Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Old Zealand

(Update: Mixed up the Dutch province of "Zeeland" and the Danish province of Zealand. Despite the spelling similarities, New Zealand is named after the Dutch province.)

Today, I had a great class (surrounded by some duds). This class was made up of first-year middle school students who are 13 years old. In the English text, there was a dialogue to the effect of:
Mino: What's the weather like there in New Zealand?
Anne: Well, its cold and snowy.
Mino: That's very surprising. Here in Seoul, its very hot.
Then, being the social studies teacher I am, I felt it necessary to explain the reason for the difference in temperatures--mainly that the two hemispheres have opposite seasons. Then, I had a student ask a question that made me so happy, "Teacher, where is Old Zealand?"

It made me stop in my tracks. I know I must have cocked my head and scrunched my nose. Not only had this student asked a question using a complete sentence, but it was a good question that I had never considered before.

Well, there's two "Old Zealands" The first is an island of Denmark:

For those geography nerds out there (Dan) this is Denmark. The dark red area is the island of Zealand.

However, the namesake for New Zealand, is the Dutch province of Zeeland (picture below). New Zealand was mapped by the Dutch, but the name was Anglicized (spelling changed from Zeeland to Zealand) when Captain Cook arrived.

So, next time you think of New Zealand, don't forget the original (spelled Zeeland).


  1. Danmark?
    I always thought it was the Netherlands (actually, the wikipedia link on your page links to the Netherlands as well...?)

  2. Oops. Yeah. Its the Netherlands. Made the change. Was thinking "Dutch" and typed "Denmark."

  3. Haha, that's right, and proud of it.

    I only knew of the Danish Zealand, and that's where I figured the New one came from. Interesting.


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