CITIES THAT CAN'T SEEM TO FIGURE OUT THEIR OWN NAMES
Added on: 6th Sep 2016
NEW AMSTERDAM TO NEW YORK CITY
Giovanni da Verrazzano, captaining a French ship, is the first
European known to visit the area of present day New York City
in 1524. He named it Nouvelle-Angouleme after the Royal House
of Valois-Angouleme, the house of French King Francis I,
but did not stay to establish a colony. The Dutch established
the trading colony of New Amsterdam in 1626 and held it until
the British conquered the area in 1664. The renamed
New York was recaptured by the Dutch in 1673 (where it was
called New Orange, after the Dutch royal house) but finally
traded to the English for Suriname in the following year.
BOMBAY TO MUMBAI
When the Portuguese landed in southwestern India, they named the
area Bom Baim (“good little bay”). This name was anglicized to
Bombay when the British took over the city and was changed to
Mumbai (after the patron goddess Mumbadevi) in 1995 after the
Marathi nationalist Shiv Sena party swept into power.
ST. PETERSBURG TO PETROGRAD TO LENINGRAD
TO ST. PETERSBURG
First taking on the name of St. Petersburg in 1703, the city
Changed to Petrograd in 1914, Leningrad in 1924, and back to
St. Petersburg after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Sometimes called “Peter” by locals, the city was founded by
Tsar Peter the Great in 1703. It was renamed Petrograd (“Peter’s
City”, after the Tsar) in 1914 to remove German words from the
old name. Five days after Lenin’s death, the city was renamed
Leningrad in his honour as the leader of the October
Revolution which started in the city. It was renamed
St. Petersburg after the fall of the Soviet Union.
PORCALHOTA TO AMADORA
Portugal takes two spots on this list of cities which have changed
their names due to its old dirty former names of cities. Located
near Lisbon, the original city of Porcalhota was named after
Vasco Porcalho, but colloquially meant “small dirty one”.
Locals successfully asked the king to change the name in 1907.
CANTON TO GUANGZHOU
Now the third largest Chinese city with over 13 million residents,
Guangzhou didn’t have an official name when European traders
arrived. Only called “the provincial capital”, the city was named
after the surrounding province of Guangdong and derived its
Romanised name, Canton, from the Portuguese “Cantão”, a
transcription of Guangdong. The name was changed to
Guangzhou after the establishment of the People’s
Republic of China in 1949.
LONDONDERRY TO DERRY
A highly contentious place name, especially among the Irish
Republican Army (IRA), Derry is the anglicized version of the
Irish name Doire (“oak grove”). The prefix “London” was added
to the name to recognize the London guilds’ funding of the
city’s construction around 1613. July 2015 saw the Derry City
Council vote in favour of changing the official name from
Londonderry to Derry, as it is colloquially known, but the
matter is still awaiting a response from Northern Ireland’s
YERUSHALEM TO JEBUS TO CITY OF DAVID TO
AELIA CAPITOLINA TO ILIYA TO JERUSALEM
Known as Yerushalem in the Book of Joshua, this Middle Eastern
city was called Jebus while ruled by the Jebusites until being
renamed the City of David by King David. It was later (70 A.D.)
changed to Aelia Capitolina by the occupying Romans then
Iliya (after the first part of the Roman name) by the Arab
armies who conquered the city in 638 A.D. before being
changed back to Jerusalem.
HOT SPRINGS TO TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES
In a comical way a city changed its name, a small town in
New Mexico changed its name from Hot Springs to
Truth or Consequences (colloquially T or C), all due to a
popular quiz show in the 1950’s. “Truth or Consequences?”
presenter Ralph Edwards announced on-air he would have
a broadcast from the first town to name itself after the show.
For the next 50 years, Edwards visited the town annually
even after no longer presenting the show.
MAS A TIERRA TO ROBINSON CRUSOE ISLAND
Located in the Pacific Ocean to the west of Chile, the former
Mas a Tierra island was the home of Alexander Silkirk, a
marooned sailor, from 1704 to 1709. Selkirk’s story likely
inspired Daniel Defoe to write the book “Robinson Crusoe”.
The Chilean government changed the name in 1966 to
Robinson Crusoe Island to boost tourism and recognize
its literary history.