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.


The Boston Globe (Boston, MA) May 11, 2006 | KATHLEEN BURGE If summer’s swelter still seems distant, a new yoga studio in Brookline Village will soon feel like a languid, breezeless day in August. Baptiste Power Yoga, an athletic version of yoga developed by Baron Baptiste, is practiced in studios where the temperature hovers around 90 degrees.

The new 4,000-square-foot studio, which opened last week the institute already has studios in Cambridge’s Porter Square and the Back Bay has eased into a former thrift shop renovated into an urban sanctuary of sunshine yellows and sage greens, topped by a skylight. Baptiste, who has homes in Cambridge and Park City, Utah, has won a following as yogi to the stars his fans include Helen Hunt and Elizabeth Shue. go to site prana power yoga

Baptiste believes in starting early. Born into a well-known family of yoga practitioners, he has a website that shows him stretching into yoga poses at the age of 7. His studios offer classes for children and he recently wrote a kids’ book: “My Daddy is a Pretzel.” When Baptiste is in town, at least once a month, he teaches classes.

Baptiste Power Yoga isn’t as hot as bikrim yoga, where the mercury hovers around 108 degrees, but the institute’s special heaters pour warm air from the ceiling. Baptiste practitioners believe the warmth limbers up and detoxifies the body. website prana power yoga

“You really feel like you’re rinsed out by the end of class,” said Vyda Bielkus, director of the Baptiste Power Yoga Institute . “If you’re in a cold, rigid [studio], it’s hard to move because you want to contract.” Neither membership fees nor registration is required. Classes are $12 each and range from beginners to experienced practitioners.

Baptiste Power Yoga , 25 Harvard St., Brookline, baronbaptiste.com. 617-232-9642.


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  1. nazeer -  April 19, 2014 - 3:23 am

    Informative & interesting .keep helping

  2. nazeer -  April 19, 2014 - 3:21 am

    A good information on the names.keep helping

  3. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  November 25, 2013 - 1:11 am

    The Israelites called the Red Sea the “Sea of Reeds.” That probably came from reeds in the Red Sea. Maybe a typo somewhere started the modern name “Red Sea.”

  4. Esabella -  October 17, 2013 - 9:33 am

    nice fact ………… i really like it :)

  5. P_ENGEL -  September 4, 2013 - 10:41 pm

    On the Red Sea: it is indeed named “Yam SoPh” (Samekh-Pe letters) in Hebrew in Exodus, which translates in English as Sea [of the] Reed. It corresponds to the passage by the Hebrew People from the South to the North, following as such the path represented by the “reed” in Egypt (it is then the “lotus”)), in Mesopotamia (the Reeds of Enki corresponding to a funeral ritual of cremation in the middle of the marshes), or in Asia (lotus again, on which Buddha or Vishnu are sitting). The “reed-lotus” corresponds to the passage from the world of materiality to the world of spirituality and of “being alive”, because reeds, as lotus, take their roots in the waters and bloom in the air: they connect the world of the “hidden” life matrix (the sea) to the “enlighten” (spiritually) alive. So it is very possible that this “Red Sea” name could come from a play on words between Reed and Red, with one “e” letter dropping from reed.

    The Black Sea is indeed associated to the “north” with black (actually “darkness”) being linked to the north, the night, and not only in medieval Turkish, but also in ancient Egyptian, in Sumerian and the whole Phoenician world. The Black Sea was named “Ister” by the Greeks, which refers to the “uterus” (the feminine matrix from where a new life sprouts) – and the idea is a light is seen from darkness: thus the idea of “getting reborn” in the dark northern lands (Jesus “life” is born on the winter solstice: the light comes from the darkness).

  6. Emma -  June 10, 2013 - 10:47 pm

    Wow fascinating
    I would like to know more about the Black Sea.

  7. Sanja -  May 25, 2013 - 10:40 am

    Dakota, you reversed it. Actually, white contains all colours and black contains no colours at all. (White = all colours reflected; black = all colours absorbed.)

  8. Gurpreet Singh -  March 19, 2013 - 4:22 am

    There are actually several possibilities as to why the Black Sea earned its name.

    1. The Black Sea was given that name because the lack of oxygen in the water prevents the development of microorganisms, making it appear black.

    2. It was called the Black sea because it was a Sea of Death. Sailors of long ago, if caught in a storm, usually died because of the absence of islands at which to harbour, and the ferocity of the storms that hit.

    3. The intense fogs which develop over the Black sea absorb the light, making the water appear black.

    4. At a certain depth its waters become toxic and poisonous.

    5. The Black Sea got its name from the Ottoman Turks. ‘Kara (Black)’ denotes ‘North’ in Medieval Turkish, as in Kara Denizi- Kara Sea north of Siberian Yakut Turks, similar to Black Sea.

    6. It may be because of ancient colors of cardinal directions. Black is North, red is South, and yellow is East.

  9. Shadow Rider -  April 30, 2012 - 4:30 pm

    Very interesting! :)

  10. H. Bourne -  March 17, 2012 - 9:41 am

    Just where the Red Sea actually was is more complicated than the article leads us to assume.
    There is the Sanskrit Lohit Sagar that seems to translate as the Red Sea but
    may mean the whole of the Indian Ocean or just the western part of it. If the latter, this would agree with the title of the 1950 Before Present (= B.P.) text called the Maris Periplus Erythraei (= Voyage on the Erythraean Sea or PME with the Erythrean part of the title being one of the several Greek words for colours approaching red (witness one of the suggested meanings of words relating to the Phoenicians). It is also likely that Erythrean in this sense indicates that the Erythrean Sea is again the western Indian Ocean. The title of the PME is a Latinisation of the original Greek title with a further Latinisation in the modern state-name of Eritrea.
    For Herodotus( ca. 2450 B. P.), the Red Sea appears to have been what today is called the Persian Gulf for us in the west but the Arabian Gulf in the Arabic world (not to be confused with the Arabian Sea).
    It does appear that the the Yam Suff of the Old Testament translates as the Sea of Reeds and it is this the Exodus story refers to when describing Moses crossing the Red Sea(??).
    It should be observed just how uncertain so much of the above actually is and to pretend otherwise is foolish.

  11. Tomchem -  February 28, 2012 - 3:09 pm

    It would be nice if there are links to the location of the rivers or any places mentioned in these article – links to Google maps maybe?

  12. Dov Michaeli -  February 26, 2012 - 3:47 pm

    Another plausible origin of the Red Sea, is a mistranslation of the Hebrew bible. In Hebrew it is called Yam Soof, which translates to Sea of Reeds. It is easy to see how a dropped “e” ended up as Red.

  13. Mbrew -  February 26, 2012 - 1:01 am

    From information I have been taught: the Dead Sea receives its name due to the lack of life caused by the salt content and that rivers flow into the sea but nothing flows out, which causes pooling of rotting vegetation, decomposing animals, etc. No out-flow is the cause of excess salt content which reflects again, no creatures except bacteria. Also these reasons cause the sea to have extremely foul odors.
    I personnally cannot comment regarding that theory because I live in land-locked Oklahoma and have never been to the Dead Sea.

  14. Andrew -  February 25, 2012 - 7:40 am

    Nice one

  15. Ole TBoy -  February 25, 2012 - 5:46 am

    I was born and raised in Petal, Mississippi. Petal, as in the “petal of a rose.” As far as I know it is the only place in the whole world so named.

  16. Giwa Nzukun -  February 25, 2012 - 1:51 am

    What a wonderful piece of information!nice work.

  17. kathey -  February 24, 2012 - 7:54 pm

    Very informative, well written and interesting! Please ignore the naysayers, who apparently want someone to recognize their vast knowledge – or lack of same. Keep up the good work – to be enjoyed by those of us with less knowledge.

  18. Lynn -  February 10, 2012 - 8:43 pm

    @Sasha – getting your facts straight is good advice… I can find no mention of pirates anywhere when doing my own research for the origin of the name “Black Sea”. There are many other theories, among the oldest being that it was named that way because storms made it dark and menacing and it’s shores were inhabited by savages.

  19. Flintstone -  January 26, 2011 - 9:50 am

    I live in El Morche, Malaga (Spain).
    Love to know how it got it’s name.
    My husband calls it Mortuary Park
    It is fairly quiet!

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