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Facts About Place Names

"How can you be in two places at once when you're not anywhere at all?"

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There are seven two-letter place names in Kentucky, including Ed, Uz, Oz, Ep, and Or. (source)

In the nineteenth century, there was a place in France whose name had no vowels: the hamlet of Ws, near Paris. (source)

There are townships in the Canadian province of Ontario named after Protestant reformers Luther and Melanchthon. They were so named by a Catholic surveyor, who wanted to encourage Protestant settlement in these swampy, nearly uninhabitable areas. (source)

The official name for Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, which is an abbreviation of its ceremonial name, "Krung Thep Mahanakon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit". (source)

The names of Minnesota and Winnipeg have the same meaning. Minnesota means "murky water" in Sioux, and Winnipeg means "murky water" in Cree.

View more facts about: Languages of the World
placenames—Postcard from 1910, captioned 'Boat Landing, Lake Charcoggagoggmanchaugagoggchaubunagungamaugg'.

Webster Lake, in Webster, Massachusetts, in the United States, is also known as Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. The name is an Indian word for a neutral place for fishing near a boundary. (source)

There used to be a place called "6" in West Virginia. (source)

There are 66 cities in the United States named Fairview. (source)

Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, means "mud-yellow estuary".

Bangkok, the name of the capital city of Thailand, means "wild plum village".

Chicago, Illinois, in the United States, was once known as Fort Dearborn, Indian Territory. (source)

The Cambridge River (in England) is the current spelling of a name that has been previously spelled in three different ways. (source)

Among the unusual place names in the U.S. state of Florida are places called Two Egg and Acres of Diamonds. (source)

The longest place name in the United Kingdom is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, a village of around 3,000 people in Wales on the island of Anglesey.

In Westford, Massachusetts, there is a pond called Sought For Pond.

Levan, Utah, is "navel" spelled backwards. It received this name because it is located in the centre of Utah.

Over 1,500 years after they occupied parts of Spain, the Vandals, a Germanic tribe, are still present in name: the region in the south known as Andalusia is merely "Vandalusia" with the initial letter missing. (source)

The American capital of Washington, D.C. is the only major world capital named after a non-legendary founder of the nation.

Pakistan was named by the British by taking the initials of Punjab, Afghanistan, and Kashmir, and added the ending "istan", meaning "land of", creating the Asian-sounding name.

The word "spa" comes from the Belgian town of Spa, in the Ardennes, whose mineral springs and baths were popular among the wealthy starting in the 18th century. (source)

View more facts about: English Words

What we now call Iran has, in the past, been called Persia, Parthia, or Media, depending on the ethnic group ruling it.

View more facts about: World Countries

There are places in Texas named Chocolate Bayou, Cut and Shoot, Ding Dong, Earth, Egypt, Gun Barrel City, Happy, Lollipop, Nameless, Noodle, and Tarzan. (source)

The shortest place names in the world are only a single letter long. There is a village of Y (population 143) in France, which has been so named since 1241, and villages called Å located in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. (source)

The Philippines' capital of Manila derives its name from the Tagalog "may-nila," meaning "where there is indigo," referring to the presence of indigo-yielding plants that grow in the area around the original settlement.

There used to be a place called T.B. in Maryland, in Prince George's County, Maryland, near the District of Columbia. It was named after the initials of Thomas Brooke, a seventeenth-century inhabitant of the area. (source)

On January 19th, 2000, Halfway, Oregon accepted an offer from the website to rename itself to, Oregon in exchange for $100,000.

The name of Switzerland used on Swiss stamps is not in any of Switzerland's four official languages (German, French, Italian, or Romansch), but in Latin (Helvetia).

View more facts about: World Countries

There are several place names in England that are pronounced very differently from what their spellings would suggest. For example, Brougham is pronounced "broom", Cholmondeley is pronounced "chumley", and Woolfardisworthy is pronounced "Woolsey". (source)

In 1986, the City Council of Hamilton, Ohio, voted to change the official spelling of the city's name from Hamilton to Hamilton! (with an exclamation point at the end). (source)

Eight states in the United States are named after Indian tribes: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah. (source)

View more facts about: United States
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