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#1
wiamy

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Where is Switzerland AGAIN???????

Screenshot from CNN!!!!!!!

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#2
benbakelaar

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OK so everyone here knows this off the top of their head, but countries/capitals is my worst area in geography. So I checked it out on Google Maps, and it's the Czech Republic! That's just ridiculous...

BTW, I did not know Austria refers to itself as Osterreich. Interesting.

#3
Rick Dey

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Thanks Ben for being the one to admit "I know that's not right, but which country is that supposed to be again". I likewise had to look it up, "Czechoslovakia? Oh yeah, thats right, thats not around anymore. Now which one is the Czech Republic and which is Slovakia?"

As much as I'd like to blame American education, its more an issue of the limited/worn out storage capacity in my cranium anymore, there's only so much room in there and stuff just has to get deleted once in a while to make way for new things. :blink:
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#4
benbakelaar

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As much as I'd like to blame American education, its more an issue of the limited/worn out storage capacity in my cranium anymore, there's only so much room in there and stuff just has to get deleted once in a while to make way for new things.  :blink:

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Well, my geography education extended through college, as that is my BA :) But seriously it's just not a focus (what do they call it - geopolitics?) in my alma mater's curriculum. As for cranium's... if you are implying you are old(er), don't worry, us young(er) people have the same problem. Information overload! :o

#5
Hans van der Maarel

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Thanks Ben for being the one to admit "I know that's not right, but which country is that supposed to be again".  I likewise had to look it up, "Czechoslovakia? Oh yeah, thats right, thats not around anymore. Now which one is the Czech Republic and which is Slovakia?"

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


The Czech Republic (capital: Prague) is top left, Slovakia (capital: Bratislava) is bottom right.

Ben, Austria refers to itself as ?sterreich (there should be little dots on the O, but the board software doesn't like that, they are important actually... an alternative spelling would be Oesterreich). But why is that so strange? Every country has its own name in its own language, plus often names in its own language for its neighbours. Take a look at my country:
Dutch: Nederland
English: The Netherlands
German: Niederl?nde
French: Pays-Bas
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#6
benbakelaar

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Ben, Austria refers to itself as ?sterreich (there should be little dots on the O, but the board software doesn't like that, they are important actually... an alternative spelling would be Oesterreich). But why is that so strange?


Hans I was saying "interesting" in the "huh, didn't know that" sense :) I am familiar with many other countries names for themselves, just never heard Austria's.

#7
DaveB

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Every country has its own name in its own language, plus often names in its own language for its neighbours. Take a look at my country:
Dutch: Nederland
English: The Netherlands
German: Niederl?nde
French: Pays-Bas

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


That brings up a question - where does the name "Holland" come from and is it exactly equivalent to Nederland (and why do we, in English, add a capital "The" and pluralize it? I know, it was also referred to as the low countries; reference back to the time when there was Spanish-controlled areas and Dutch-controlled? To say nothing of "Dutch Republic" and "Batavia") :D I suppose it's all tied up in the rich history of the area.
(do you ever go to look something up in the dictionary or encyclopedia and get sidetracked into other things that catch your eye? :) )
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#8
Hans van der Maarel

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That brings up a question - where does the name "Holland" come from and is it exactly equivalent to Nederland (and why do we, in English, add a capital "The" and pluralize it? I know, it was also referred to as the low countries; reference back to the time when there was Spanish-controlled areas and Dutch-controlled? To say nothing of "Dutch Republic" and "Batavia") biggrin.gif I suppose it's all tied up in the rich history of the area.


Right... here we go... history lesson...

Throughout the middle ages, the area now known as the Benelux (The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg) was a collection of 17 little nations, controlled by either France or Germany (as far as "Germany" could be called that way, back then...).

Due to marriage, war, trade, extortion or simply luck, the control over those nations shifted around a lot. Some were controlled by the Church (Liege, Utrecht), others eventually ended up with the houses of Burgundy and later Habsburg. In the 1500, Emperor Charles V of Spain ended up controlling them all (along with half of the known world...).

Charles, being catholic, wanted all of his subjects to be catholic, but unfortunately for him, the protestant movement was quite popular in this area, Luther and mainly Calvin had a lot of followers. So when Charles's son, Philip II became emperor and cracked down on the heretics, trouble started brewing.

Enter William, duke of Nassau, prince of Orange. He had some posessions in the Netherlands (feudal system... you know... everybody and everything was owned several times...) and didn't mind the protestants. So the lesser nobles and the people started siding with him and in 1579 the Union of Utrecht was formed. 7 of the 17 little nations declared themselves independant from Spain and formed a republic. They were: Holland, Utrecht, Zeeland, Gelre, Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe. Brabant and Flanders also joined, initially, but they were conquered by Spain almost right away.

The republic was known as "The Republic Of Seven United Netherlands" (hence the pluralisation in foreign languages). However, Holland (the area currently covered by the provinces Noord- and Zuid-Holland) was the richest and most powerful one, so it had a large say in politics. The official leader of the nation was the Stadtholder, which initially was William, later on his descendants would get the title.

The war with Spain raged for 80 years (1568-1648) with a lot of city sieges and large battles. This didn't stop "us" from becoming the most powerful nation in the world and starting to build a modest colonial empire (most of the fighting happened in the territories still held by Spain.

I'll briefly go through the rest of the history... We had many more wars with many countries (England, German states, France, Denmark, you name it...) and eventually were conquered by Napoleon in 1792. The then-reigning Prince, William V, fled to England and when his son returned in 1813, he became king (prior to making The Netherlands part of the French Empire, Napoleon had his brother play King here for a while). In 1815 it was decided to join The Netherlands and the southern Netherlands (up until being conquered by the French they had been in Austrian posession) into a large, powerful nation capable of controlling France. In 1830, the south rebelled, became independant, found a German prince willing to be their king and went on as Belgium. The Grand-Duchy Luxembourg remained in Dutch posession until the death of King William III in 1890, he didn't have any direct male heirs and their constitution at that time didn't allow for a woman on the throne.

Phew... anybody read this far? ;)

So in short, "Holland" is really an incorrect way of identifying The Netherlands, like saying "England" when you mean the UK. However, we ourselves do it as well... Officially we're still known as the "Kingdom of the Netherlands" (Koningrijk der Nederlanden), plural, although in day-to-day use the singular form is used.

(do you ever go to look something up in the dictionary or encyclopedia and get sidetracked into other things that catch your eye?  :) )


Wikipedia is great for that :D
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#9
Dennis McClendon

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Phew... anybody read this far? ;)

I did and enjoyed learning this. Thanks. World history is a notable gap in my knowledge.

Back to the original topic, though, I remember a few months ago somebody came out with one of those surveys about how most Americans couldn't find Afghanistan on a map and how horrible that was. I got to thinking that I wasn't sure I could find Afghanistan on a map. I'm still not convince that means I'm a disconnected and ignorant member of society.
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#10
benbakelaar

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Hans I read it too and enjoyed as well!

Back to the original topic, though, I remember a few months ago somebody came out with one of those surveys about how most Americans couldn't find Afghanistan on a map and how horrible that was.  I got to thinking that I wasn't sure I could find Afghanistan on a map.  I'm still not convince that means I'm a disconnected and ignorant member of society.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Exactly, just typical media exagerration/sensationalism.... could most Europeans find Afghanistan on a map? :)

And, can most Africans locate an American state on a map? Sometimes I think it's not an issue of knowledge but of size... It's easy enough to locate where Canada, Mexico, Russia, Antarctica, Brazil, China, etc. are. But if you showed me a map right now, I couldn't identify Iraq among the multitude of countries in that area. Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iran...

#11
Rob

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twas a good read hans. thanks.

and one of my favorite surf spots is also called "Zeeland", or Zland, or aka Zombies. will have a bit of interested trivia next session.

#12
Hans van der Maarel

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Zeeland also gave its name to New Zealand B)
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#13
DaveB

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Phew... anybody read this far? ;)

I did and enjoyed learning this. Thanks. World history is a notable gap in my knowledge.

Back to the original topic, though, I remember a few months ago somebody came out with one of those surveys about how most Americans couldn't find Afghanistan on a map and how horrible that was. I got to thinking that I wasn't sure I could find Afghanistan on a map. I'm still not convince that means I'm a disconnected and ignorant member of society.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Thanks Hans! Interesting about Netherlands/Holland, etc. :)

As for not being able to locate a place on a map (without labels) that's why we have maps with labels, right? (just need to be sure the labels are in the right places :P )
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