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The Four Seas Named After Colors (Or Are They?)

There are four seas with colors in their names: Black, Red, White, and Yellow.  Most assume that the names refer to the tint of those seas - at least during certain times of the year.  These theories could be correct, but there are other theories that deserve consideration as well.

Downloaded from Wikimedia: Created by User:NormanEinstein
Black Sea
There are times when the Black Sea may have a dark tint to it, especially on overcast days.  Some believe that the name could also refer to some of the dark sand shores along parts of the Black Sea or the dark storms that sometimes role over the water.

However, these traits could also apply to a number of seas.  The name of the Black Sea could refer to its geographical position above Turkey.   Kara, the Turkish word for black is synonymous with North. The Turkish name for the Black Sea is Karadeniz and it can be interpreted as either Black Sea or North Sea.



From: NASA Visible Earth
Red Sea
There are bacteria that sometimes create a reddish tint to the Red Sea.  The sands blowing into the water from the Sahara can also add to this reddish tint.

Another theory about the Red Sea's name is founded on the same directional principle as the Black Sea.  The Turkish word for South is synonymous with red.  Therefore, Red Sea could also mean South Sea.

Yet another theory holds that instead of Red, the Jewish people called it the Sea of Reeds and through generations the wording somehow changed to Red Sea.
                                                                                      
Downloaded from Wikipedia: Created by Kmusser
Yellow Sea
yellowish silt is carried by the rivers that empty into the Yellow Sea.  Winds also empty the Gobi Desert's sands into the Yellow Sea.

Another assertion comes from the importance China has placed on the color yellow.  Aside from North, South, East, and West, the Chinese have used a fifth cardinal direction: Middle. Middle was symbolized by the color yellow and the Chinese referred to their empire as the Middle Kingdom.  The Huang He (Yellow River), which empties into the Yellow Sea, has long been renowned for its central importance to Chinese life.  Thus the Yellow Sea could be named so for its color or as an acknowledgment of its importance.


Downloaded from Wikimedia: Created by User:NormanEinstein
White Sea
The White Sea likely refers to the layer of ice that often drapes its waters.

*In Turkish culture, the Mediterranean Sea  was called the "White Sea" because white was the symbol for West and the Mediterranean Sea was West of modern Turkey.













Thanks for reading.

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