Cape Colony had tried and largely failed to exercise control over the territory through most of the mid-nineteenth century, with a British protectorate agreed in 1868 after the Basuto King Moshoeshoe had lost a good part of his lands to the Boers of the Orange Free State. In 1884 Britain established Basutoland as a Crown colony; it became the independent Kingdom of Lesotho in 1966.
  2. Cochin China
    Vietnam. The name derives from the Malay name for Vietnam, Kuchi, which was adopted by the Portuguese – with the word “China” added to distinguish it from their base on India’s Malabar Coast, Cochin (modern-day Kochi). Originally the name for a kingdom covering the southern half of modern-day Vietnam, by the time the French ruled Indochina it applied only to the southern third, with Tonkin (north) and Annam (central) accounting for the rest.
  3. Mosquito Coast
    Nicaragua. The Mosquito Coast was named after a local tribe, the Miskito, not the annoying insects. It was a British protectorate for 60 years from 1834 to 1894, at which point it was incorporated into Nicaragua. A small portion at the northern end had already been assigned to Honduras in 1860.
  4. Sandwich Islands
    USA – they’re the modern-day Hawaiian Islands. Captain James Cook named the islands in 1778 in honour of the then First Lord of the Admiralty, the 4th Earl of Sandwich (he of the eponymous snack). They continued to appear on maps under that name until at least the 1840s, but were more generally known as Hawaii thereafter.
  5. Trucial States
    United Arab Emirates. Raiders based along the Gulf coast were notorious for raiding shipping in the Arabian Sea – something of increasing concern to Britain as India and the wider East became more commercially important. In 1853 several sheikhs signed a perpetual maritime truce, which was upgraded to a more formal protectorate in 1892. Six sheikhdoms formed the UAE on the end of the British protectorate in December 1971; the seventh, Ras al-Khaimah, joined two months later.

How did you get on? Why not let us know?

1 Comment

Kay McMahon 29-05-2012, 10:55

Interesting quiz. Sadly it was too difficult for lil ole me. I didn’t get any of them right.

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