Ever wondered how some of the popular destinations got their names? Well, among other reasons, some have been named after important people! Check out these places that were named after people in history, and make your next travel plans unique.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi named 21 unnamed islands in Andaman and Nicobar. These island names were based on important people, including Captain Vikram Batra who lost his life during the Kargil war. The list, which came out just in time for Republic Day, got us thinking about other places in the world that have been named after people. After a little bit of digging, we found some names.
So, in case you want to add some destinations to your bucket list that have a unique historic angle, these places which are named after popular people are some that should definitely find a spot on it. Check them out below!
15 popular places named after people to add to your bucket list
Kyiv, Ukraine – named after Kyi, one of the four who established the city
According to the World Atlas, Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, was established by three brothers, named Kyi, Shchek and Khoryv, and their sister, named Lybid. Legend has it that Kyi was the Polyanian Prince, and archaeological evidence suggests that there was an ancient settlement in the area starting in the 6th century. Kyiv (also spelt Kiev), is said to derive its name from Kyi, who was believed to be a prince (kynaz) in the Eastern Slavic tribe of Polans, World Atlas writes.
Vancouver, Canada – named after George Vancouver
Vancouver is named after George Vancouver, a weathered Royal Navigator of the seas. The place was earlier known as Granville and was inhabited by several Native Americans (First Nations). Vancouver, from 1791 to 1795, completed a detailed survey of the coasts, including San Francisco and British Columbia. On this journey, he also visited Granville and when the destination began to gain popularity (in the 1800s) thanks to its port and other activities, American president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, William Van Horne, suggested changing the name to Vancouver (in 1858, to be precise).
Book your stay at Paradox Hotel Vancouver here
Alexandria, Egypt – named after Alexander The Great
Alexander the Great of Macedonia is noted as one of the greatest generals in history. He conquered parts of Asia (including India), Greece, Persia, and Egypt, among others, and is said to have been taught by Aristotle in his teenage years. It is this general that Alexandria in Egypt is said to be named after, who founded the city in 332 BCE as the capital of the country.
Book your stay at Tolip Hotel Alexandria here
Bucharest, Romania – named after Bucur, a shepherd
Bucharest in Romania is also among the places named after people. The city derives its name from Bucur, a legendary shepherd, whose name means ‘joy’. The first mention of the city was in 1459, suggests World Atlas. It was called the Citadel of Bucuresti by scholars who wrote about how Prince Vlad III the Impaler had constructed a fortress here to defend the town from the Turks.
Udaipur, India – named after Maharana Udai Singh II
The city of Udaipur in Rajasthan is magnificent and should be on every traveller’s list. Surrounded by lakes and home to several palaces and forts, it is a place with a rich past. Udaipur derives its name from its founder, Maharana Udai Singh II as the new capital of the Mewar Kingdom, according to Rajasthan Tourism. The city was founded in 1553, and today is one of the most popular cities in Rajasthan, India, among travellers who want to experience local culture and traditions.
Book your stay at The Leela Palace Udaipur here
Colombia – named after Christopher Columbus
According to Britannica, Colombia is probably the only American nation named after Christopher Columbus, who is considered to be the discoverer of the New World. Colombia as a nation reflects its Spanish colonisation and is known for its snow-topped peaks, long coastlines, coffee plantations, ethnic population and abundance of culture.
Philippines – named after Philip II, the king of Spain
The Philippines is yet another nation that derives its name from a person. The country, according to Britannica, was named after Philip II, the king of Spain when the islands were colonised by the Spanish in the 16th century. The island nation has many cultural similarities with Spain, which reigned over The Philippines for 333 years, as well as with the USA, which came here after the Spanish and ruled for another few decades.
Bolivia – named after Simon Bolivar
Home to the famous Uyuni Salt Flats (Salar de Uyuni), Bolivia is yet another country that has been named after a person. The country gets its name from Simon Bolivar, according to BBC. Bolivar, a Venezuelan freedom fighter, played a major role in the independence of the country from Spanish rule in 1824, and later became the country’s first president.
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Jaipur, India – Named after Sawai Jai Singh II
Jaipur is among the many other cities and towns in India that are named after people. The charming city is the capital of Rajasthan and was built by Sawai Jai Singh II, who was also the founder of Jaipur. The most notable part about the city is its dusty pink hue – a colour that the entire Jaipur was painted with in 1876, to welcome Prince Albert. The place is adorned with sprawling palaces, magnificent forts and a rich culture that welcomes all visitors with open arms.
Seychelles – named after French Minister of Finances, Jean Moreau de Sechelles
Seychelles, the beautiful island country, first appeared on an ancient Portuguese map in 1502. The destination was discovered by French navigator Lazare Picault. The island of Mahe was earlier named Seychelles after the French Minister of Finances, Jean Moreau de Sechelles, according to the National Museum’s website. Later, the archipelago became known as Seychelles while Mahe got its name after the Governor General of Isle de France (Mauritius), Mahe de Labourdonnais.
Book your stay at Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa here
The USA – Named after Amerigo Vespucci
America (or the United States of America) gets its name after Amerigo Vespucci. The Italian explorer was one who gave the idea that the lands that Christopher Columbus had sailed out to in 1492 were in fact, part of a separate continent. The name America was the Latinised version of Amerigo.
Vasco da Gama, India – named after Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama, also called Vasco, is a popular city in Goa, India. The place gets its name from the Portuguese explorer of the same name, who is credited to be the first European to enter India via the sea route. He is also the one who is said to have discovered the sea route between India and Europe.
Saudi Arabia – named after king Abdulaziz Al-Saud
Saudi Arabia is named after King Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who established the modern Kingdom in 1932, according to the Embassy of India, Riyadh’s website. Since 1953, the kingdom has been ruled by the sons of King Abdulaziz. The present ruler of the country, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, ascended the throne in January 2015.
Book your stay at Habitas AlUla here
Melbourne, Australia – named after William Lamb, second Viscount of Melbourne
The Australian city of Melbourne was earlier named Batmania. However, in 1837, the city was given its present name, to honour the British Prime Minister, William Lamb, second Viscount Melbourne (of Kilmore). The place received its status as a city in 1847, according to Britannica, and its growth began in 1850 when gold was discovered in the regions near Bendigo and Ballarat, located less than 160 kilometres away.
Athens, Greece – named after the Greek goddess, Athena
A popular myth states that Athens gets its name from the Greek goddess Athena. According to Greek Reporter, the city had several names throughout the centuries, among the latest being Cecrops, after King Cecrops. According to Greek mythology, the Gods of Olympus wanted to name it after themselves, given the prosperity and beauty of the city and hence, a duel was conducted between the Gods. Poseidon (the God of the Sea) and Athena (the Goddess of Wisdom) made it to the last round, when Zeus intervened and declared that the god who delivers the best present to the city’s king will be able to name the city after themselves and become its patron. Poseidon opened a spring of water (which was salty in taste) while Athena planted an olive tree (which gave them oil, food, shade, and wood). After this, Athena won and became the patron of Athens.
Hero and Featured Image: Courtesy of Constantinos Kollias/Unsplash
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