Country named after them

WHS which have had a country named after them

Connected Sites

Site Rationale Link
City of Luxembourg The castle at the heart of the country was originally called "Lucilinburhuc" (possibly meaning "small fortress") when acquired by Siegfried Count of Ardennes in 963. This castle grew into a town and became the centre of the small state named after it.
Great Zimbabwe Zimbabwe - Wiki provides 2 different possibilities for the origin of "Zimbabwe". One suggests that it "is probably a short form for "ziimba remabwe" or "ziimba rebwe", a Shona term, which means "the great or big house built of stone boulders". Alternatively it might be a contracted form of "dzimba woye" which means "venerated houses" in the Zezuru dialect of the Shona language. The word appears to have been used generically by Europeans of the many stone ruins they came across in the Shona heartland hence the name "Great Zimbabwe" was applied to the largest/most famous. In his book "The ruined cities of Mashonaland" describing his investigations of the site in 1891 the archaelogist Theodore Bent was already describing it as "Zimbabwe". (The first European to visit it had been Rauch in 1871). The site became an important symbol of achievement for black Africans and was adopted as the intended name for Southern Rhodesia after independence and was being used from at least as early as 1961 in the name of the independence movement ZAPU.
Island of Mozambique The Portuguese gained control of the Island known in Swahili as "Msumbiji" in the 16th century and the westernised name became "Ilha de Mo?ambique" (Bradt gives an alternative version that it might have been derived from "Moussa ben Mbiki" the sheikh in control when da Gama first landed). The Portuguese East African Empire developed as a string of the possessions along the coast which were called by their individual names within what was genrally known as "Portuguese East Africa" but at first lacked any significant cohesion. in the 19th Century actual control was given to companies such as the Companhia de Mo?ambique (whose head office was in Lorenzo Marques) and Companhia do Niassa. However such central political control as existed was exercised from the Ilha which became the de facto capital and hence its name became accepted as representing the overall name of the entire area claimed by Portugal - even though in the late 19th century the "capital" was officially moved south to the flourishing city of Lorenzo Marques. In 1951 the colonies were combined into a single overseas province under the name Mo?ambique as an integral part of Portugal and this name was carried forward into the post colonial era.
Lake Malawi The lake was originally named "Nyasa" by David Livingstone probably for the generic word for "Lake" in several local languages (e.g as in "Victoria Nyanza"). Exactly how/when/why it became changed to "Lake Malawi" is unclear. One "legend" is that "the Name derives from the native word meaning 'flaming water' or 'tongues of fire' believed to have been used to describe the dazzling reflections of its huge Lake Malawi"! Another is that Dr Hastings Banda chose it himself having seen "Lac Maravi" on an early French map of Afrique Sud (which was not however the same lake as that which became "Nyasa"). The lake was then so named by him alone and the country was named after it. A third possibility is that the country derives its name from the "Maravi", a Bantu people who came from the southern Congo about 600 years ago and that in fact the lake was renamed after it! To this day both Tanzania and Mozambique continue to call the lake "Nyasa" or "Niassa". The former possibly in order to avoid conceding Malawi's primacy in a dispute over the partition of part of the lake between the 2 countries!
Medina of Marrakesh "The word Morocco is derived from the name of the city of Marrakesh, which was its capital under the Almoravid dynasty, the Almohad Caliphate, and the Saadian dynasty." (wiki)
Mexico City and Xochimilco The name Mexico comes from the Nahuatl language. It is a composed name, from Metztli=moon +xictli=belly button or center +co=place. So, according to the source provided, it means: "in the belly of the moon"/"in the center of the lake of the Moon". That comes from the fact that Texcoco lake was shaped like a rabbit, similar to the silhouettes of the Seas in the Moon, so the city of Tenochtitlan was symbolically located in the center of the Moon rabbit. Another version of the origin of the name derives from a name given to the Aztec god Huitzilopochtli, "the hummingbird of the South", who drove the Aztecs to the valley of Anahuac: Mexictli. Mexictli is also a composed name from Metl=maguey + xictli=belly button or center +co=place; therefore meaning "in the center of the maguey", consequently referring to the foundational myth of the city. The name of the city was adopted for the whole country after 1814, during the War of Independence, when the "Decreto constitucional para la libertad de la América Mexicana", on October 2, 1814 was proclaimed. The name was definitely adopted on September 1821, when the final Act of Independence was signed.
Mount Kenya The mountain was named by Krapf as both Kenia and Kegnia when he first sited it in 1849 apparently using a native word which he recorded (possibly Kikuyu Kirinyaga?). The colony in which it stands was originally known just as "British East Africa Protectorate" but the growing number of white settlers led to a change of status in 1920 when the "Kenya Colony" was created - named after the mountain. Because of their indiginous origins the names of both the mountian and the country were carried forward unaltered into the post colonial era.


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