Sunday, 16 September 2018

Hong Kong Place Names Explained

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 of Hong Kong places.

Victoria City is predictably a reminder of British rule and named after Queen Victoria, indeed it had originally been known as Queenstown.

Kowloon means 'nine dragons', named for the eight mountains and the emperor.

Tseung Kwan O means 'general's bay' but who that general was and why he had a bay named in his honour is a mystery.

Aberdeen is named to honour the memory of George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen and former British prime minister.

Cheung Chau means 'the long state' and aptly known as such owing to its shape, also the reason it is nicknamed 'dumbbell island'.

Kennedy Town is named after Arthur Edward Kennedy, 7th Governor of Hong Kong (1872-77).

Jardine's Lookout is named after William Jardine, founder of Jardine Matheson, one of the original Hong Kong trading houses. It was here the company would keep an eye out for the white sails and rush out in a fast whaleboat to collect the mail and get the first news of stocks and shares on the world market.

Kwun Tong means 'Mandarin Pond' and a reference to the salt yards.

Sai Kung was where ships came to bring gifts to the Ming Dynasty, hence its name meaning 'tributes from the west'.

Shek O translates as 'rocky bay'.

Stanley was where the British and Canadian troops made a last stand during the Battle of Hong Kong, at Stanley's Fort. The local name is Chek Chue or 'bandit's post', from the legend this was the hideout of the notorious pirate Cheung Po Tsa.

Tai O means 'large inlet', a reference to the access to the river for this traditional fishing village.

Note the spellings of the places are English as the piece is written in English.


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