Country Nicknames: 'Great White North' or 'Down Under'?

Want to take a trip to a country where you can practice your English? How about The Emerald Isle or The Great White North?

Confused? Here are five English-speaking country nicknames you might want to know.

The United States of America: The Land of the Free

The words "the land of the free" are in the last line of America's national anthem. The anthem's words were written as a poem by an American who saw British ships attack an American fort in the War of 1812. This poem could be sung to music, and this became the US national anthem in 1931.

Canada: The Great White North

Canada is probably nicknamed "The Great White North" because it's the second biggest country in the world after Russia, making it "great" in size. It's also "white" because it gets a lot of snow, and it's "north" of the United States.

Ireland: The Emerald Isle

Irish writer William Drennan first described Ireland as "The Emerald Isle" in a poem in 1795. But Ireland didn't get this name because the country is full of emeralds. Instead, it's because of Ireland's beautiful, green countryside.

New Zealand: The Land of the Long White Cloud

The Māori people call New Zealand "Aotearoa," which translates to "the long white cloud." It's said that the first people to arrive in New Zealand were able to find the land because of a long cloud above it. Aotearoa isn't just a nickname, however — the name is used by the government along with "New Zealand," and some people want the country's name to be officially changed back to Aotearoa.

Australia: The Land Down Under

Australia is nicknamed "The Land Down Under" because of its location in the southern hemisphere below the southernmost islands of Asia. Before Europeans were able to sail there, they called all the land that they believed to exist in the southernmost part of the world Terra Australis, or "southern land" in Latin. This is how we get the name "Australia."

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