Questions tagged [toponymy]

The history and etymology of place names.

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What is the origin of the name of Kondofrej, Bulgaria?

There is a small village in Western Bulgaria, not very far from the capital Sofia called Кондофрей roughly transliterated as Kondofrey. It is an otherwise completely unremarkable village except that ...
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Was Castro City ever a city?

I obtained a map of a South-East SF Bay. Officially it is Page 8 of San Francisco, Oakland, Fremont, Berkeley set, compiled by the Soviet Main Intelligence Department of General Staff (ГРУ ГШ) in 1976....
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Besides Massachusetts and Rhode Island, have any other U.S. states changed their names?

In 1781 the State of Massachusetts Bay became the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In 2020 the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations became the State of Rhode Island (when most people who ...
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What was Sir John Mandeville's source regarding Beersheba and its chronology?

After men have crossed this desert on the way to Jerusalem, they come to a city which is called Bersabee [Beersheba] which was once a fine city in habited by Christian men, and still there are some of ...
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Why is the city of Armenia in Colombia so named?

One of the medium-sized cities in present-day Colombia, with a population of around 300 thousand, is called Armenia. According to its Wikipedia entry, some people believe it was named in memory of the ...
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Since when is the Nile Delta known as "Delta"?

It is common knowledge that the Nile delta looks roughly triangular in form, hence roughly like a greek capital delta (especially when on a map oriented with the south on top). According to wikipedia, ...
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What is the relationship (if any) between Skøyen and Skøyenåsen in Oslo?

In Oslo there are two neighbourhoods called Skøyen and Skøyenåsen "Åsen" means "the hill" or "the ridge", so Skøyenåsen means "The Skøyen Hill". Skøyen and ...
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Was "Street" more common than the abbreviated "St." in pre-1910 American newspapers?

As a hobby I like to research buildings and other structures around where I live, and part of that entails searching old newspaper archives. Generally this is in California. Since I am not looking at ...
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Why did the English name of "Pacific Ocean" stick if it has been known by many cultures since ancient times? [closed]

As far as I understand, the largest ocean on Earth is know worldwide as the Pacific Ocean, a name given by Ferdinand Magellan in 1519. However, it is surprising to me that such a name stuck given that ...
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How common are the following activities historically? [closed]

In present day India the ruling party has started to rename the cities by claiming to take them to their origins. It has been discussed here, here and here. Primarily the cities with Muslim Names for ...
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What is a "staved" town, like in "Staverton"?

I'm researching Staverton, Northampton(shire), England. In the Domesday Book of 1086 it is called Stavertone. According to wikipedia, the meaning of the town name is 'staved" town. I've looked up ...
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What was the flower of Empress Taytu?

Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia. Its name means "New Flower" in Amharic (አዲስ አበባ), and the tale of how it got its name is told thus: The location of Addis Ababa was chosen by the ...
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Was the village of Campalagian in West Sulawesi originally a Cham settlement?

I could not find any evidence on this, except an ancestral story my grandparents told me. My great-grandmother was said to come from Campalagian, a village near Polewali, in West Sulawesi. They said ...
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Was California named after a Moorish ruler called Queen Calafia?

I found this excerpt from a website discussing a theory concerning the naming of California. I want to find out what Historians say on this issue. The article is below. Although some historical ...
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Did New Mexicans under Spain regard themselves as Mexican?

Mexico, in its original sense, is the homeland of the Mexica (Aztec) people and its principal city. The sense of the name broadened, presumably as people in the metropole spoke broadly about it, and ...
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Who decided on the name "Mexico"?

New Spain's independence struggle led to adopting the national identity of "México", the name of its major city and the Mexica society there. In referring to a specific indigenous group, Mexico seems ...
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Why was Zabrze renamed Hindenburg O.S in 1915?

Through history, many towns got renamed, often by totalitarian, ultra-nationalistic or communist regimes. Most of this renaming happened past 1918 under the influence of Wilsonian self-determination, ...
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Who named San Andreas, California?

San Andreas, seat of Calaveras County, is one of several Gold Rush towns retaining a Spanish name (though now misspelled). Numerous secondary sources attribute its founding to "Mexicans". These ...
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Why is Shandong named Lu?

Shandong, a Chinese province, is sometimes known as Qilu, after the Zhou dynasty states of Qi and Lu. However, its name is further shortened as Lu. For example, Shandong cuisine is known in Chinese ...
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What was the largest place to be named after a specific, individual animal (i.e. not a species)?

Not so many individual, non-human animals have been immortalized in place names. Often those were about animals known only as remains, as in Dead Horse Glen, but some living animals, named or unnamed, ...
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Was there ever a conqueror who named the place after themselves? [closed]

In fiction, there are examples of conquerors laying claim to a place (castle, town, city, region) and then changing its name, sometimes even after themselves. There are plenty of streets, towns, and ...
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For who or what was Cojo Creek named?

Cojo Creek (Cañada del cojo) is the boundary between the Rancho Punta de la Concepción and the Rancho Nuestra Señora del Refugio. The anchorage at the mouth of this creek was a prime smuggling spot in ...
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Which lame moor was the namesake of Rancho Moro Cojo?

Governors of Mexican Alta California granted ranches to well-connected petitioners. One such piece of land near Elkhorn Slough was called Rancho Moro Cojo (Lame Moor Ranch), granted in 1825 by ...
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Why is it called the "Ottoman" Empire in English language?

I don't get why in English language it is called the "Ottoman" Empire. The name of the state derives from its founder, Osman I., however how can "Osman" be transformed to "Ottoman"? For me this doesn'...
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What was the name of the region, Somalia, British Somalia or British Somaliland?

Somalia was created in 1960 by joining two regions: British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland. References in Wikipedia keep toggling between British Somaliland and Italian Somalia, note the use of ...
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Why and when did countries develop long names that include the form of government?

Every country has different names, for example “China” vs “People's Republic of China”. But when I look back into history I see that countries in the past only had one name. For example the ancient ...
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History of eponymous cities

Alexander the Great founded many Alexandrias. Following his example, the Diadochi and the Epigoni did the same: Antigonia, Demetria, Lysimachia, Seleucia, Antiochia, Cassandreia... This trend seems ...
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Is there ANY relation between Pennsylvania and Transylvania? [closed]

Like the title asks, is there ANY relation between Pennsylvania and Transylvania, historically or otherwise, or are the names simply very odd coincidences?
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Naming of (strategic) hills on a map as numbers (example Hill 60)

I'm a native to the Ypres region. Here we still have hills retaining their names given during WW1: Hill 60, Hill 62, Hill 41,... I did some research on the naming of the hills. And during my research ...
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Why is Hue's "Purple Forbidden City" so called?

Within the Imperial City complex in Huế, Vietnam, is a secondary citadel called in English the "Purple Forbidden City". (Or, per some sources, the "Forbidden Purple City.") According to my guide ...
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Is the name of Askandra Village, Rajasthan related to Alexander the Great?

I did a wiki walk and ended up on this site: http://www.livius.org/articles/place/alexandria-on-the-acesines/ Which contains this line: "The town flourished; in Buddhist texts, it is called Askandra."...
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What is the back story behind the Baja California towns of "Purgatorio" and "Providencia"?

I'm reading a book on Mexican history, and noticed in a map that there are two towns or cities next to each other in Baja California, one named Purgatorio (purgatory) and the other Providencia (...
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6 votes
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When was the "New Kingdom" of Egypt first called that?

When was the New Kingdom of Egypt (c. 1550BC to 1077BC) first called "New Kingdom" (or something cognate)?
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What's the etymology of the name of the Schengen village?

The Luxembourg village of Schengen is noted for being the site where European leaders signed the historic Schengen Agreement. The village is named for its 1390 castle. Where does the name "Schengen" ...
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Why some countries have more than one name? [closed]

I know Persian Language, In persian (Farsi) that is an old language we call Netherlands “Holland” , call Germany "Alman", Call Poland "Lahestan", call India "Hend" and etc. What is the reason and Why ...
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13 votes
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How did the Antarctic Plateau lose the kings' names it originally had?

The Antarctic Plateau was originally named by its explorers: Shackleton named it the King Edward VII Plateau, after the king of England. Amundsen named it the King Haakon VII Plateau, after the king ...
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How did the Scottish lowlands get their Gaelic name?

According to the Wiki page the Gaelic name for the Scottish Lowlands can be translated as, "the place of the foreigner". I'm wondering which foreigners they are referring to. Also, if this actually ...
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How did it happen that countries and cities got different names in different languages?

I wonder why a single city's (or country's) name is different in various languages. To me, city and country names are somewhat similar to a person's given name, and it doesn't seem right to call ...
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7 answers
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Is it true that medieval villages didn't have names?

Recently I've read a certain book about the Middle Ages that has been quite popular with laymen but is held in utter contempt by professional medievists. In fact, I hadn't known the book's reception ...
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