New Zealand

Which country's capital city got its name from the first Duke of Wellington, who was the victor of the Battle of Waterloo?

And the answer: New Zealand.      

Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, which was once a British colony. The city takes its name from the British leader Arthur Wellesley, who was the first Duke of Wellington and one of the victors of the Battle of Waterloo. However, long before Europeans settled in Wellington, the area was a cultural center of the indigenous Māori people.

Photo credit: Outbreak Observatory

First settled by the Māori between 1250 and 1300, New Zealand is not only home to gorgeous sites but also to an abundance of culture. With a patchwork history of Māori, European, Pacific Island, and Asian influences, New Zealand's population of five million people is a melting pot of cultures. More simply, native New Zealanders are known as "Kiwis" for the small flightless bird native only to the nation.

Māori history and culture are essential parts of New Zealand's national conception. Several centuries before Christopher Columbus took to the seas, the Māori people voyaged thousands of miles over the rough Pacific Ocean in small, sea-going canoes. Finding home in Aotearoa (the indigenous language name for New Zealand), the Māori became the first inhabitants of what is now known as New Zealand. Some thousand years later, the pioneer spirit and connection to natural landscape has all but left Kiwis' cultural consciousness – instead, it's found home in progressive politics and great ecological awareness. In fact, over 30% of the country is protected under national reserve.

The first country to see the sunrise has quite a lot going for it. Learn more about New Zealand here.

Did You Know?

In 1982, there was a 22:1 sheep to human ratio in New Zealand. That's 22 sheep for every person! But the number has been steadily declining over the years, down to 5:1 today. (Five sheep per person is still a lot, by our calculations...)

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