How did the Yellow, Red and Black Seas get their names? And what is the fourth sea named after a color?

The Yellow Sea, situated between China and the Korean Peninsula, has been in the news lately due to the tensions between North and South Korea. Several major Chinese rivers that contain golden-hued silt empty into the sea. This silt alters the color of the water.

(What are North and South Korea’s real names? Read about that here.)

Like the Yellow Sea, the Red Sea may also be named after a natural process. Seasonal blooms of a bacteria commonly called “sea sawdust” turn the water red. These bacteria, Trichodesmium erythraeum, help process nutrients in the ocean that certain small marine creatures depend upon. But there are other thoughts regarding how the Red Sea, which is an inlet of the Indian Ocean, got its name. Among them is the idea that it borders the “red land,” the name ancient Egyptians used to refer to the Egyptian Desert.

Another theory states that the color red signifies “south.” Some Asiatic languages use colors to refer to directions. The same theory applies to the Black Sea; the color “black” may refer to the direction “north” in Medieval Turkish, or the dark, sudden storms that would strike and cloud over the skies..

(Is there any association between Turkey, the nation, and turkey, the bird? Learn about that here.)

The fourth, and final, sea named after a color is not the Chartreuse or Mauve Sea, though the world might be a more interesting place if either of those existed. In fact, the White Sea is located on the northwest coast of Russia. You can probably guess the reason for its name: ice and pale light.

Would you like to know the meaning behind any other particular place names? Let us know, below.