Saturday, 29 February 2020

Solomon Islands 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 some of the largest settlements of the Solomon Islands.

Honiara is the capital of the Solomon Islands and has a name derived from nagho ni ara which transaltes as 'place of the east wind' or 'facing the southeast wind' depending on which Guadalcanal language it comes from.

Malaita is the largest of the Solomon islands, an island known to the locals as simply Mala while Malaita first appears in the logs of Spanish explorers arriving her in the 16th century. The suffix is said to be either 'there' or 'east' depending on the source consulted.

Orona is an island which has also been known as Hull Island, this to honour Commondore Isaac Hull, of the United States Navy (d1843).

Guadalcanal takes its name from the Spanish village, it discovered by the Spanish in 1568. While the name of the original means 'river of the stalls', it was due to the Spanish explorer and navigator Alvaro de Mendana de Neira being born in Guadalcanal, Spain that it was chosen by his captain Pedro de Ortega.

Nendo was known as Santa Cruz by Spanish explorers.

Santa Isabel was also first recorded and named by the Spanish explorer Alvaro de Mendana, although when he charted the island in February 1568, he named it Santa Isabel de la Estrella 'St Elizabeth of the Star of Bethlehem'.

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

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