Friday, December 5, 2008

Our World, Laid Bare

German company, Kalimedia, has released two atlases in time for Christmas which show the "real names" of cities and places, based on their etymology.

Examples include "Stinking Onion," which is what Chicago was named for. It was from the Algonquian (Native American tribe) word, checagou, which means "wild onion" or "skunk." It was a reference to the smell of marshland, on which the city is built. Great Britain literally means "Great Land of the Tattooed." The names are not literal, but close proximities meant to engage and stimulate.

The two atlases include one of the world and one of Europe. The etymologies are described in detail on the back of the maps. They were originally produced in Britain.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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