Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Origins of Virgin(ia) Mary(land)

I and a colleague had a discussion on this topic when I asked him "Is the Virgin in Virginia the same as Mary in Maryland?" and he sent me this list in response.Pretty informative and a good resouce if you are preparing for Jeopardy
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Alabama
May come from Choctaw meaning “thicket-clearers” or “vegetation-gatherers”

Alaska
Corruption of Aleut word meaning “great land” or “that which the sea breaks against”

Arizona
From the Indian “Arizonac,” meaning “little spring” or “young spring”

Arkansas
From the Quapaw Indians

California
From a book, Las Sergas de Esplandián, by Garcia Ordóñez de Montalvo, c. 1500

Colorado
From the Spanish, “ruddy” or “red”

Connecticut From an Indian word (Quinnehtukqut) meaning “beside the long tidal river”

Delaware From Delaware River and Bay; named in turn for Sir Thomas West, Baron De La
Warr

Florida From the Spanish, meaning “feast of flowers” (Easter)

Georgia In honor of George II of England

Hawaii Uncertain. The islands may have been named by Hawaii Loa, their traditional discoverer. Or they may have been named after Hawaii or Hawaiki, the traditional home of the
Polynesians.

Idaho Though popularly believed to be an Indian word, it is an invented name whose meaning is unknown.

Illinois Algonquin for “tribe of superior men”

Indiana Meaning “land of Indians”

Iowa Probably from an Indian word meaning “this is the place” or “the Beautiful Land”

Kansas From a Sioux word meaning “people of the south wind”

Kentucky From an Iroquoian word “Ken-tah-ten” meaning “land of tomorrow”

Louisiana In honor of Louis XIV of France

Maine First used to distinguish the mainland from the offshore islands. It has been considered a compliment to Henrietta Maria, queen of Charles I of England. She was said to have owned the province of Mayne in France.

Maryland In honor of Henrietta Maria (queen of Charles I of England)

Massachusetts From Massachusett tribe of Native Americans, meaning “at or about the great hill”

Michigan From Indian word “Michigana” meaning “great or large lake”

Minnesota From a Dakota Indian word meaning “sky-tinted water”

Mississippi From an Indian word meaning “Father of Waters”

Missouri Named after the Missouri Indian tribe. “Missouri” means “town of the large canoes.”

Montana Chosen from Latin dictionary by J. M. Ashley. It is a Latinized Spanish word meaning “mountainous.”

Nebraska From an Oto Indian word meaning “flat water”

Nevada Spanish: “snowcapped”

New Hampshire From the English county of Hampshire

New Jersey From the Channel Isle of Jersey

New Mexico From the country of Mexico

New York In honor of the Duke of York

North Carolina In honor of Charles I of England

North Dakota From the Sioux tribe, meaning “allies”

Ohio From an Iroquoian word meaning “great river”

Oklahoma From two Choctaw Indian words meaning “red people”

Oregon Unknown. However, it is generally accepted that the name, first used by Jonathan Carver in 1778, was taken from the writings of Maj. Robert Rogers, an English army officer.

Pennsylvania In honor of Adm. Sir William Penn, father of William Penn. It means “Penn's Woodland.”

Rhode Island From the Greek Island of Rhodes

South Carolina In honor of Charles I of England

South Dakota From the Sioux tribe, meaning “allies”

Tennessee Of Cherokee origin; the exact meaning is unknown

Texas From an Indian word meaning “friends”

Utah From the Ute tribe, meaning “people of the mountains”

Vermont From the French “vert mont,” meaning “green mountain”

Virginia In honor of Elizabeth “Virgin Queen” of England

Washington In honor of George Washington

West Virginia In honor of Elizabeth, “Virgin Queen” of England

Wisconsin French corruption of an Indian word whose meaning is disputed

Wyoming From the Delaware Indian word, meaning “mountains and valleys alternating”; the same as the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania

3 comments:

Manjusha said...

Something closer to home (at least mine!)...

The first Article of the Constitution of India, which deals with the official name, states that "India, that is Bharat, shall be a union of states." Thus, not only in usage but officially India and Bharat are both accorded primary status. The name India is derived from Sindhu, the local name for the river Indus. Interestingly the Vedas did not assign any particular name for India, although some scholars assert that references to Indu in the Rig Veda relate to India's present name. The name "Bharat" is derived from either of two ancient Hindu kings named Bharata. "Bha" in sanskrit means knowledge or light, and "rat" is a verb for 'doing'. Bharat is therefore 'the one who is in search of knowledge.' Both names are commonly in use. Hindustan is another name which has been used from the time of its introduction in Mughal times onwards referring to the 'land of the Hindus' (Hindu meaning one of Indus/Sindhu origin, i.e. Indian, 'stan' land). The association of Hindu with practitioners of the Vedic stream of religion now known as Hinduism only truly took root from around the 15th and 16th centuries (as evidenced in works by people like Kabir. In the time of the British Raj, the term Hindustan was popularly used to describe not only India in general but North Indian culture and the mix language of Urdu
and Hindi (by which name the melded vernacular is still known today). Thus, while Hindustan is still used by some as a signifier of the nation of India, this usage is debated. In any case, there are geographical, political and regional preferences in the use of the various terminologies.

Geetanjali said...

Interesting...isn't it fascinating - a country which could be called the modern day "coloniser" was once a colony, and even the names of its states are inlfuenced by its former coloniser! Wonder what reminders of its colonial period means to most Americans, who if you trace back aren't "true" Americans...but then identity today based on is a very diecy affair...

More interesting was Manjusha's comment - knew most of the info you've provided up there about the origins of our own matrubhumi's name...but to see it paraphrased so well! :-)

Paddy said...

[Manjusha] Thanks for your detailed comment.You highlight a point that one cannot talk about India in singular.There are always plural interpretations of the singular code.Anyways here was my impressioon on some of the thngs you touched.

Yes.The Greeks named us as "people beyond the river indus" thus called Indus.Yes.There might the chance that the country named after "Jada Bharat" rather than after the son of Dushyant (Look it up and you'll see the order of precedence).Finally I am not sure I heard your split of "Bha" and "rat".I assumed sanskrit grammar always went for atomic things in this refard(Refer Panini's Ashtadhyayi).Anyways good to hear from home

[Geetanjali] American's identity is mostly traced back to their European roots and strictly the native americans usually are kept to their reservations.People go back in history to say that tey are quarter hungarian,one-third jew and other weird social fractions.Here is my thought on the issue Gee. Did you ever wonder if "Columbus" was wrong? I mean what if he really found the "India" he was looking for..Speculate..