… or maybe ‘black paint’? Acouple of days ago, my sister told me she had a topic I could write about on afoe. It had occured to her that all continental names, except Europe, start with an ‘a’, and she wondered why that might be the case. A quick check at wikipedia revealed that her statement is only correct when using a (although perhaps still the most common?) five-continents classification system and when referring to ‘Oceania’ as ‘Australia’. Moreover, there are a number of naming schemes for continents, which, while always featuring a majority of continent-names starting with an ‘A’, also consist of continents beginning with other letters – eg North, and South A-merica.
Despite the wikipedia-induced realization that any continental naming-scheme conspiracy theory was stillborn, I became interested in the etymology of continents, Europe in particular, only remembering that ‘Europa’ was a Phoenician princess Zeus kidnapped by transforming himself into a bull. But it took only a modest amount of further googling to find out that the left-leaning German newspaper taz had also, quite recently, been interested in the subject.