The Atlantic Ocean was known as Ethiopian Ocean until the 19th century

The Atlantic Ocean was known as Ethiopian Ocean until the 19th century

The today’s southern half of the Atlantic Ocean in classical geographical works was known as Aethiopian or Ethiopian Sea or Ocean. The name remained in maps from ancient times until 19th century.

The term Aithiopos was originally an old name for what is now called the South Atlantic Ocean.

A narrow region, between Natal, Brazil and Monrovia, Liberia, that separates it from the North Atlantic Ocean.

Ethiopian sea section in Mathew Carey’s 1795 Africa map | Wikimedia Common

The name Ethiopian Ocean existed in Lucem Producta until the mid-19th century, e.g. on the map Accuratissima Totius Africae, engraved by Johann Baptist Homann and Frederick de Wit and published by Jacob von Sandrart in Nürnberg in 1702.

The term Aethiopian was linked to the fact that it was historically called Aethiopia because Africa west and south of Egypt was known as Aethiopia. Classic use of the term has become defunct nowadays.

The nation of Ethiopia, then known as Abyssinia, is located nowhere near its namesake body of water, but in the opposite eastern end of Africa, which is much closer to the Indian Ocean and its subset of the Red Sea.

Decades after the names Ethiopian Ocean or Ethiopian Sea had fallen into disuse in reference to the Southern Atlantic Ocean, botanist William Albert Setchell (1864–1943) used the term for the sea around some islands near Antarctica.

5 thoughts on “The Atlantic Ocean was known as Ethiopian Ocean until the 19th century

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *