Is there an Old Zealand?

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New Zealand was named after the westernmost Dutch province named Zeeland. So, technically, Zealand is the “old Zealand.”

The first Western explorer to discover what we now know as New Zealand was a Dutchman named Abel Tasman in 1642. He named these newfound islands, Staten Landt, after the States General of the Netherlandst. He mistakenly thought they were part of South America.

Abel Tasman's actual journal
Abel Tasman’s actual journal

Soon after this, Dutch cartographers Joan Blaeu and Hendrik Brouwer realized these islands weren’t part of South America, and named the area Nieuw Zeeland (anglicanized to New Zealand), after Zeeland. Just like New Zealand, Zeeland is also made up of islands. Its name translates to “sea land” in Dutch.

This politically-motivated naming strategy has been employed numerous times over the years: New York was named after the Duke of York, New Jersey was named after the British Channel island, Jersey, etc.

INTERESTING FACTS
  1. The United States and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world that allow pharmaceutical companies to advertise their drugs.
  2. In the scene of “Star Trek – First Contact,” where Earth is seen from space, Australia, and Papua New Guinea are clearly visible, but New Zealand is missing.
  3. There are no land snakes in New Zealand.
  4. The Lord of the Rings was mainly filmed in New Zealand.
  5. From 1867 to 1927, the New Zealand government planned ahead for shipwrecks by having supply-filled huts placed on its remote islands.
INTERESTING VIDEO

INTERESTING REFERENCES
  1. MentalFloss.com – Where is Old Zealand?
  2. Britannica.com – Where is “Old Zealand?”
  3. BuzzFeed.com – Facts About New Zealand That’ll Blow Your Mind

2 COMMENTS

    • When I was researching this, I discovered there was no record of anyone ever being bitten by a snake, but they are visited by sea snakes from time to time.

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