Java - Etymology

Etymology

The origins of the name "Java" are not clear. One possibility is that the island was named after the jáva-wut plant, which was said to be common in the island during the time, and that prior to Indianization the island had different names. There are other possible sources: the word jaú and its variations mean "beyond" or "distant". And, in Sanskrit yava means barley, a plant for which the island was famous. "Yavadvipa" is mentioned in India's earliest epic, the Ramayana. Sugriva, the chief of Rama's army dispatched his men to Yawadvipa, the island of Java, in search of Sita. It was hence referred to in Indian, specifically Tamil literature by the Sanskrit name "yāvaka dvīpa" (dvīpa = island). Another source states that the "Java" word is derived from a Proto-Austronesian root word, meaning 'home'.

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