Having blogged samples of my books on English place names and also examined the etymologies of the nations of the world and their respective capitals I thought it time I cast my net a little wider. As English place names share some links to other tongues it would be interesting to see if any of the elements contributing to our place names could be found elsewhere. Continuing an alphabetical tour of the world and a look at the largest St Lucian cities.
Anse La Raye is simply the French for 'Bay of Rays', the rays being the flat fish found here.
Bocage can be traced to the Old Norman boscage. itself a combination of Old French bosc and a later suffix -age and describes 'the place of the wood'.
Castries has been known as such since 1785, when it was renamed after the French Minister of the Navy and Colonies, the splendidly named Charles Eugene Gabriel de la Croix, marquis de Castries. (1727 - 1801).
Canaries is also known locally as Kanawe, this coming from the Amerindian to describe 'cooking pots'.
Choiseul had earlier been known as Anse Citron, literally 'lemon handle'. The present name has never been understood.
Gros Islet translates from the French as 'large island'.
Laborie is named after Baron de Laborie, French governor of Saint Lucia from 1784 to 1789. Earlier it had been known as L'islet a Caret, said to refer to the Loggerhead turtles in the area, itself known to science as Carretta caretta.
Micoud is another named after a former French governor of Saint Lucia, Baron de Micoud held the role in the 18th century.
Mon Repos is, as anyone with a mastery of schoolboy (or schoolgirl) French knows, a phrase meaning 'my rest' and thus simply describing someone's home.
Ravine Poissin, like the previous name, is easily translated as 'the valley of the fish'.
Rodney Bay is named from the British era, specifically after Admiral George Brydges Rodney, who built a fort at Pigeon Island.
Roseau is named for the local flora, for it simply means 'reeds'.
Soicis is another named during the era of French control and is an unusual name as it means 'troubles'. Just why this was chosen is unclear.
Vieux Fort is another of French origin, this simply translates as 'old fort'.
Note the spellings of the places are English as the piece is written in English.