Origins of the England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Britain names

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England via ThinkStock /ThinkStock
England via ThinkStock /ThinkStock
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England:

Angle-Land. Land being “place” and the Angles being a Germanic tribe that invaded much of Britain during the 5th-7th century. The Angles got their name because they originated on the Angle peninsula in what is now Germany.

Scotland:

Scotti-Land. Land being “place” and the Scotti being a Gaelic tribe that invaded much of Britain after the 5th century. The Scotti got their name because they originated in what the Romans termed Scotia in what is now Ireland.

Wales:

Walheaz. A Germanic word meaning “foreigner”. Because the Angles, Saxons and Jutes who invaded England but failed to invade Wales referred to the British people there as foreign. It possibly could also be a Germanic word for an inhabitant of the Western Roman Empire, which included Britain up to about the point the Anglo-Saxons started arriving.

Ireland:

Éire-land. Éire is the Irish language name for Ireland, coming from the name of its patron goddess in pagan times; Eirú.

Britain:

The island, when inhabited by the Romans, contained two Roman provinces; Caledonia and Britannia, where Britain comes from. The name originated with Greek explorers.

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