Daily Mail (London), January 10, 2003 | Go to article overview
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QUESTION America is supposed to have been named after Amerigo Vespucci. What other countries are named after people?

WHEN Portuguese mariner Diego Cao landed at the mouth of the Congo River in 1483, there were two distinct kingdoms in the region.

The Kingdom of the Bakongo reigned in the north, while the Quimbundos Kingdom, also known as Ndongo, dominated the western and central areas. The king of the Quimbundos was called Ngola and this region became Angola.

The island of Mauritius was named by Dutch explorers in honour of Prince Maurice of Nassau.

Mozambique was named after Mouzinho de Albuquerque, a 19th-century Portuguese colonialist.

In 1756 the Seychelles became a French colony called Sechelles, named after the Moreau of Sechelles, minister of finance under the kingdom of Louis XV.

During the 19th century, under British rule the name was anglicised to Seychelles.

Nicaragua is said to be named after an Indian chief, Nicarao.

Colombia was the only country to be named after the discoverer of the Americas, Christopher Columbus, who visited its shores in 1502.

When Bolivia was made into a state separate from Peru in 1825, it was named after Simon Bolivar (1783-1830), who liberated much of South America from Spain.

El Salvador means Our Saviour, and thus was named after Jesus.

Graham Spencer, Melrose, Borders.

QUESTION I've heard sheep aren't put in with bracken as it's so carcinogenic.

Should I be worried about my children and chickens in a garden surrounded by these ferns?

BRACKEN is known to cause cancer in cattle that have been grazing on it, and there have been fears that it could cause cancer in people either directly - from being eaten through getting into cows' milk, or through getting into the water supply - or indirectly, from the release of spores into the air.

If bracken were to get into milk or the water supply, it is possible that it would be carcinogenic ( cancercausing). But in the UK milk is produced by large dairies that get supplies from a wide area. It is unlikely that any carcinogenic effect would be strong enough to affect those drinking the milk.

Similarly, mains water supplies would not contain very much bracken-contaminated water.

Some people do, nevertheless, need to take extra precautions.

Bracken spores are released in hot, dry weather, so people who work in bracken-infested areas are advised to wear face masks in those weather conditions. Similarly, farmers whose cattle feed on bracken are advised not to drink their cows' milk.

So unless your chickens or children are eating the bracken, it is not going to be a problem. However, you may wish to stop children playing in the bracken in hot weather.

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