Language Quiz / African Capital City Etymology

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EtymologyCapital CityCountry
Uncertain etymology; some posit that it means 'Great Earth'.
In a local language, it means 'A place of red sandstone'.
Named for the nearby Ubangi river.
Theorised to derive from a Berber word meaning 'Place of the Winds', Nawākšūṭ.
The name of this city is related to Impala, a type of gazelle, which is of Zulu origins.
Believed to be related to the Djerba phrase 'Nia Niam, 'The Shore where the Tree draws water'.
This city was built with the intention of becoming the capital of its country, replacing Lagos; its name is believed to derive from the name of a tribal king, Abubakr the Red.
Named for the American James Monroe.
The name is possibly taken from the old Phoenician godess Tanith.
Unconfirmed etymological origin holds that this city, and its country, are named from the Afar for 'Land of Tehuti', honouring Thoth, the Egyptian wisdom god.
Named for a chief of the Tlôkwa tribe.
A rare example of a country being named for a capital city, of unknown origin; one of the Guineas.
Most likely named for a Shona chief, Neharawa, or the European derived version of this Haarari meaning 'He does not sleep'.
The Latin word for victory.
From the Greek phrase meaning 'Three Cities.
Shares its name with the river which flows into the lake that shares the name of this country.
This was the first name of Chief Kunene, who ruled in the area when British colonial troops arrived.
Construction of this city took place on the site of a village with the same name, possibly named for a local chief (Lusakasa).
Although ethnically and culturally diverse, the name of the city was conceived by some of its 1792 founders, including freed Britons.
Named for a queen, Yamousso, during the time of French colonisation.
From an Arabic word meaning 'Fortified Place'.
From the Portuguese for 'New Port.
The modern name of the city is unrelated to any old names, and is believed to come from the Dutch/Afrikaans for 'Windy Corner'.
Formerly known as Nkuna, this city was renamed for Pierre di Brazza, an Italian-French explorer
Derived from the Arabic for the islands الجزائ referring to islands which lay off the city's coast until being adjointed to the mainland.
Prevailing opinion is that the city's name comes from the Arabic ماقد شاه (Maq'ad Shah) meaning 'The seat of the Shah'.
The city's name derives from the name of a local clan, M'Pfumo.
The Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi means 'Place of cool water', although the city is colloquially referred to as 'the Green city in the sun'.
EtymologyCapital CityCountry
Retains the name of a previous village that stood on the site before the city was temporarily renamed in honour of a conquering Belgian king, Léopoldville
From an Ewe phrase meaning 'Among the Alo plants', Alo is a tree which is still commonly used to fabricate toothpicks.
Etymology is unknown. The former capital, Bujumbura, is possibly related to the Kitenga word for a Marketplace.
A word in the local language meaning 'Heart of Fire'
Derived from the name of a local tribe, the Ewondo.
Named for King (city name) Lopelo Melaka, the last king of the Bubi.
From the Mande words, Bang Julo, meaning 'Rope fibre'.
The etymology of this city is not certain, but may be related to the Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius) which is locally known as Gartoon.
Known in Malagasay and French as 'Tananarive', the name refers to a thousand soldiers who defended the city according to oral history.
Derived from an alternative name for the Bari people, Djouba.
From a Sanskrit word, approx. 'Mahaalay', meaning 'Big House'.
The Portugese word for 'beach'; the word means the same in the local Creole.
Derived from the Arabic القاهرة al-Qāhira, meaning 'the victorious'.
An Amharic phrase meaning 'New flower'.
Derived from the word for 'Ants', Nkran, referring to numerous anthill observed around the city.
From the Portuguese for Saint Thomas, one of the Apostles of Jesus.
One of multiple capitals of its country; named for its geographical location.
A Frankified version of the Yonyonse 'Wogodogo' meaning 'a place to honour and respect heroes'.
Derived from the French for 'Free Town'.
Derived from Bantu: Lu-Ndanda refers to a coastal place of trading.
The Arabic name of a nearby village, نجامينا Niǧāmīnā, means 'Place of rest'.
Derived from the Bambara phrase meaning 'Crocodile River' or 'Crocodile Tail'.
An Arabic phrase meaning House of Peace.
Believed to be a francophonic understanding of the local name Ndakarou; the origin is unclear although possibly related to the Wolof Deuk raw.
The name 'Cona' refers to a Baga name of a wine (and cheese) merchant of legend, with Nakiri referring to the far side of a river or sea.
The Tigre phrase means 'Live in Peace'.
Named for a king of France, the 15th of his name.
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