The turkey has become synonymous with the Thanksgiving tradition. But across the world, it is known by many names. In Turkey, they call it “Hindi”.
No, that’s not a joke.
In Arabic, they call it Greek chicken and in France, they call it Indian chicken. It’s the same bird, and it isn’t indigenous to any of these place. Why so many names, and what is the connection to India? The video above answers some of these questions.
When Europeans encountered turkeys in America, they incorrectly identified them as a type of guinea fowl which was imported by Turkish traders from Africa. In Turkey, the bird was called “Hindi” or “Indian chicken” because explorer Christopher Columbus first thought he had discovered India when he came to the Americas. The other Indian connection is that in Dutch, it is called “Calicut” after Calcutta because they confused it with the African bird they imported from there.
Other names include: “Roman chicken”, “the seven-faced bird”, “fire chicken” and “elephant chicken”.
According to the makers of the video, much of this stems from the confusion that the old world experienced when they discovered a new continent. There’s clearly a fascinating history behind one of the top contenders for “dumbest animal”.