The Literal Translation of Places in Canada and the United States

What’s in a name? A noun, a sense of identity, a form of identification.

The discovery of the “New World” has been written about extensively but what can sometimes be forgotten is how states and areas became known for what they are now.

Many derive from indigenous languages of the Americas. Alaska for example is derived from the Yupik word, “Alyeska”, an idiom from the Aleut people, and Kansas comes from the Native American Sioux language. Others come from an individual person — Georgia from King George II and Louisiana from King Louis XIV.

We’ve taken the names of all U.S. states and Canadian provinces and territories, and put them into one map along with their translation or origin. They offer a unique insight into the forgotten history of the continent and may teach something new about your home.

The Meaning Behind Names of Places in Canada & the United States

What do place names in North America mean? In the below map you have a full picture of all the translations of correlating origins of the words from states and provinces. Feel free to embed it in your site (code at the bottom of this article), or share it with your friends. We know so much about certain things that something basic like “what does Illinois mean?” is not in the common knowledgebase. Maybe they should teach these things in schools?

The Literal Translation of the Provinces and Territories of Canada

Canada! Not surprisingly, province placenames in Canada derive more often than not from their indigenous habitants’ languages. Canada has a rich cultural heritage both of its native peoples and those who came from elsewhere in the world. Canadian provinces are notable for their unique names that tell the story of the country in parts, and as a whole.

The Literal Meaning of Every State in the U.S.

U.S. states are notoriously diverse both in history, people, and landscape. It comes as no shock, then, that state’s names have origins as diverse and interesting as the history that defines them. From New York to California and everything in between, it’s either very easy or impossible to guess what the state names mean. Bookmark this map so that you can study what state names mean, and surprise friends at the next party.

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