Africa Facts Q&A

Why is the Red Sea called red? Different hypothesis

Many geographical objects in the world have so many versions of the origin of the name. It will not be easy to separate truth from fiction, but we will still determine why the Red Sea is called red.

Everyone knows the Red Sea because it is the most transparent and warmest sea in the world, and, apart from the Dead Sea, it is the saltiest on earth. Have you ever wondered why this sea has such an unusual name because water is usually far from being associated with red?

At different times, different peoples called it differently: Erythra, Suez, Reed. There is one nuance, the Red Sea is called only in European languages, but for example, among the inhabitants of Egypt, it is the Green Space, among the Hebrews – Red sea (Yam Suph). There are many versions of the name of the Red Sea, from scientific to mythical.

Why is the Red Sea called red? Different hypothesis
Red Sea

Today we will learn about that beautiful legends, possibly based on actual events, which will help you reveal the secret of the name of the Red Sea.

Scientific version

Scientists say the sea got its name from corals or algae, which give the water a reddish-brown hue during the flowering period. Some historians and researchers put forward their version. They say that ancient sailors named the sea because of the brown rocks on the shore, which are reflected in the water and make it red.

Biblical version

During the wandering of the Jews in search of the Promised Land, they came to the seashore. Moses ordered the waves to part, and the people calmly walked along the bottom. As soon as the fugitives were on the other side, the locks closed, swallowing up the guards pursuing them. The water became scarlet with blood; hence this gives rise to the ancient name of the Red Sea.

Lost in translation

According to the Bible, the sea through which Moses led his people called Reed, translated into English as reed sea. The negligent ancient translator said to have lost one letter, turning the name into the red sea, making the sea Red.

The second hypothesis is associated with a misinterpretation of a word found in the writings of the ancient people of the Himyarites. They once lived on the shores of the sea. The term “mhr” was mistaken for the Arabic “Ahmar”, which means “red.”

Sea of red pepper

But the Egyptians have their version of why the Red Sea is called red. There was once a merchant who made a fortune in the spice trade. He had everything, not only love and respect because he was stingy to the extreme. Earlier, he loaded the ship with red pepper so much that it could not stand it and sank to the bottom, staining the water.

Why is the Red Sea called red? Different hypothesis

Love story

There is also a more beautiful legend telling where the name of the Red Sea came from. A classic of the genre, there was once a poor young man in love with the beautiful daughter of a noble gentleman. Upon learning that she was soon going to get married, the young man developed a plan that would help him attract the beauty.

And on a sunny morning, going out, as usual, on the balcony, the girl was stunned: the sea spread out in front of her gaze, was red, to the very horizon. Driven by curiosity, the young lady went down to the shore and saw that the surface of the sea cover with red rose petals.

The young man who performed this miracle invited her to sail with him. The girl immediately realized that this was her fate and, without hesitation, agreed. No one saw them again, and people admired the red sea for a long time, hence its name.

Nzegwu

When I am not online, I will be in my inbox reading emails. Feel free to mail me. Email: nzegwu@afrinik.com

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