- Named after a politician 5. Modern pronunciation
- Too lengthy to stay 6. Named after the river
- In hope for a good future 7. Named after a wrong person
- Named after a tsar 8. Bringing back the first name
A. One local legend claims that the city of Orlando is named after the character in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”, but the more commonly accepted version is that a man named Orlando Reeves owned a plantation and a sugar mill a bit north of what later became the city. Early settlers found where Reeves had carved his name in a tree and thought that it was a grave marker to a soldier, a hero who died in the Seminole War and mistakenly named their settlement after him.
B. When Arizona city began expanding in the late 1860s, settlers realized that their little town needed a name. The founder of the city Jack Swilling, a Confederate veteran, wanted to name the town Stonewall in honour of Stonewall Jackson, but Darrell Duppa found out that their site had been a Native American settlement centuries earlier. He offered the name Phoenix. He believed that their new city would rise from the ruins of the former civilization like the legendary bird.
C. In 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip discovered a supply of fresh water for his thirsty armada in a cave near Port Jackson, today’s Sydney Harbor. Later he started a settlement there. The place needed a name. Though originally he had planned to name his new freshwater-filled settlement Albion – a poetic name for England – instead he decided to call the bay Sydney Cove after the Secretary of State, Lord Sydney. The fact that the guy had never even set foot in Australia didn’t stop him.
D. The Russian capital sits on the Moscva River, which is obviously where the city’s name comes from. However, there are a couple of theories as to where the name Moscva comes from. The first states that it is a derivative of a Finno-Ugric name meaning river of either cows, or bears, or darkness. Nobody is really sure which of the three exactly, but all of them seem quite possible. The other, more popular theory, says that the name comes from a Slavic word meaning dank, swampy river.
E. It’s widely known that the City of Angels got its name from Spanish settlers. The beauty of the place impressed them so much that they considered it heaven on Earth. The original name, however, was a lot longer: El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porcincula, or “The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the Little Portion”. They realized there would be a lot of letters to fit on a hat they wore, so they just shortened it to Los Angeles.
F. Have you ever wondered why in a restaurant we never order Beijing duck, but instead call it Peking like our grandmas did? Well, since Chinese characters don’t much lend themselves to transliteration, English interpretations of how the name is pronounced have changed over the years. The name was given to the city during the Ming Dynasty by Zhu Di, who moved his capital there. “Beijing” is about as close as we can get now to saying it like the Chinese.
G. St. Petersburg was founded on May 16, 1703, when the foundation of the Peter and Paul Fortress was laid. Since its foundation, the city’s name has changed several times. Originally, it was named after the Apostle Peter as tsar Peter, the Apostle’s namesake, relied on this saint’s patronage. For a decade in the 1900’s it was called Petrograd. This was from 1914–1924. After Lenin died, Petrograd was renamed Leningrad. St. Petersburg resumed its original name in 1992.