Sunday 28 September 2014

Asian Capital Cities – Etymologically speaking (A to L)

The last couple of weeks I have looked at the origins of the names of the nations of Asia, the largest continent on the planet. As previously I shall continue by looking at the origins of the capital cities of those countries, again split into two groups. I shall use the alphabetical order of the nations, as it makes it easier to compare the two – especially as the names of the capital cities will not be as well known.

Afghanistan – the capital city is Kabul, which shares its name with the River Kabul. The river was certainly named first but, unless this is an Iranian word meaning ‘red’, the origins are unknown.

Armenia – and the capital is Yerevan, one of the oldest continually inhabited city in the world and thus one of the oldest names. This does not seem to be from the Armenian king Yervand, although possibly from the Urartian military fortress of Erebuni which did stand around the same area by 782 BC. As two languages blended the pronunciation evolved from Erebuni to Yerevan and thus likely to be ‘abode of Aru’ a local god. Note the Armenian phrase yerevan is used to mean ‘to appear’ and has led to suggestions this came from the words spoken by Noah as it was the first city to emerge, from his perspective on Mount Ararat, resting place of the ark, from the receding flood.

Azerbaijan – where the capital is Baku and a name of uncertain meaning but not without a couple of ideas. Perhaps this is of Arabic and/or Persian derivation where baadku or ‘mountain wind’ gives ‘windswept’, or if this is Iranian abad ku this would speak of ‘town of fire’ and refer to a culture of fire-worshippers.

Bahrain – where the capital city of Manama comes from the Arabic al-manama referring to either ‘the place of rest’ or ‘the place of dreams’, depending upon one’s interpretation.

Bangladesh – has Dhaka as its capital and largest city. A name of uncertain etymology, there is certainly no shortage of suggested origins. Locally the dhak tree is a common sight and perhaps the most likely source. There is also the goddess Dhakeshwari, there is a shrine to her in the city. A dhak was also a musical instrument, held to have been played when the Bengali capital was inaugurated in 1610 under the orders of Subahdar Islam Khan I. Lastly there is the Prakit dialect, where Dhaka Bhasa or Shakka is used for a ‘look-out point’.

Bhutan – has a recent capital named Thimphu, itself from a district name already in use by the fourteenth century and of unknown etymology.

Brunei – with its capital and largest city of Bandar Seri Begawan has a name from two sources. Originally this was Bandar Brunei or ‘Brunei town’, the addition comes from the Sulatan’s late father Seri Begawan, itself from the Sanskrit bhagavn or ‘god’.

Cambodia – the capital is Phnom Penh which, in the Khmer language, means ‘mountain of abundance’.

China – and today the capital is correctly said to be Beijing, this from Chinese bei ‘north’ and kintsing ‘capital’, a comparison with Nanking or ‘southern capital’.

Cyprus – has the capital Nicosia, a corruption of the Greek name of Lefkosia meaning ‘grove of poplars’.

Georgia – the city of Tbilisi is derived from the Georgian tbili meaning ‘warm’ and referring to the local mineral springs.

India – has the present capital of New Delhi, named from what is officially known as Old Delhi, becoming capital in 1947. The name began as a territory, the origins uncertain but possibly from Hindi dilli or ‘threshold’ and a reference to it being close to Hindustan.

Indonesia – the capital city is Jakarta, either from Sanskrit jaya-kerta ‘the place of victory’ or Iranian kert ‘built place’.

Iran – and its capital is Tehran, named from the Old Persian teh ran or ‘warm place’.

Iraq – Baghdad is thought to come from the Iranian words bag dad to describe ‘God’s gift’.

Israel – Jerusalem has been found in Assyrian cuneiform as Urusalimmi, this from Old Hebrew shalem ‘peace’ and from the root ‘stone’ ieru ‘house’ or perhaps ‘people’. Thus it is difficult to know if this is ‘house of peace’ or, if earlier, ‘house of stone’.

Japan – as crossword buffs will know this was formerly known as Edo, literally ‘estuary’. The modern name is from the Japanese to kio ‘the eastern capital’, a comparison with ‘the western capital’ of Kyoto.

Jordan – has its capital city named after the Egyptian god Ammon, used in the sense of ‘protected by Ammon’.

Kazakhstan – has Astana from an early Proto-Indo-European word sta ‘to stand’ shared with the suffix for the country, the Iranian stan ‘land’.

Korea (North and South) – two countries and two capital cities. Pyongyang is the centre for North Korea, a name literally meaning ‘flat land’ and understood as ‘peaceful land’. In South Korea it is the city of Seoul, another literal name translating as ‘capital city’.

Kuwait – shares an origin with the country. Kuwait City is also from Arabic Al-Kuwayt and refers to the former Portuguese fort as ‘the enclosed’.

Kyrgyzstan – the capital is Bishkek, traditionally from the Kyrgyz word for a churn used in the fermentation of mare’s milk, the national drink. Such etymology seems at the very least creative and designed to deflect from the name of Frunze in the Soviet era, itself coming from Mikhail Frunze, a close associate of Lenin who was born in Bishkek.

Laos – the capital is Vientiane, or in the local form Viengchan, meaning ‘town of sandalwood’.

Lebanon – the capital is Beirut which has two equally plausible explanations. Either this represents the Roman Berytus, the Latin version of the hoenician word beroth meaning ‘wells’ or it is directly from Aramaic berotha or ‘pine trees’.

As previously M to Z will follow next time.

Sunday 21 September 2014

Countries of Asia – Etymologically Speaking (M to Z)

Following on for last week’s look at the origins of the names of Asian nations, here is the completion of the list.

Malaysia – is probably from the Sanskrit malai or ‘mountain’, although the alternative maha lanka, also Sanskrit, for ‘big island’.

Maldives – has almost as many suggested origins as there are islands. The most likely of them Sanskrit dwipa ‘island’, which would give maldiva ‘thousand islands’ even though there are twice that number.

Mongolia – another named after the native peoples, the Mongols name meaning ‘brave ones’. Earlier they called themselves Bide, a much more modest name meaning simply ‘we’.

Myanmar – used to be known as Burma, both names derived from the indigenous Bamar people themselves coming from the Sanskrit mranma or bama ‘strong ones’.

Nepal – is possibly another of Sanskrit origin where nipalaya means ‘abode at the foot’ (of the Himalayas) or alternatively from Tibetan niyampal ‘holy land’.

Oman – was also the name of an ancient city named from the Arabic for ‘stopped here’, as it was settled by nomads, or from the founder Oman-ben-Ibrahim.

Pakistan – a recent name, first suggested in 1931 although the nation did not officially exist until 1947, which is thought to come from Urdu or Iranian pak ‘clean’ (in spirit) with that common suffix stan ‘country’.

Palestine – shares an origin with the Philistines, both from the Hebrew palash meaning ‘to travel’.

Philippines – when first spotted by Magellan it was December 17th 1521 and he named them the St Lazarus Islands, this being the feast day of St Lazarus. However when the first settlers arrived in 1543 they named them in honour of the heir to the Spanish throne, the future Philip II.

Qatar – is thought to derive from an ancient port or city of the same name, although the meaning is unknown.

Russia – a surprisingly recent name only used for the entire country since the 15th century. It comes from the local Rus people, whose name has been explained several ways. Perhaps this is a Slavic name describing the Varangians, who were Swedish Vikings and ruled from the 9th century and had a name meaning ‘foreigners’. It could also refer to the Swedish Ruotsi tribe, their name meaning ‘rowers’, ie of Viking ships.

Saudi Arabia – was named after King Ibn-Saud, he united the former states of Nejd and Hejaz to create the country in 1932.

Singapore – another name of Sanskrit origins where singa pura may literally mean ‘lion town’ but should be seen as ‘strong’ as there are no lions here. The traditional story of this being named in the 7th century when an Indian prince landed here and mistakenly thought the first animal he saw was a lion can be ignored.

Sri Lanka – named as such from 1972 and taken from the local Sinhalese for ‘blessed island’, the Sanskrit lanka means ‘island’. Originally this was Singhala, named for the local people, which came from Sanskrit sinha, literally ‘lion’ but used in the sense ‘brave’.

Syria – a name of uncertain origin until the discovery of a tablet at the beginning of the 21st century which showed the name does have a link to the Assyrian people, themselves named for their chief city of Assur which was named for their chief god.

Tajikistan – is another stan or ‘country’, here being that of the Tajiks. These were undoubtedly the people who were here in the 7th century but their name is difficult to define as it is not clear if these were of Turkic or Iranian heritage.

Thailand – comes from the native name of the island of Prathet Thai meaning ‘country of the free’. Prior to 1939 it was known as Siam, this from the Sanskrit word sian meaning ‘brown’, the distinctively different colour of the skin of the indigenous people here.

Timor – is simply an Indonesian word meaning ‘east’, it is the most easterly of the Lesser Sunda Islands but one which explains why this has not been listed under the official name of East Timor.

Turkey – has already had a number of clues under other nations with mentions of the Turkic people with the suffix from Latin ia showing it was their territory. The Turks probably get their name from tora ‘to be born’, although some maintain the English ‘turban’ has also influenced the name.

Turkmenistan – is again named after the local tribe, these the Turkmens with the addition of stan ‘country’. The origin of turkmend or ‘Turk-like’ is possible but, with the different uses of men in Turkish languages, it is difficult to know if this is ‘pure Turks’, ‘good Turks’, ‘great Turks’, or several other similar terms.

United Arab Emirates – a name which explains itself, the unification of (seven) Arabic states headed by an emir and known by this name since 1971. Prior to this it was the Trucial States, again a comparatively modern name and dating from 1820 when British presence here ensured a truce in the area which had previously been known as the Pirate Coast.

Uzbekistan – and another stan or ‘country’ named after the indigenous peoples. The Uzbeks are thought to get their name from Khan Uzbek, the fourteenth-century chieftain of the Golden Horde, even though both the language and the race had already existed for centuries.

Vietnam – a local Annamese name meaning ‘land of the south’. Prior to 1945 the country was separated into Annam, Tonkin and Cochin-China.

Yemen – is thought to be from the Arabic yamin or ‘on the right hand’. Hence this describes this land as being to the right when facing Mecca while Sham (a part of Syria) speaks of it being ‘on the left’.

As previously etymologies for the relevant capital cities will follow.

Sunday 14 September 2014

Countries of Asia – Etymologically Speaking (A to L)

The last couple of posts have looked at the origins of the names of the countries, and then the capital cities, of the nations of the Americas. Having already looked at countries and capitals of Europe and also Africa, thought I should complete the set with those of the largest continent, Asia.

Afghanistan – is held to be named after the legendary forefather of all the Afghans and thus the name Afghana is followed by the Iranian word stan meaning simply ‘country’. It will soon become apparent this suffix is used for a number of countries around the western part of Asia.

Armenia – a name of uncertain etymology, albeit definitely an ancient one. The native name for the region is Hayk, the legendary patriarch of the Armenians and the great-great-grandson of Noah who led his people around 4,500 years ago. The first mention of the present name is said to be seen on a Persian Inscription dating from 515BC as Armina and, once again, said to point to a legendary father of the nation, one Armenak.

Asia – it did seem appropriate to give the origin of the name of the continent at this point. Originally this name referred solely to the eastern coastline of the Aegean Sea where Assyrian asu with the joint meaning of ‘sunrise, east’ corresponded with ereb ‘sunset, west’ and the basis for the name of Europe. As recently as the 1st century BC the name applied only to a Roman province along this coast.

Azerbaijan – is another ancient name and of uncertain origins. However the traditional explanation points to the Persian Atropates, a satrap or governor of this region. Some suggest his name comes from the region already known as ‘land of (holy) fire’. Geologically the land here does release combustible gases and did attract a culture of fire-worshippers who built their temples here.

Bahrain – has a name originating from Arabic al-Bahrayn meaning ‘two seas’. Even today the sea to the north and that to the south are known by different names, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Bahrain, respectively.

Bangladesh – until 1971 this was East Pakistan and, as one of the world’s youngest nations, has one of the easiest names to define. This is from Bengali and means ‘Bengal nation’.

Bhutan – is quite simply the Sanskrit bhot ‘country’.

Brunei – again this may represent a Sanskrit word meaning ‘land’, although others would suggest a Malay word meaning ‘plant’. Yet traditionally this was founded, and therefore named, by one Awang Alak Betatar who came here and, on discovering the estuary, pointed and exclaimed Baru nah! meaning ‘That’s it!’

Cambodia – is yet another nation held to be named after a mythical forefather. Here the Khmers came from Cambu, also the local name for the Mekong River, and while the correct name today is Kampuchea, the earlier Cambodia is just a Portuguese version of that name.

China – as with Cambodia this has been influenced by the Portuguese. There are two possible origins for this, either from the Ch’in dynasty of the 3rd century BC or, and this seems less likely, Ji-nan ‘south of the sun’. Note the Chinese name for China is Chung-hua ‘the middle land’. As one who delights in etymologies, especially of place names, and as this ‘middle land’ is how every homeland is seen to its inhabitants, I am so very thankful others were infinitely more imaginative.

Cyprus – even with its long recorded history the name of Cyprus remains a mystery. Of course there have been suggestions, all from the Greek, where it would either be from its many cypress trees (although these are not native but were imported from Lebanon), a reference to the henna plant Lawsonia alba, or a pointer to the large deposits of copper ore.

Georgia – has its modern name from an anglicised form of the Russian name, the Russians referring to the people as Gruzia. The origins of their name is disputed but may come from Middle Persian varkana or ‘the place of wolves’.

India – in 1947 what had been the India under British rule split to form the new nations of Pakistan and what is now known as Bangladesh. This is ironic as India was named after the River Indus, now entirely in Pakistan. As with nearly all major rivers the name of Indus means ‘river’, this from the Sanskrit sindhu.

Indonesia – is an island which shows etymologically historical links to India, for this takes the name of India and adds the Greek nesos or ‘island’.

Iran – is another name ultimately traceable to Sanskrit. Here aria, which also gave the Iranian ariya, means ‘worthy’. This had been the name of the Indo-European people who settled this region many thousands of years ago. For such an ancient name this has only been the official name of the country since 1935. Prior to that it was Persia, also named from an indigenous group Farsi who share their name with the Pharisees and which comes from the Sanskrit parasah ‘steed’ and describes them as ‘horsemen’.

Iraq – is simply Arabic iraq ‘the well-rooted country’. Known as Mesopotamia for millennia, this came from Greek mesos potamos ‘between the rivers’ (Tigris and Euphrates).

Israel – is the name of the Hebrew tribe, the Israelites. In turn this came from Israel or ‘god Isra’ and the second name of Jacob interpreted as ‘God’s warrior’ from Hebrew sara ‘to fight’ and El ‘God’.

Japan – is the Chinese name for the islands where Ji-pen-kue describes ‘the land of the rising sun’.

Jordan – is named after the River Jordan, itself from the Hebrew and either jarden ‘to drain’ or jarda ‘to rush’, both apt descriptions of rivers.

Kazakhstan – is named after the native peoples. The Kazakhs, with the addition of Iranian stan ‘country’, were of Turkish origin whose name is thought to mean ‘freemen’.

Korea (North and South) – etymologically, if not politically, North and South Korea are identical. Until the 14th century this was Koryo ‘the high place’, itself a dynastic name and hence the modern name. To North Koreans their homeland is Chosen from the name of the next dynasty of Choson, meanwhile South Koreans refer to their land as Taehan, itself from Han the earlier name of the states here.

Kuwait – is an Arabic name where Al-Kuwayt refers to ‘the enclosed’ and probably points to the 16th century Portuguese fort.

Kyrgyzstan – another Iranian stan or ‘country’ following a Turkic word for ‘forty’. This would refer to the forty clans led by the legendary hero Manas who led the fight against the dominant Uyghurs.

Laos – named after the Thai Lao people, with the Portuguese adding the plural ‘s’.

Lebanon – takes the name of the mountains, itself from the Aramaic laban ’white’, which may refer to the snow-capped peaks or the limestone rocks.

Part two will follow next time and, in coming weeks, a look at the origins of the capital cities.

Sunday 7 September 2014

Capital Cities of North and South America – etymologically speaking.

Previously I looked at the origins of the names of the countries of (what was once known as) the New World. In there I mentioned defining their capital cities, so I do and in the same alphabetical order of the countries.

Antigua and Barbuda – capital city is St John’s which, as with every other parish on the islands, is named after the dedication of the parish church.

Argentina – where the capital city is Buenos Aries, named by Spanish settlers who arrived here in 1536. Fortunately, at least for the Argentinian postal service, the modern version is an abbreviation of the original name of Ciudad da la Santisima Trinidad y Puerto de nuestra senora la virgin Maria de los beunos aries. The name meaning ‘City of the Most Holy Trinity and port of Our Lady the Virgin Mary of the Good Winds’ has nothing to do with local weather or climate but has a beginning referring to Trinity Sunday, the day on which the settlement was founded, the remainder reminds us the Virgin Mary is the patron saint of sailors.

Bahamas – today the capital is Nassau but, when founded in 1729, was known as Charlestown to honour the English king Charles II. When William III took the throne, he of the House of Orange-Nassau, the name was changed. Incidentally the name of the royal house comes from the Germany duchy of Nassau, itself from Old High German naz ‘damp or marshy’ and augia ‘land’.

Barbados – when discovered by the British they found the remains of a primitive bridge across the Careenage swamp, this built by the Arawak people. This led to them knowing the place as Indian Bridge and yet very soon the place was officially known as the Town of Saint Michael from the dedication of the church. Later, when the same church was given cathedral status, the name was officially changed to the somewhat oxymoronic City of Bridgetown.

Belize – has the capital city of Belmopan, the name only existing since 1967. The capital replaced the former capital, also Belize, destroyed by a hurricane in 1961. The new city was built 50 miles inland on a tributary of the River Belize, the River Molpan, and named as part of the former city and the river.

Bolivia – the constitutional capital is La Paz, an abbreviation of the original name of Pueblo Nuevo de Nuestra Senora de la Paz. Given by the Spanish in 1548, it was named to mark the peace between themselves and the locals and means ‘new town of Our Lady of Peace’.

Brazil – has a capital named Brasilia, a new city founded as recently as 1960 to move the seat of government in this huge country to a more neutral and central location. It is named from a tree, not that which bears brazil nuts but from brazil-wood. The wood was a source of a red dye, known to the Portuguese as braza literally ‘heat’ or ‘coals’. This was used prior to the discovery of the Americas to refer to a red dye obtained from the Far East and known by the Latin brasilium. The earlier name for this region was also Portuguese, named by Cabral in 1500 Vera Cruz meant ‘true cross’. The previous capital, and one still often mistakenly said to have that status, is Rio de Janeiro. It was named as such by the explorer Amerigo Vespucci, who thought the bay on which the city stands to be the estuary of a large river and thus called it ‘the January river’, it being New Years’ Day in 1502.

Canada – has the capital city of Ottawa, taken from the tribe known as the Outaouacs or Outaouais who came here from the around Lake Huron and whose name is thought to mean ‘traders’. Earlier it was known as Bytown, named after Colonel John By, an English soldier who organised the building of the Rideau Canal.

Chile – its capital Santiago was founded in 1541 by Pedro de Valdiva as Santiago del Nuevo Extremo ‘Santiago of the new frontier’. Named in honour of St James, San Jago to the Spanish, is said to have preached in Spain and his body brought there following his martyrdom in Jerusalem.

Colombia – had its capital founded and named by the Spanish explorer Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada on January 6th 1538 as Santa Fe de Bogota. Here Santa Fe means ‘holy faith’, a reference to January 6th being the Feast of the Transfiguration, while Bogota is a Spanish rendering of the name of the tribal chief Bacata.

Costa Rica – where the capital is San Jose, the Spanish for Saint Joseph. When founded it was known as Villa Nueva, simply ‘new town’.

Cuba – the capital of Havana is of uncertain origins, possibly a tribal name or that of a Taino chieftain known as Habaguanex. It is first recorded when the Spanish explorer Diego Velasquez named if San Cristobal de la Habana (St Christopher of Habana) to honour Christopher Columbus.

Dominica – where the capital city is Roseau, named after the River Rouseau, itself named by French explorers from the reeds known as phragmites which grew there.

Dominican Republic – dating from the Spanish settlement of 1496, the capital of Santo Domingo can claim to be the oldest European city in the Americas. The name either means ‘Saint Dominic’ or ‘holy Sunday’, depending upon one’s interpretation as to whether this is after Domenico Columbus (father of Christopher) of Saint Dominic (Domingo de Guzman) and founded on a Sunday. Briefly, from 1936 to 1961, it was known as Ciudad Trujillo after dictator Trujillo Molina, while the native Taino people had known it as Quisqueya or ‘mother of all islands’ before the Europeans arrived.

Ecuador – has the capital city Quito. This was also the name of the entire country until 1830, it was named by Spanish explorers after the local Quitu tribe who were extinct by the nineteenth century.

El Salvador – has the capital city San Salvador, Spanish for ‘holy saviour’ as it was founded on the Feast of Transfiguration August 6th 1525.

Grenada – has the capital St George’s, named after the patron saint of England. Prior to this the settlement was French and named Saint Louis after King Louis IX and then, when rebuilt on higher ground, was renamed Fort Royale.

Guatemala – the name which started it all off, where the capital is Guatemala City. This is a Spanish version of the original Tuendal name uhatzmalha or ‘the mountain that gushes water’.

Guyana – the capital is Georgetown, founded in 1781 and named by the British in honour of George III. Shortly afterward, in 1784, the Dutch gained control and renamed it Stabroek or ‘little pool’, with this returning to Georgetown in 1812.

Haiti – has the capital city Port-au-Prince. Meaning ‘the port of the Prince’ it is held the bay, and later the port and city, were named after a vessel which took shelter here, that vessel named Prince.

Honduras – has the capital city Tegucigalpa, named from the local Nahuatl language where Taguz-galpa apparently means ‘the hills of silver’. However this is disputed as the locals were seemingly unaware of this precious metal being available here. Other explanations, which suggest this came from other languages, provide the alternative meanings of ‘painted rocks’, a Mexican dance, ‘place of residence of the noble’, ‘place on the home of the beloved master’, and ‘in the homes of the sharp stones’.

Jamaica – has the capital Kingston, named to honour the English king William III.

Mexico – was named for its capital city Mexico City, itself named Metzlianan by the Aztecs and coming from the lake named from metz-tli ‘moon’ and atl ‘water’.

Nicaragua – has the capital city Managua, which comes from the local Nahuatl tongue meaning ‘adjacent to the water’ or perhaps ‘surrounded by water’. Ironically this name has also been given to Lake Managua, itself the ‘water’ which gave the settlement its name.

Panama – the country is named from the capital, Panama City. This name was discussed last time, where all theories agree it comes from a native language but the question of which language, and therefore which word, is disputed. Some point to the local trees growing in the forest, others suggest this came about when the first settlers arrived in August, a time when butterflies abound, and called it the place of ‘many butterflies’. Most often cited is the story of the fishing village known by this name which was supposed to mean ‘abundance of fish’. Panamanians, eager to produce something from this confusion, have officially adopted the meaning of ‘abundant with fish, trees, and butterflies’, a tourist winner if ever there was one. This does not take into consideration the native Kuna word bannaba meaning ‘distant’ or ‘afar’.

Paraguay – had its capital Asuncion named by Spanish explorers on August 15th 1536, the feast day of the Assumption or, to the Spanish, Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion ‘Our Lady of the Assumption’.

Peru – has the capital Lima, a city founded in 1535 by Franciso Pizzaro who called it Ciudad de los Reyes ‘city of the kings’. As the years passed it slowly became more often referred to by the same name as the river on which it stands. The River Rimac takes the name of a god whose name means ‘he who speaks’.

St Kitts and Nevis – the capital of Basseterre, a name which is derived from the French for ‘low land’ or ‘down land’. This term is seen several times around the Caribbean.

Saint Lucia – the settlement founded by the French in 1650 was known as Carenage or ‘safe anchorage’. Renamed Castries in 1756, this honoured the commander of the French expeditionary force Eugene Gabriel de La Croix, marquis de Castries.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – has the capital Kingstown, named to honour the ruling monarch both by the original French and the British who came afterwards.

Suriname – Paramaribo is the capital city, named by the local tribe where para maribo describes ‘the dwellers by the sea’.

Trinidad and Tobago – was settled by the Spanish, hence the capital city being Port of Spain. Previously this settlement was known as Cumucurapo by the local people, this meaning ‘the place of the silk cotton trees’.

United States of America – has the capital Washington, D.C. It is named after George Washington, the first president of the United States of America and a man whose grandfather was lord of the manor of Sulgrave in Northamptonshire and also my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather.

Uruguay – can boast the southernmost capital city of all the Americas. Montevideo comes from the Portuguese, possibly named by Magellan, monte vidi eo or ‘I saw the mountain’. Another idea of monte VI de O, where ‘VI’ is a Roman numeral and ‘O’ the Portuguese abbreviation for oeste ‘west’ seems highly contrived, especially when defined as ‘sixth mountain from the west’.

Venezuela – has the capital city Caracas. Named by Spanish explorers after the local tribe, it was originally known as Santiago de Leon de Caracas where Saint James, the patron saint of Spain, preceded Don Pedro Ponce de Leon, the provincial governor.