Why Is the Black Sea Called "black"?

black-sea-called-black Credit: Holger Leue/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

The most common theory about the name of the Black Sea is that, due to the inhospitable growth environment and lack of oxygen, the water appears dark. Other theories include shipwrecks and a Turkish homonym.

There are no islands along the coast of the Black Sea, and sailors had no port in a storm. This caused many shipwrecks and could also be the origin of the name. Before being known as the Black Sea, this body of water was simply referred to as "the sea" by local inhabitants. In the language of the ancient Turks, the words black and north are the same, so the Black Sea could simply mean the sea to the north.