Sunday, 1 September 2019

Nigeria 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 Nigeria's cities.

Lagos is a name given to the place by the Portuguese, it means simply 'lakes'.

Kano was originally known as Dala, after Dalla Hill, and remained such until the end of the 15th century. Later it took its current name, itself borrowed from the name of the hereditary rulers named Kano.

Ibadan comes from the phrase eba odan, 'between the forest and the plains'.

Benin came from the Portuguese pronunciation of the original name of Ubinu, itself from Ile-Ibinu 'the land of vexation' as coined by Prince Oranmiyan, he frustrated in his attempts at governing this area.

Port Harcourt, built in 1912, was named to honour Lewis Vernon Harcourt, Secretary of State for the Colonies.

Jos is recorded as originally being known as Gwosh, a former village named for its position n the hills.

Enugu is derived from two Igbo words, where Enu Ugwu means 'hill top'.

Zaria was named after Queen Zaria.

Bauchi was named after a hunter called Baushe or encouraged Yaqub, of the Sokoto Empire, to build this city.

Sokoto is a modern version of the earlier Arabic name, itself from suk meaning 'market'.

Yola comes from the Fulfulde meaning 'great plain'.

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


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