This list covers English language national capital city names with their etymologies. Some of these include notes on indigenous names and their etymologies. Some of these etymologies are uncertain. The former capitals also have their etymologies listed on this article.

Contents: Top · 0–9 · A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A[edit | edit source]

22x20px Afghanistan:

Kabul (1774-present): Many scholars have argued that the city's name comes from the

Kamboja tribe.[1][2][3][4][5] It is also known in classical writings as Kophes or Kophene. The name could also be derived from Sanskrit कुब्ज "kambuja" meaning "hump-backed" or "crooked."

Kandahar (1747-1774): There are many theories about the origin of the name Kandahar: 1. It is believed to have derived from the Pashto pronunciation of Alexandria, which is "Iskanderiya".[6] 2. The name could be derived from the name of the city of Gandahar[7]. 3. It's interesting to know that the word قند "kand" or "qand" in the local languages (Persian and Pashto) means "sweet" and هر "har" may be short for شهر "shahar" which means city or town. And the ancient word- Gandh derived from Gandhar also means a sweet nice smell. This probably has to do with the city being known for producing fine grapes, pomegranates, apricots, melons and other sweet fruits.[1] 4. The name could be derived from two PIE words: kand=wall and har=mountain or stone leading to understand a city made of stones or fortress with stone wall. these words are still used in Indo-Pakistan today by Nomadic Bagga and Sansi tribes.

22x20px Albania:

Tirana: There are several hypotheses for the origins of Tirana's name ...

Tirana thought that comes from the word Theranda, mentioned in ancient sources Greek and Latin, which locals called The Rana, since the field was formed as result of solid materials that brought water from the surrounding mountains. Tirana comes from Tirkan. Tirkan has been a fortress on the mountain slope of Dajti. Still exist the ruins of this ancient castle dating back to beginning of the first century before the birth of Christ, which is thought to have tower that was Byzantium historian Prokop (shek.VI), calls the tower of Tirkanit. Tirana comes from old Greek Tyros (Τύρος) which means dairy. In area of Tirana, trade of dairy products made by shepherds surrounding areas. Tirona Tirana or as called in the dialect of the country, has its origins by the way how called the people of this country. Given that the population located in this area come mainly from the mountains of the area around it by locals they called "The Ronen" (the fallen). Even today, in everyday language, for families who come from mountainous areas used the expression "have fallen (eg) in Durres "(or elsewhere). (J. N. Priska) For the first time mentioned the name of Tirana in 1418 in a document Venice.

Durrës (1914-1920): via Latin Dyrrachium and Greek Δυρράχιον Dyrrachion meaning "bad spine" or "difficult ridge." The city's former name is Epidamnos Επίδαμνος meaning "The Damned" and is a cognate with Latin damnum meaning "loss" or "harm."

22x20px Algeria:

Algiers: Derived from the Arabic word "الجزائر" (al-ǧazāʼir), which translates as the islands, referring to the four islands which lay off that city's coast until becoming part of the mainland in 1525; al-ǧazāʼir is itself short for the older name جزائر بني مازغان ǧazāʼir banī mazġannā, "the islands of (the tribe) Bani Mazghanna", used by early medieval geographers such as al-Idrisi and Yaqut al-Hamawi.

22x20px Andorra

Andorra La Vella: "Andorra the Old" in Catalan.

22x20px Angola:

Luanda/ Loanda: The place name comes from the root word Luanda lu-ndandu. The prefix lu, originally a

plural forms of the Bantu languages, is common in the names of parts of coast of river basins or wetlands (examples: Luena, Lucala Lobito) and in this case, refers to the sandbank surrounded by the sea. Ndandu means value or traded and alludes to the exploitation of small shells collected the island of Luanda and which constituted the currency in the ancient Kingdom of Congo and much of the West African coast, known zimbo or njimbo. As the Mbundu people shaped the pronunciation of place names in various regions of his manner of speaking, eliminating some sounds when they did not alter the meaning of the word, Lu-ndandu went to Lu-andu. The word in Anglicization process, became the female, since it referred to an island, and resulted in Luanda.[8]

Huambo: Etymology unknown; formerly known as Nova Lisboa meaning "New Lisbon" in Portuguese.

22x20px Antigua and Barbuda:

Saint John's: "Belonging to Saint John."

22x20px Argentina:

Buenos Aires: "Good Airs" in Spanish.
Paraná (confederate capital from 1852 to 1862): from the Guarani paraná, "wide river"; the words for "river", "large river", "lagoon", "sea" and "lake" have different meanings in Tupi, leading to confusion that Paraná meant sea

22x20px Armenia:

Yerevan: Early Christian Armenian chroniclers attributed Yerevan's origin to having been derived from an expression exclaimed by Noah, in Armenian, while looking in the direction of Yerevan, after the ark had landed on Mount Ararat and the flood waters had receded: "Yerevats!" ("it appeared!").[4] Another theory on the origin of the name is that the city was named after the Armenian king, Yervand IV (the Last), the last leader of the Orontid Dynasty and founder of the city of Yervandashat.[4] However, it is likely that the city's name is derived from an Urartian military fortress called Erebuni (Էրեբունի), which was founded on the territory of modern-day Yerevan in 782 B.C. by Argishti I.[4] As elements of the Urartian language blended with that of the Armenian one, it eventually evolved into Yerevan; scholar Margarit Israelyan notes these changes when comparing inscriptions found on two cuneiform tablets at Erebuni:

The transcription of the second cuneiform bu [original emphasis] of the word was very essential in our interpretation as it is the Urartaean b that has been shifted to the Armenian v (b > v). The original writing of the inscription read «er-bu-ni»; therefore the prominent Armenianologist-orientalist Prof. G. A. Ghapantsian justly objected, remarking that the Urartu b changed to v at the beginning of the word (Biani > Van) or between two vowels (ebani > avan, Zabaha > Javakhk)....In other words b was placed between two vowels. The true pronunciation of the fortress-city was apparently Erebuny.[5]

22x20px Australia:

Canberra: The word "Canberra" is derived from the word Kanbarra meaning "meeting place" in the old Ngunnawal language of the local Ngabri people. Alternatively the name was reported to mean "woman's breasts", by journalist John Gale in the 1860s, referring to the mountains of Mount Ainslie and Black Mountain.[9] The Ngunnawal name was apparently used as a reference to corroborees held during the seasonal migration of the Ngunnawal people to feast on the Bogong moths that pass through the region each spring.
Melbourne (1901-1927): "Mill Stream" or "Mill Spring."

22x20px Austria:

Vienna: German Wien: from Celtic Vindobona (vindo "white" + bona "foundation, fort")

22x20px Azerbaijan:

Baku: The name Baku is widely believed to be derived from the old Persian names of the city باد-که Bād-kube, meaning "Wind-pounded city", in which bād means "wind" and kube is rooted in the verb کوبی kubidan, "to pound", thus referring to a place where wind is strong and pounding. Indeed, the city is renowned for its fierce winter snow storms and harsh winds.[10] It is also believed that Baku refers to Baghkuh, meaning "Mount of God". 𐎲𐎠𐎥𐎠 Baga (now باغ bagh) and 𐎣𐎠𐎢𐎳𐎠 kaufa (now kuh) are the Old Persian words for "god" and "mountain" respectively; the name Baghkuh may be compared with Baghdād ("God-given") in which is the Old Persian word for "give". Arabic sources refer to the city as Baku, Bakukh, Bakuya, and Bakuye, all of which seem to come from a Persian name.

Various different hypotheses were also proposed to explain the etymology of the word Baku. According to L.G.Lopatinski[11] and Ali Huseynzade[12] Baku is derived from Turkic word for "hill". Caucasian history specialist K.P. Patkanov also explains the name as "hill" but in the Lak language.[12] The Turkish Islamic Encyclopedia presents the origin of the word Baku as being derived from the words Bey-Kyoy, which mean "the main city" in Turkic. Also another theory suggest that the name Baku is derived from the ancient Caucasian Albanian city which present was called Baguan.

Ganja (June 1918-December 1918): Modern historians believe that the Persian name Ganja (گنجه / Ganjeh, "Ganja" derives from the New Persian ganj (گنج: "treasure, treasury")) suggests that the city existed in pre-Islamic times and was likely founded in the fifth century A.D.[13] The area in which Ganja is located was known as Arran from the ninth to twelfth century; its urban population spoke mainly in the Persian language.[14][15]

B[edit | edit source]

22x20px Bahamas:

Nassau: Named after the House of Orange-Nassau. The city was known as Charles Town (Named after King Charles II of England) from the 1600s-1695.

22x20px Bahrain:

Manama: Etymology unknown and disputed.
Zubara (1783-1870; now in Qatar): Etymology unnown.

22x20px Bangladesh:

Dhaka/Dacca (1608-1704, 1770-1983): The name of the city may have derived after the establishment of the Goddess Dhakeshwari's temple by Ballal Sena in the 12th century.[16]
Mujibnagar (April 11, 1971-December 16k 1971): From Bengali মুজিবনগর, meaning "Mujibur's City."
Murshidabad (1704-1770): From Bengali মুর্শিদাবাদ, meaning "Murshid's Palace."
Akbarbnagar (1595-1608): From Bengali আকবরনগর, meaning "Akbar's City."

22x20px Barbados:

Bridgetown: The city was known as Indian Bridge from 1627-16?? and Saint Michael from 16?? to 1654.

22x20px Belarus:

Minsk: The Old East Slavic name of the town was Мѣньскъ (i.e. Měnsk < Early Proto-Slavic or Late Indo-European Mēnĭskŭ), derived from a river name Měn (< Mēnŭ, with the same etymology as German Main; from Latin Moenus or Menus). The direct continuation of this name in Belarusian is Miensk (pronounced [mʲɛnsk], according to the Łacinka alphabet).

In the 16th and 17th centuries, however, the pronunciation of this name in the Ruthenian language common to the ancestors of Belarusians, Rusyns and Ukrainians was influenced by the pronunciation of *ě as i in many Ukrainian dialects. The resulting form of the name, Minsk (spelled either Минскъ or Мѣнскъ) was taken over both in Russian (modern spelling: Минск) and Polish (Mińsk), and under the influence especially of Russian it also became official in Belarusian. However, some Belarusian-speakers continue to use Miensk (spelled Мeнск) as their preferred name for the city. Another explanation of the origins of the modern form of the name, Minsk, is the strong Ukrainian influence in the Belarusian lexicography in the 1920s, which resulted in the Ukrainian-like i vocalisation of then-deprecated ѣ.[17]

22x20px Belgium:

Brussels: The most common theory for the etymology of Brussels is that it derives from the Old Dutch Broeksel or other spelling variants, which means marsh (broek) and home (sel) or "home in the marsh".[12]

22x20px Belize:

Belmopan: A compund between two river names: The Belize and the Mopan.
Belize City (1798-August 3, 1970): See Etymology of Belize for more information.
Saint George's Caye (?-1798)

22x20px Benin:

Porto-Novo: "New Port" in Portuguese.
Abomey (?-1927): "Inside the Walls"
Cotonou (Seat of Government): The name 'Cotonou' means 'the mouth of the river of death' in the Fon language.

22x20px Bhutan:

Thimphu (1964-present; summer capital until 1949): Etymology Unknown.
Punakha (1949-1964; winter capital until 1949): Etymology Unknown

22x20px Bolivia:

La Paz (de facto administrative seat since 1898): "The Peace" in Spanish. Officially Nuestra Señora de La Paz meaning "Our Lady of Peace."
Sucre: Named in honor of the revolutionary leader Antonio José de Sucre in 1839. The former name "La Plata" means "The Silvery One." The official name Ciudad de la Plata de la Nueva Toledo literally means "City of the Silver of New Toledo."
Chuquisaca (1538-1839): Etymology unknown as disputed. Probably of Quechua or Aymara origin.
Tacna (Capital of Peru-Bolivia from 1836-1839; now in Peru): See Tacna below.

22x20px Bosnia and Herzegovina:

Sarajevo: The name Sarajevo is derived from Turkish saray ovası, meaning the field around saray.
Banja Luka (c. 1553-1638): "Ban's Meadows" in Bosnian, but can also mean "Bath Port" or "Spa Port". Ban is a medieval dignitary and can mean "lord", "ruler", or "master".

22x20px Botswana:

Gaborone (Gaberones): Named in honor of Chief Kgosi Gaborone of the BaTlokwa. Known as Gaborones from 1965 to 1969.
Mafeking (1885-1965): Derived from Tswana "Mafikeng" meaning "Stone Location".

22x20px Brazil:

Brasilia: Derived from Brazil's Latin name: Brasiliae.
Rio de Janiero (1763-1960): "River of January" in Portuguese.
Salvador da Bahia (1549-1763): "Savior of the Bay" in Portuguese.
Porto Seguro (1500-1549): "Cheerful Port" in Portuguese.

22x20px Brunei:

Bandar Seri Begawan: Seri Begawan was named after the Sultan's late father Sir Omar Ali Saifuddien on 5 October 1970, its original name being Bandar Brunei. Begawan is a name given to Bruneian monarchs who have abdicated, originally coming from the Sanskrit word for "god": भगवान bhagavān. Seri also comes from the honorific Sanskrit word Sri. Bandar, comes from Persian بندر via Indian languages and means "port" or "haven" (bandar means "town" in Malay). The city was known as Brunei Town until October 4, 1972.

22x20px Bulgaria:

Sofia: From Ancient Greek Σόφια, meaning "Wisdom."
Veliko Tarnovo (1185-1393 and 1877-1879): Named after the city of Veliko Tarnovo, from the Slavic root velik ("great") and the root tarn ("thorn") or from Latin turis ("tower") or tres naves ("three ships", referring to the three hills) + the Slavic suffix -ovo[29]
Nikopol (1393-1395): derived from Greek Nicopolis (Νικόπολις), "City of Victory" Nicopolis is a combination of two Greek words: Νίκη "Victory"+Πόλις "City."
Ohrid (992-1018; now in Macedonia): Named after Lake Ohrid which is of unknown origin.

22x20px Burkina Faso:

Ouagadougou: The name Ouagadougou goes back to the 15th century when the Yonyonse and the Ninsi tribes inhabited the area. They were in constant conflict until 1441 when Wubri, a Yonyonse hero and an important figure in Burkina Faso’s history, led his tribe to victory. He then renamed the area from “Kumbee-Tenga,” as the Ninsi had called it, to “Wogodogo,” meaning "where people get honor and respect." Ouagadougou is a corruption of Wogodogo. The spelling of the name Ouagadougou is derived from the French orthography common in former French African colonies. The country changed its name from 'Upper Volta' to Burkina Faso in the 1980s. If English orthography were used (as in Ghana or Nigeria), the spelling would be Wagadugu.[2]

22x20px Burundi:

Bujumbura: Known as Usumbura from c.1680 to 1962.

C[edit | edit source]

22x20px Cambodia:

Phnom Penh (1434-1505 and 1865-present): "Pehn's Hill" in Khmer. Phnom Penh City takes its name from the present Wat Phnom or Hill Temple. Legend has it that in 1372, an old nun named Penh went to fetch the water in the Mekong river and found a dead Koki tree floating down the stream. Inside the hole of that dead Koki tree contained four bronze and one stone Buddha statues in it.
Udong (1505-1515 and 1618-1865): Named after King Uthong. The city's name is derived from the Sanskrit word: उत्तुङ्ग uttuṅga, meaning "supreme."
Lovek (1528-1566 and 1576-1594): Derived from Khmer ល្អូវអែ.្ក, meaning "Intersection" or "Crossroads."
Pursat (15??-1528): Derived from a type of tree. Another theory is that the name "Pursat" is derived from Bodhisattva.
Tuol Basan (1431-1434): Etymology Unknown.
Angkor (802-1431 and 1566-1576): The word Angkor is derived from the Sanskrit nagara (नगर), meaning "city".[18] Angkor is a vernacular form of the word នគរ nokor which comes from the Sanskrit word नगर nagara meaning capital or city.

22x20px Cameroon:

Yaoundé (1922-1940 and 1946-present): The name of Yaoundé is a deformation of the name of the Ewondo, originally

Ethnic groups residing here. Ewondo-speakers call Yaounde easy Ongola

Douala (1916-1922 and 1940-1946): Named after the native Duala people.

22x20px Canada:

Ottawa: Named after the Odawa people whose name probably means "traders." Derived from "aadwe" meaning "to trade" or "to buy and sell."
Kingston (1841-1843): Contraction of "King's Town."
Montreal (1843-1849): Derived from Mont Réal meaning "Mount Royal" in Middle French. (Mont Royal in Modern French)
Toronto (1849-1859): Derived from Iroquois word "tkaronto" meaning "place where trees stand in the water."
Quebec City (1859-1867): Derived from the Algonquin word kébec meaning "where the river narrows."

22x20px Cape Verde:

Praia: "Beach" in portuguese and Cape Verdean Creole. The city was known as Villa de Praia ("Village of the Beach") from 1769 to 1974.
Cidade de Ribeira (1462-1769): "City of Riverside" in Portuguese. The current name is Cidade Velha meaning "Old City." The official name for the city was Ribeira Grande meaning "Large River" in Portuguese.

22x20px Central African Republic:

Bangui: Named after the Ubangi River.
Abiras (1894-1906): Etymology Unknown.
Fort-de-Possel (February 11-December 11, 1906): "Fort of Possel." (Named in honor of René de Possel)
Fort Crampel (1900-1940): Named after Paul Crampel.

22x20px Chad:

N'Djamena: taken from the Arab name of a nearby village, Niǧāmīnā, meaning "place of rest." Known as Fort Lamy (Named after Amédée-François Lamy) from 1900 to September 6, 1973.

22x20px Chile:

Santiago de Chile: "Saint James of Chile"
Valparaíso (Legislative Capital since 1987): Derived from Spanish Valle Paraíso meaning "Paradise Valley."

22x20px China':

Beijing: From Chinese 北京, meaning "Northern Capital" in Chinese.
Nanking (1928-1937): From Chinese 南京, meaning "Southern Capital."
Hankou (1937-1938): From Chinese simplified Chinese: 汉口; traditional Chinese: 漢口; pinyin: Hànkǒu Hànkǒu, meaning "Mouth of the Han." Hankow is the Wade-Giles spelling.
Chungking (1939-1946): From Chinese 重庆/重慶, meaning "Heavy Celebration."

22x20px Colombia:

Bogota: Bogotá was originally called "Bacatá" (which means “planted fields”) by the Muiscas.[19]

22x20px Comoros:

Moroni: "Heart of Fire" in Comorian.
Dzaoudzi (1887-1962)
Chingoni (1841-1887): Named after the Ngoni/Nguni people.

22x20px Republic of the Congo:

Brazzaville: Named after Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza. The town's former name is Nkuna.

22x20px Democratic Republic of the Congo:

Kinshasa: Named for a village named Kinchassa that once stood near the site.

The city's former name is Léopoldville named in honor of King Leopold of Belgium. The city was given that title from 1923 to 1966.

Boma (1886-1923): "Fort" in Kongo.

22x20px Costa Rica:

San José: "Saint Joseph" in Spanish.

22x20px Côte d'Ivoire:

Yamoussoukro: Named after Queen Yamousso.
Abidjan (1934-March 21, 1983; Current Administrative Capital): Supposedly, when the first colonists asked native women the name of the place, the women misunderstood and replied "T'chan m'bi djan": "I've just been cutting leaves"[2].
Bingerville (1900-1934): Named after Louis-Gustave Binger.
Assinie (1889-1893)
Grand Bassam (1843-1889 and 1893-1900): On the origin of the name of Bassam, there are several theories. According

Professor Niangoran Bouah, ethno-sociologist Bassam was not a village, which the the very first capital of the Ivory Coast has given its name. He has two hypotheses for the origin of the word Bassam. On the one hand it could from N'Zima word Bazouam descended, which is a cry for help. One woman had N'Zima he called out to a European, and this meant that it was the name of the place. The second thesis stems from the language of abour. From the word alsam (Abour for: dusk) developed by linguistic Convenience Abassam and later Bassam. Niangoran Bouah tends to the second thesis to attach more weight.

22x20px Croatia:

Zagreb: The name Zagreb appears to have been recorded in 1094, although the origins of the name Zagreb are less clear. The Croatian word "zagrabiti" translates approximately to "scoop", which forms the basis of some legends. One Croat legend says that a Croat ban (viceroy) was leading his thirsty soldiers across a deserted region. He drove his sabre into the ground in frustration and water poured out so he ordered his soldiers to dig for water. The idea of digging or unearthing is supported by scientists who suggest that the settlement was established beyond a water-filled hole or graba and that the name derives from this.[6] Some suggests that the name derives from the term 'za breg' or beyond the hill. The hill may well have been the river bank of the River Sava, which is believed to have previously flowed closer to the city centre. From here, the words may have been fused into one word and, thus, the name Zagreb was born. According to another legend, a city ruler was thirsty and ordered a girl named Manda to take water from Lake Manduševac (nowadays a fountain), using the sentence: "Zagrabi, Mando!" which means, Scoop it, Manda! [7]. A less probable theory is that the name Zagreb is believed to be related to the Zagros mountains of Iran.[8]

The name probably comes from "zagrabiti" (Eng. draw (water)). Conscience According to sources, Zagreb means "behind the mountains" (croat. "za grebom)" [1]. Agram is the historic Austrian German name of the city. That was its official name from 1557 to 1918.

Varazdin (1767-1776): Derived from the Croatian phrase Varaždinske Toplice meaning "Thermal Spas."
Knin (925-10??): Etymology unknown and disputed.
Nin (625-925): The German name is Fleissenberg meaning "Castle of Diligence."

22x20px Cuba:

Havana: of obscure origin, possibly derived from Habaguanex, a native American chief who controlled that area, as mentioned by Diego Velasquez in his report to the king of Spain.
Baracoa (1511-1514)
Santiago de Cuba (1514-1589): Saint James of Cuba.

22x20px Cyprus:

Nicosia: Mispronunciation of the city's Greek name Λευκωσία Lefkosia and its Turkish name Lefkoşa; both of which mean "White City. "

22x20px Czech Republic:

Prague: The name Prague comes from an old Slavic root, praga, which means “ford”, referring to the city's origin at a crossing of the Vltava River.

The native name of the city, Praha, is also related to the modern Czech word práh ("threshold"). A legendary etymology connects the name of the city with duchess Libuše, prophetess and a wife of mythical founder of the Přemyslid dynasty. She is said to have ordered "the city to be built where a man hews a threshold of his house". Czech práh shall be understood here as to be in the river, rapids or cataract: its edge as a passage to the other riverside. Contrarily, although there are a few weirs nowadays, there was not discovered any such geological threshold in the river under the Prague Castle. Thus some derive the name Praha from the stone of the hill, where the original castle was built: na prazě, the original term for shale rock. (In those days, there were forests around the castle, on the nine hills of the future city: the Old Town on the other riverbank as well as the Lesser Town underneath the castle appeared later.)[7]

D[edit | edit source]

22x20px Denmark:

Copenhagen: Derived from the city's Danish name København, which means "Merchant's Harbor" in Danish.
Roskilde (?-1443): Named after King Roar.

22x20px Djibouti:

Djibouti: Named after the bottom point of the Gulf of Tadjoura. Possibly derived from the Afar word gabouti, a type of doormat made of palm fibres. Another plausible, but unproven, etymology is that "Djibouti" means "Land of Tehuti" or Land of Thoth, after the Egyptian Moon God.
Obock (1862-April 1892): The original name of the place is denominated in Afar Ḥáyyu or Ḥayyú ( "enough") and

refers to the previously existing mangroves, which in times of drought, the Survival of the camels secured. 1862 France Obock purchased from local Sultans of the Afar, into the place a Bekohlungsstation for vessels errichten. Thus began the colonization of present-day Djibouti. The French captured by Arab seafarers used for identification Oboḫ is derived from 'As Ōbóki, a designation for the middle Section of Oued Dár'i. Obock was first capital of the Territoire d'Obock, but since the water was difficult in this place, made the Colonial administration in 1881 Djibouti city as its new center.

22x20px Dominica:

Roseau: "Reed" in French.
Portsmouth (1765-1768): Named after Portsmouth, United Kingdom.

22x20px Dominican Republic:

Santo Domingo de Guzman: Named after a saint of the same name. Known as Ciudad Trujillo (named after Rafael Trujillo) from 1930 to 1961.
La Isabela (1493-1496): "The Elizabeth" in Spanish.

E[edit | edit source]

22x20px East Timor:

Lifau (1695-October 10, 1769)
Solor (1642-1695)

22x20px Ecuador:

Quito: Named after the Quitu tribe. The name is a combination of two Tsafiki words: "Quitso" ("center") and "To" ("the world"); hence therefore "Quito" probably means "center of the world."
Riobamba (November 4, 1859-January 12, 1960): The Rio part of the name means "River" and the Bamba part of the name has an unknown meaning.

22x20px Egypt:

Cairo: From Arabic القاهرة‎ al-Qāhira, meaning "The Victorious."
al-Fustat (905-969): The city's name comes from the Arabic word fusṭāṭ (فسطاط) which means a large tent or pavilion. According to tradition, the location of Fustat was chosen by a bird: A dove laid an egg in the tent of 'Amr ibn al-'As, the Muslim conqueror of Egypt, just before he was to march on Alexandria. His camp at that time was just north of the Roman fortress of Babylon.[3][4] Amr declared this as a sign from God, and the tent was left untouched as he and his troops went off to battle. When they returned victorious, Amr told his soldiers to pitch their tents around his, giving his new capital city its name, Miṣr al-Fusṭāṭ, or Fusṭāṭ Miṣr,[5] popularly translated as "City of the tents", though this is not an exact translation. The word Miṣr was an ancient Semitic root designating Egypt, but in Arabic also has the meaning of a large city or metropolis (or, as a verb, "to civilize"), so the name Miṣr al-Fusṭāṭ could mean "Metropolis of the Tent". Fusṭāṭ Miṣr would mean "The Pavilion of Egypt".[6] Egyptians to this day call Cairo "Miṣr", or, colloquially, Maṣr, even though this is properly the name of the whole country of Egypt.[7] The country's first Islamic mosque, the Mosque of Amr, was later built on the same site of the commander's tent, in 642.[2][5]
al-Qatta'i (868-905): From Arabic القطائـع , meaning "The Quarters" in Arabic.
al-'Askar (750-868 AD): From Arabic العسكر, meaning "The Guard" or "The Soldier."
Alexandria (332 BC-641 AD): Named after Alexander the Great.

22x20px El Salvador:

San Salvador: "Holy Savior" in Spanish, referring to Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

22x20px Equatorial Guinea:

Malabo: Probably named after Pool Malebo. Malebo's name is the plural of lilebo and means Borassus([[Borassus

flabellifer]]), a large palm tree that sported plenty shores and islands of Pool. Pool is an English word and means "basin" and sometimes "lake". The city was known as Santa Isabel (Saint Elizabeth) from 1855 to 1979 and Port Clarence from 1827 to 1855.

Bata: "Possibly" from Spanish "bata" meaning "gown." (1959-1963)

22x20px Eritrea:

Asmara/Asmera: "Live in Peace" in Tigre.
Massawa (1890-1935)

22x20px Estonia:

Tallinn: Tallinn in Estonian and German Reval. It is the capital of Estonia. For

generally believed to be derived from taani-linn (meaning "Danish castle") after the Danes built the castle in place of the Lindanisse Estonian stronghold. However, it also could have come from tali-linn ( 'winter castle'), or talu-linn ( 'home-castle and the city '). See Tallinn#Toponymy

22x20px Ethiopia:

Addis Ababa: From Amharic ኣዲስ ኣበባ, meaning "New Flower."
Entoto (1880-1889): Named after Mount Entoto.
Magdala (1855-1880): (from Aramaic מגדלא Magdala, meaning "elegent," "great," or "magnificent"; and Hebrew מגדל Migdal, meaning "tower"; Arabic قرية الممجدل, Qaryat Al Majdal)
Gonder (1636-1855): Etymology unknown.
Danqaz (?-1636): Etymology unknown
Tegulat (1270-?): Etymology Unknown
Lalibela (11??-12??): From Amharic ላሊበላ, meaning "A person who talks too much."[20]
Nazaret (????-????): Named after Nazareth, Israel.
Axum (250-?): Etymology unknown.

F[edit | edit source]

22x20px Fiji:

Suva: Etymology Unknown
Levuka (1871-1877): Probably meaning "Little Island" in Fijian.

22x20px Finland:

Helsinki: from Old Norse Helsingfors (Helsing, a local tribe, plus fors meaning "waterfall")
Turku (?-1812): Its name originated from an Old East Slavic word, tǔrgǔ, meaning "market place".

22x20px France:

Paris: Named after the Parisii tribe.
Vichy (1940-1944): The etymology of Vichy is challenged by 4 assumptions 16:

Celtic (Virtue water) with Which (under or Gwich'in) and y (water). Vicus calidus the Romans (with subsequent deformation of Vicus). Name Gallo-Roman Vipiacus (Vipius field), moving to phonetically Middle age VICHIACUS, and Vichy. Vici Latin plural for a group of villages: the c is pronounced ch and then match them to practice writing a replacement for one final i by y. This is the simplest explanation and plausible, advanced by Louis Nadeau in 1869.

G[edit | edit source]

22x20px Gabon:

Libreville: "Free town" in French.
Fort d'Aumale (1843-1849): "Fort of Aumale" in French.

22x20px Gambia:

Banjul: Banjul takes it name from the Mandé people who gathered specific fibres on the island which were used in the manufacture of ropes. Bang julo is the mandinka (mande) word for fibre. The mispronounciation led to the word Banjul. Banjul is the Mande word for fibre. The city was known as Bathurst (named in honor of Henry Bathurst) from 1816-Aoril 14, 1973.
Fort James (1661-1765): Named in honor of King James II of England.

22x20px Georgia:

Tbilisi: From Georgian თბილისი, meaning "Warm Springs" or "Warm Location."

22x20px Germany:

Berlin: The name Berlin is of unknown origin, but may be related to the Old Polabian stem berl-/birl- "swamp".[21]

22x20px Ghana:

Accra: The word Accra is derived from the word Nkran meaning "ants" in Akan, a reference to the numerous anthills seen in the countryside around Accra.
Osu (1874-1877)
Cape Castle (1664-1874)
Kormantin/Abanze (1621-1664)

22x20px Greece:

Athens: Named after Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom.
Nauplion (1821-1836): Derived from Greek Ναύπλιον, which is a combination of two Greek words: Ναυλος = freight + πλιο = ship.

22x20px Grenada:

Saint George's: "belonging to Saint George."

22x20px Guatemala:

Guatemala City: The origin of the name "Guatemala" is unclear, but several theories exist. "Guatemala" may mean "land of the trees" in the Maya-Toltec language. Another theory is that it comes from the Nahuatl expression "Quauhtitlan", meaning "between the trees". Quauhtitlan was the name the Tlaxcaltecan soldiers who accompanied Pedro de Alvarado during the Spanish Conquest gave to this territory. Lastly, there is a theory that it is the Spanish corruption of a Nahoa word coactmoct-lan, meaning "land of the snake-eating bird".[22]
Neuva Guatemala de la Asunción (1775-1821): "New Guatemala of the Assumption" in Spanish.
Saintiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala (1527-1775): "Saint James of the Cowboys of Guatemala" in Spanish.
Tecpán Guatemala (1524-1527): Derived from its native name Tecpán Quauhtemalan. Tecpan is derived from Nahuatl: teltl (stone) and pan (about) that is exoressed on a whole stone. The name could also be derived from tecutli (lord) and the locative pan (above), which jointly traslates as: "Where you live, lord." Quahtemalan translates as "between the trees."

22x20px Guinea:

Conakry: According to a legend, the name of the city comes from the fusion of the name "Cona", a wine and cheese producer of the Baga people, and the word "nakiri", which means in Sosso the other bank or side.[3]

Saint Louis, Senegal (1849–1891): Named after a saint of the same name. The city's Wolof name is Ndar.

22x20px Guinea-Bissau:

Boe (1973-1974)
Bolama (1879-1942)

22x20px Guyana:

Georgetown: Named after King George III. The city was known as Stabroek from 1784 to May 5, 1812.

H[edit | edit source]

22x20px Haiti:

Port-au-Prince (1749-1793 and 1804-present): "Port to the Prince" in French.
Port-Républicain (1793-1804): "Republican Port" in French.
Port de Paix (1749-1793): "Port of Peace" in French.
Tortue (1641-1676): "Turtle" or "Tortoise" in French.

22x20px Honduras:

Tegucigalpa: On behalf of Tegucigalpa has not yet determined its exact meaning.

The most widespread version is that it comes from the Nahuatl Teguz-Galp, which means "silver hills" but it is difficult to sustain as the natives were ignorant the existence of minerals in the area. In the discussion on the origin of the word has promoted Tegucigalpa Guatemalan researcher, Favio N. Rhodes, and have recently contributed application where two Mexican students, graduates J. Ignacio Davila Garibi and Alfredo Barrera Vásquez. There are two important facts in this etymological problem: the term Togogalpa, refers to "tototi" (a green parakeet, in Nahuatl) and Toncontín, town not far from Tegucigalpa (the "Toncontín" is a Mexican dance Nahuatl origin that was used in the seventeenth century Baroque theater). In Mexico they have the belief that the word is originally Tegucigalpa Nahua of Tecuztlicallipan, or "place of residence of the noble" or Tecuhtzincalpan to "place on the home of the beloved master. In the book "Native Toponimias Central America, the Honduran flilólogo Alberto Membreño (which is actually a reissue of two of his works, written between 1901 and 1908), the author argues that Tegucigalpa is a word Nahuatl meaning "in the houses of the sharp stones, and discards completely the traditional meaning of "mountain of silver." Membreño clarifies moreover, Taguzgalpa is the name given formerly the eastern Honduras. It Taguzgalpa region in colonial times, included today's department of Gracias a Dios, and part of the departments of Olancho, Colon and El Paraiso.

Comayagua (1573-1824, alternate until October 30, 1880): Comayagua's name derives from the indigenous language 'Lenca' which means "Moor of abundant water."
Gracias a Dios (15441549): "Thanks to God" in Spanish.
Trujillo (1525-1544 and 1549-1573): Named after Trujilo, Spain.

22x20px Hungary:

Budapest: Hungarian capital, formed 1872 from merger of two cities on opposite shores of the Danube, Buda (probably from a word originally meaning "water" from the slavic voda word) + Pest, a Slavic name meaning "furnace, oven, cove" (cf. Rus. Печь pech').[23] The city was known as Pest-Buda from 1848 to 1873.
Szekesfehervar and Esztergom (1000-1256): The name Székesfehérvár means "white castle with the chair/seat" and the city is known by translations of this in other languages (Latin: Alba Regia, German: Stuhlweißenburg, Slovak: Stoličný Belehrad, Serbian: Стони Београд Stoni Beograd, Croatian: Stolni Biograd, Slovene: Stolni Belograd, Czech: Stoličný Bělehrad, Polish: Białogród Stołeczny or Białogród Królewski, Turkish: İstolni Belgrad). In Hungarian, the city is known colloquially as Fehérvár.

The word szék (meaning "seat" as "throne") is related to its important role in the first centuries of the Kingdom of Hungary: székhely means a (royal) residence, center. In accordance of the obligation from the Doctrine of the Holy Crown, the first kings of Hungary were crowned and buried here. The Roman town was called Solva. The name Esztergom was first mentioned in documents in 1079. Some think the name comes from Isztergam ('Ister' meaning Danube and Gam referring to the nearby river Garam). The town is the seat of Etzel / Attila in the Niebelungenlied as Gran (German: Gran (help·info)). In Croatian Ostrogon, in Polish Ostrzyhom, in Slovak Ostrihom, in Medieval Latin Strigonium, in Turkish Estergon. Interestingly, ca. 1250, the town was known to Germans as Österheim[1]; another hypothesis could see a similar-sounding original earlier name of Germanic origin, later to be Magyarized in Esztergom.

Buda (1265-1536): The name Buda takes its name from the name of Bleda the Hun ruler, whose name is also Buda in Hungarian.[1][2][3] More liley origin oth the name is the variant of the word voda, meaning water in slavic languages as per the Roman name for Buda was Aquincum ("aqua" means "water" in Latin.)
Poszony (1536-1848): See Bratislava below.

I[edit | edit source]

22x20px Iceland:

Reykjavik: "Smoky Bay" in Icelandic.
Bessastadir (1262-1786): The city is named after Sigurður Jónasson Bessastaðir who bought the city in 1940 and donated it in 1941.
Thingvellir (meeting site of Althing 930-1800): "Parliament Meadows" In Icelandic.

22x20px India:

New Delhi: See Delhi below.
Delhi (1192-1327, 1344-1501, and 1648-1858): The etymology of "Delhi" is uncertain, but many possibilities exist. The most common view is that its eponym is Dhillu or Dilu, a king of the Mauryan dynasty, who built the city in 50 BCE and named it after himself.[11][12][13] The Hindi/Prakrit word dhili ("loose") was used by the Tuar Rajputs to refer to the city because the Iron Pillar built by Raja Dhava had a weak foundation and was replaced.[13] The coins in circulation in the region under the Rajputs were called dehliwal.[14] Some other historians believe that the name is derived from Dilli, a corruption of dehleez or dehali—Hindi for 'threshold'—and symbolic of city as a gateway to the Indo-Gangetic Plains.[15] Another theory suggests that the city's original name was Dhillika.[16]
Daulatabad (1327-1344) (Marathi दौलताबाद; Persian دولت‌آباد meaning “City of Prosperity”)
Agra (1501-1540): Derived from Sanskrit Agrevaṇa (अग्रेवण), or 'the border of the forest'. The name was first mentioned in the epic Mahabharata.
Fatehpur Sikri (1570-1585): The name, Fateh is Arabic in origin and means "victory", also in Urdu and Persian language. The name means "City of Victory."
Lahore (1585-1599; now in Pakistan): A legend based on oral traditions holds that Lahore, known in ancient times as लाहोर Lavapuri (City of Lava in Sanskrit),[7] was founded by Prince Lava,[8] the son of Rama, while Kasur was founded by his twin brother Prince Kusha.[9] To this day, Lahore Fort has a vacant temple dedicated to Lava (also pronounced Loh, hence Loh-awar or "The Fort of Loh").[10]
Ajmer (1613-1616): Derived from Sanskrit अजय-मेरु meaning "Invincible Spine."

British India

Calcutta (1774-December 12, 1911): The name Kolkata and the anglicised name Calcutta have their roots in Kalikata, the name of one of the three villages (Kalikata, Sutanuti, Govindapur) in the area before the arrival of the British.[6] "Kalikata", in turn, is believed to be a version of Kalikshetra (কালীক্ষেত্র, "Land of [the goddess] Kali"). Alternatively, the name may have been derived from the Bengali term kilkila ("flat area").[7] Again, the name may have its origin in the indigenous term for a natural canal, Khal, followed by Katta (which may mean dug).[8] Another theory is that the place used to specialize in quicklime (kalicun) and coir rope (kátá) and hence the place was called Kalikátá.[9]

While the city's name was always pronounced "Kolkata" or "Kolikata" in the local Bengali language, its official English name was changed from "Calcutta" to "Kolkata" in 2001, reflecting the Bengali pronunciation. Some view this as a move to erase the legacy of British rule.[10] This change has not always been reflected by overseas media, but news sources like the BBC have opted to call Bombay Mumbai[11] and Calcutta Kolkata.[12]

Simla (Summer Capital 1911-1947): Named after the Hindu Goddess Shyamala Devi.

22x20px Indonesia:

Jakarta: The city's name is derived from the Sanskrit word "Jayakarta" (जयकर्) which translates as "victorious deed," "complete act,"or "complete victory." The city was known as Djakarta from August 17, 1945 to 1971 and Batavia from 1619 to August 1945 and from 1947 December 1949. Batavia is named after a region in Holland which was named after the Batavitribe who inhabited that area.[24]
Yogyakarta (January 1946-August 1950): The city's name is of Sanskrit origin. Derived from Sanskrit: योग्य जय कर्ता meaning "Sufficient Victorious Deed."

22x20px Iran:

Tehran: Derived from Persian طهران (Tehrān) meaning "modern."
Shiraz (1750-1788): The earliest reference to the city is on Elamite clay tablets dated to 2000 BC, found in June 1970, while digging to make a kiln for a brick factory in the south western corner of the city. The tablets written in ancient Elamite name a city called Tiraziš.[11] Phonetically, this is interpreted as /tiračis/ or /ćiračis/. This name became Old Persian /širājiš/; through regular sound change comes the modern Persian name Shirāz. The name Shiraz also appears on clay sealings found at a 2nd century AD Sassanid ruin, east of the city. By some of the native writers, the name Shiraz has derived from a son of Tahmuras, the third Shāh (King) of the world according to Ferdowsi's Shāhnāma.[12]
Mashhad (مشهد) (1750-1736): literally the place of martyrdom in Persian.
Isfahan (1598-1736): Derived from Persian نصف-ا-جهان Nesf-e-Jahan meaning "half the world."
Qazvin (1548-1598): Derived from the word کس Cas meaning "people".
Tabriz (1295-1305 and 1469-1538): According to some sources,[6] including Encyclopædia Britannica,[7] the name Tabriz derives from "tap-riz" ("causing heat to flow" in Iranian languages), from the many thermal springs in the area. Other sources[8][9] claim that in AD 246, to avenge his brother's death, king Khosraw I of Armenia defeated Ardashir I of the Sassanid Empire and changed the name of the city from Shahistan to Tauris, deriving from "ta-vrezh" ("this revenge" in Grabar). In AD 297, it became the capital of Tiridates III, king of Armenia.[10] However, this story has popular origin and no ancient source has recorded such event. This is based on accounts of Vardan, the Armenian historian in 14th century.[11]

22x20px Iraq:

Baghdad (بغداد): "Given by God" in Arabic and Persian. There have been several rival proposals as to its specific etymology. The most reliable and most widely accepted among these is that the name is a Persian compound of Bağ "garden" + dād "fair", translating to "The fair Garden",[25][26] or Persian compound of Bag "god" + dād "given", translating to "God-given" or "God's gift", whence Modern Persian Baɣdād. This in turn can be traced to Old Persian and Sanskrit Bhaagadata. Another leading proposal is that the name comes from Middle Persian Bāgh-dād "The Given Garden". The name is pre-Islamic and the origins are unclear, but it is related to previous settlements, which did not have any political or commercial power, making it a virtually new foundation in the time of the Abbasids. Mansur called the city “Madinat as-Salam”, or “City of Peace”, as a reference to paradise. This was the official name on coins, weights, and other things.

22x20px Ireland:

Dublin: Derived from Irish "Dubb Linn" meaning "Black pool." The city's native name Baile Átha Cliath means "Town of the Hurdled Ford."

22x20px Israel:

Jerusalem: via Latin Hierosolyma and Greek Ἱεροσόλυμα/ Ιερουσαλήμ Hierousalem, ultimately from Hebrew יְרוּשָׁלַיִם Yerushaláyim meaning "abode of peace." Derived froma compound of two Semitic base words: yarah ("y-r-h") "he threw, cast"+shalom ("s-l-m") "peace."[27]
Tel Aviv(1948-January 23, 1950): From Hebrew תֵּל־אָבִיב, meaning "Spring Mound"in Hebrew. The city's full name is Tel Aviv-Yafo (Hebrew: תֵּל־אָבִיב-יָפוֹ; Arabic: تل أبيب‎, Tall ʼAbīb). The name Tel Aviv (literally "Spring Mound") was chosen in 1910 from among many suggestions, including "Herzliya". Tel Aviv is the Hebrew title of Theodor Herzl's book Altneuland ("Old New Land"), translated from German by Nahum Sokolow. Sokolow took the name from Ezekiel 3:15: "Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel Aviv, that lived by the river Chebar, and to where they lived; and I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days."[28] This name was found fitting as it embraced the idea of the renaissance of the ancient Jewish homeland. Aviv is Hebrew for "spring", symbolizing renewal, and tel is an archaeological site that reveals layers of civilization built one over the other.[29] Theories vary about the etymology of Jaffa or Yafo in Hebrew. Some believe that the name derives from yafah or yofi, Hebrew for "beautiful" or "beauty". Another tradition is that Japheth, son of Noah, founded the city and that it was named for him. The name is also transliterated as Tel-Abib in the King James Bible.

22x20px Italy:

Rome: The legendary origin of the city's name is the traditional founder and first ruler. It is said that Romulus and Remus decided to build a city. After an argument, Romulus killed his brother Remus. Then he named it after himself, Rome. More recently, attempts have been made to find a linguistic root for the name Rome. Possibilities include derivation from Greek language Ῥώμη meaning bravery, courage;[30] possibly the connection is with a root *rum-, "teat", with possible reference to the totem wolf that adopted and suckled the cognately named twins Romulus and Remus. Etruscan gives us the word Rumach, "from Rome", from which Ruma can be extracted. Its further etymology, as with that of most Etruscan words, remains unknown. The Basque scholar Manuel de Larramendi thought that the origin could be related to the Basque language word orma (modern Basque kirreal), "wall".
Brindisi (September 9, 1943-February 1944): The Latin name Brundisium comes from the Greek Brentesion (Βρεντήσιον) meaning "deer's head", which refers to the shape of the natural harbor.
Florence (165-December 1, 1870): Derived from "Florentia" meaning "the flourishing" in Latin.
Turin (1861-1865): Named after the Taurini people. Their name could be derived from Taurus meaning "the bull" or from the Celtic verb tau meaning "mountain."

J[edit | edit source]

22x20px Jamaica: Kingston: "King's Town"

Spanish Town (1692–1872): Known as Santiago de la Vega (Literally: Saint James, son of Zebedee from the fertile plain) from 1535 to 1655.

Port Royal (1655–1692)

Sevilla la Nueva (1510–1523): "New Seville" in Spanish. Seville is derived from the Arabic name Išbīliya (إشبيلية), which is derived from Hispalis, the name the Romans gave to the city.

22x20px Japan:

Tokyo: From Japanese 東京 meaning "Eastern Capital."
Kyoto (794-September 3, 1868): From Japanese 京都 meaning "Capital City."

22x20px Jordan:

Amman: "Place of Tremors."

K[edit | edit source]

22x20px Kazakhstan:

Astana: From Kazakh Астана, meaning "Capital City." .
Aqmola (1997-May 6, 1998): Aqmola or Akmola (in Kazakh language: Ақмола) means the white burial.
Almaty (1993-December 10, 1997): The name "Almaty" derives from the Kazakh word for "apple" (алма), and thus is often translated as "full of apples". The older Soviet-era Russian version of its name, Alma-Ata, originates from the saint's tomb, buried in an apple orchard, whence the name, "Saint of the Apple (orchard)" or "Father of Apples".[citation needed] "Ata" standing for father in Kazakh and many other Turkic languages, also stands for a saint or a priest, as the term "padre" in the Romance languages. The old name for the new capital of Kazakhstan, Astana was Akmolinsk/Akmola--, "White Shrine/Mausoleum", a reference to another saint's burial ground.

In fact, in the region surrounding Almaty, there is a great genetic diversity among the wild apples; the region is thought to be the ancestral home of the apple, and the wild Malus sieversii, is considered a likely candidate for the ancestor of the modern domestic apple. The area is often visited by researchers and scientists from around the world in order to learn more about the complex systems of genetics, and also to discover the true beginnings of the domestic apple.

Orenburg (1919-1924; now in Russia): "fortress near the Or."
Kzyl-Orda (1925-1929): Kyzylorda was founded in 1820 as a Kokand fortress of Ak-Mechet (also spelt Aq Masjid, Aq Mechet, 'white mosque'). Yaqub Beg was the fort's commander until it was taken by the Russian troops of General Vasily Alekseevich Perovsky in 1853. The Russians renamed the fort Fort Perovsky (Russian: Форт Перовский,1853-1867). Since 1867, it was city of Perovsk (Russian: Перовск); since 1922, Ak-Mechet (Ак-Мечеть) again. In 1925, the city became Kzzyl-Orda, from Kazakh Қызы qyzyl 'red' and лорда orda 'center', 'capital city'.

22x20px Kenya:

Nairobi: The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is surrounded by several expanding villa suburbs.[31] The name could also be derived from Masai: Ewaso Nyirobi meaning "fresh water."
Mombasa (1888-1895): The original Arabic name is منبعثة Manbasa;[citation needed] in Swahili it is called Kisiwa Cha Mvita (or Mvita for short), which means "Island of War", due to the many changes in its ownership.

22x20px Kiribati:

Butaritari (1897-January 27, 1916)
Tapiri (January 17, 1916-1925)
Bairiki (1945-July 12, 1976)


Pyongyang: From Korean 평양, meaning "Flat Land."
Sinuiju (October 21, 1950-1950): From Korean 신의주, meaning “New Ŭiju.”
Kanggye (1950-1953): From Korean 강계시, meaning "River City Total."


Seoul: From Korean 서울, meaning "Capital." The city has been known in the past by the names Wirye-seong (위례성; 慰禮城, Baekje era), Hanju (한주; 漢州, Silla era), Namgyeong (남경; 南京, Goryeo era), Hanseong (한성; 漢城, Baekje and Joseon era), Hanyang (한양; 漢陽, Joseon era), Gyeongseong (경성; 京城, Japanese occupation era).[17] Its current name originated from the Korean word meaning "capital city," which is believed to be derived from Seorabeol (서라벌; 徐羅伐), which originally referred to Gyeongju, the capital of Silla.[18]

Unlike most place names in Korea, "Seoul" has no corresponding hanja (Chinese characters used in the Korean language). The recently chosen Chinese name for Seoul is 首尔 (simplified), 首爾 (traditional) (Shǒuěr), which sounds somewhat similar to "Seoul" when pronounced in Mandarin Chinese.[19] See Names of Seoul

Daegu (June 28-July 20, 1950): From Korean 대구, meaning "Cod" or "Haddock."
Pusan (July 20, 1950-1952): From Korean 부산, meaning "Shell Mountain" in Korean.

22x20px Kosovo:

Pristina: The name of the city is derived from a Slavic form *Prišьčь, a possessive adjective from the personal name *Prišьkъ, (preserved in the Kajkavian surname Prišek, in the Old Polish personal name Przyszek, and in the Polish surname Przyszek) and the derivational suffix -ina 'belonging to X and his kin'. The name is most likely a patronymic of the personal name *Prišь, preserved as a surname in Polish Przysz and Sorbian Priš, a hypochoristic of the Slavic personal name Pribyslavъ[3]. A false etymology connects the name Priština with Serbo-Croatian prišt (пришт), meaning 'ulcer' or 'tumour', referring to its 'boiling'[4]. However, this explanation cannot be correct, as Slavic place names ending in -ina corresponding to an adjective and/or name of an inhabitant lacking this suffix are built from personal names or denote a person and never derive, under these conditions, from common nouns (SNOJ 2007: loc. cit.). The inhabitants of this city are called Prishtinali or Prishtinas in Albanian; in standard Serbian they are called Prištinci (Приштинци) or Prištevci (Приштевци) in the local dialect.

22x20px Kuwait:

Kuwait City: Its name may have derived from an earlier abandoned fort located there, called "Kūt" (كوت) - Arabic for a fortress by the sea.

Kadhima (August 28, 1990-February 26, 1991)

22x20px Kyrgyzstan:

Bishkek: The name is thought to derive from a Kyrgyz word for a churn used to make fermented mare's milk (kumis), the Kyrgyz national drink. Founded in 1825 as the Kyrgyz-Khokand fortress of ""Bishkek", then, in 1862, named as the Russian fortress Pishpek (крепость Пишпек)[32], between 1926 and 1991 it was known as Frunze (Фрунзе), after the Bolshevik military leader Mikhail Frunze. The historic name of the city was restored by the Kyrgyz parliament in 1991.

L[edit | edit source]

22x20px Laos:

Vientiane: French pronunciation of its Lao name ວຽງຈັນ Viang-Chang meaning "City of Sandalwood."
Luang Prabang (Royal Capital 1945-1947): From Lao ຫລວງພະບາງ Luaang-Pha'baang, meaning "Royal Buddha Image" (in the Dispelling Fear Mudra).

22x20px Latvia:

Riga: One theory for the origin of the name Riga is that it is a corrupted borrowing from the Liv ringa meaning loop, referring to the ancient natural harbour formed by the tributary loop of the Daugava.[33][34] The other is that Riga owes its name to this already-established role in commerce between East and West,[35] as a borrowing of the Latvian rija, for warehouse, the "j" becoming a "g" in German — notably, Riga is called Rie by English geographer Richard Hakluyt (1589),[36][37] and German historian Dionysius Fabricius (1610) confirms the origin of Riga from rija[36][38]. Another theory could be that Riga was named after Riege, the German name for the River Rīdzene, a tributary of the Daugava.

22x20px Lebanon:

Beirut: Derived from Hebrew ביירות, lit. "the wells," from בארות "be'erot," plural of בְּאֵר "be'er" ("well"). Cognate with the Phoenician word 𐤁𐤄𐤓'𐤏𐤕 "Ber'ot" meaning "fountain." [39]

22x20px Lesotho:

Maseru: "Place of the Red Sandstone" in Sesotho.[40]
Thaba Bosiu (July 1824-March 11, 1969): "Mountain of Night" in Sesotho.
Butha-Buthe (1822-1824): "City of Lying Down" in Sesotho.

22x20px Liberia:

Monrovia: Named after James Monroe.

Thompson Town (1821–1824)

22x20px Libya:

Tripoli: Derived from Τρίπολη/Τρίπολις; meaning "Three Cities" in Greek.
Benghazi (co-capital 1951-1972): Named after the Benfactor Ghazi.

22x20px Liechtenstein:

Vaduz: Vaduz was first mentioned in 1150. The name of Vaduz is either Romanesque

Origin (avadutg = "Water, from Latin aquaeductus) or developed from Valdutsch - from Latin. vallis (= "Valley"), and Highdutch.: diutisk (= "German"). Since the mid-14th Century was the seat of the Counts of Vaduz Castle Vaduz. 1719, the County of Vaduz and Schellenberg were under the name of the imperial principality of Liechtenstein. 1723 it was established and vote in the Reichstag.

22x20px Lithuania:

Vilnius (1323-1919, 1919-1920, and 1939-present): Named after the Vilnia River. The name of the river derives from the Lithuanian language word vilnis ("a surge"); verb vilnyti ("to surge").
Kaunas (1920-1939): The city's name is of Lithuanian origins and most likely derives from a personal name.[41]
Voruta (c.1251): "Castle" in Lithuanian.

22x20px Luxembourg:

Luxembourg-Ville: From Celtic Lucilem "small" (cognate to English "little") and Germanic burg: "castle", thus lucilemburg: "little castle". Luxembourg and Liechtenstein are the only German-speaking former Holy Roman Empire duchies not assimilated by the countries Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

M[edit | edit source]

22x20px Macedonia:

Skopje: The name of Skopje derives from an ancient name that is attested in antiquity as Latin Scupi, the name of a classical era Greco-Roman frontier fortress town[42]. It may go back further to a pre-Greek, Illyrian name.[43] In modern times, the city was known by its Turkish name Üsküp (Ottoman Turkish: اسكوب) during the time of Ottoman rule and the Serbian form Skoplje during the time of the First Yugoslavia between 1912 and the 1940s. Since the 1950s, the official name of the city in Macedonian has been Skopje (Скопје), reflecting the Macedonian Cyrillic orthography for the local pronunciation. The city is called Shkup or Shkupi in Albanian, Skopie (Скопие) in Bulgarian and Skopia (Σκόπια) in Greek.

22x20px Madagascar:

Antananarivo: "City of the Thousand" from the number of soldiers assigned to guard it. The name was given to the city by King Adrianjaka. Known as Tananarive from 1630 to December 30, 1975. Tananarive serves as the city's French name and is still in use today.

22x20px Malawi:

Lilongwe: Named after the Lilongwe River.
Zomba (1889-January 1, 1975)

22x20px Malaysia:

Kuala Lumpur (كوالا لومڤور): "Muddy Confluence" in Malay. The Original name for this city was "Pengkalan Lumpur", which means bundle of mud.
Putrajaya (administrative capital since 2002): Named after the first Malaysian Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra the city is situated within the Multimedia Super Corridor, beside the also newly developed Cyberjaya. The development started in 1995 and today major landmarks are completed and the population is expected to grow in the relatively new city. The "jaya" (जय) part of the city's name means "victory" in Sanskrit.

22x20px Maldives:

Malé: Derived from Sanskrit महालय Mahaalay meaning "Big House".

22x20px Mali:

Bamako: "Crocodile River" in Bambara.[44]
Kayes (1880-1908): The name "Kayes" comes from the Soninké word "karré," which describes a low humid place that floods in rainy season.
Dakar (1959-1960; now in Senegal): See Dakar below.

22x20px Malta:

Valletta: The city is named for Jean Parisot de la Valette, who succeeded in defending the island from an Ottoman invasion in 1565.
Mdina (?-1566): Derived from Arabic مدينة "Medina" meaning "Old Town."

22x20px Marshall Islands:


22x20px Mauritania:

Nouakchott: Believed to have been derived from Berber Nawākšūṭ meaning "The place of the winds".
Saint Louis, Senegal (1903-1960)

22x20px Mauritius:

Port Louis: Named after King Louis XV.
Port-Napoléon (1806-1810): Named after Napoleon Bonaparte.
Port-de-la-Montagne (1792-1795): "Port of the Mountain" in French.

22x20px Mexico:

Mexico City: See Toponymy of Mexico.

22x20px Federated States of Micronesia:

Colonia (1887-November 4, 1889): Named after Cologne, Germany.

22x20px Moldova:

Chisinau: According to one version, the name comes from the archaic Romanian word chişla (meaning "spring", "source of water") and nouă ("new"), because it was built around a small spring. Nowadays, the spring is located at the corner of Pushkin and Albişoara streets.[1]

22x20px Monaco:

Monaco-Ville: Monaco's name comes from the nearby Phocaean Greek colony, in the 6th century. Referred to the Ligurians as Monoikos, from the Greek μόνοικος "single house", from μόνος "alone, single" + οίκος "house", which bears the sense of a people either settled in a "single habitation" or of "living apart" from others. Another Greek word etymologically related to the name of this principality is μόνaκος which means "alone" from which the word monastery and monasticism are derived. According to an ancient myth, Hercules passed through the Monaco area and turned away the previous gods. As a result, a temple was constructed there, the temple of Hercules Monoikos. Because the only temple of this area was the "House" of Hercules, the city was called Monoikos.[6]

22x20px Mongolia:

Ulaanbaatar: From Mongolian Улаанбаатар, ᠤᠯᠠᠭᠠᠨ ᠪᠠᠭᠠᠲᠤᠷ, meaning "The Red Hero." Ulan Bator has had numerous names in its history. From 1639–1706, it was known as Örgöö (also spelled Urga) (Mongolian: Өргөө, residence), and from 1706–1911 as Ikh Khüree (Mongolian: Их = "great", Хүрээ = "camp"), Da Khüree (also spelled Da Khure) or simply Khüree. Upon independence in 1911, with both the secular government and the Bogd Khan's palace present, the city's name changed to Niislel Khüree (Mongolian: Нийслэл = "capital", Хүрээ = "camp").

When the city became the capital of the new Mongolian People's Republic in 1924, its name was changed to Ulaanbaatar (Улаанбаатар, classical script: , Ulaɣan Baɣatur), literally "red hero"), in honor of Mongolia's national hero Damdin Sükhbaatar, whose warriors, shoulder-to-shoulder with the Soviet Red Army, liberated Mongolia from Ungern von Sternberg's troops and Chinese occupation. His statue still adorns Ulan Bator's central square. In Europe and North America, Ulan Bator was generally known as Urga (from Örgöö) or sometimes Kuren (from Khüree) or Kulun (from 庫倫, the Chinese transcription of Khüree) before 1924, and Ulan Bator afterwards, after the Russian: Улан-Батор[citation needed]. The Russian spelling is different from the Mongolian because it was defined phonetically, and the Cyrillic script was only introduced in Mongolia seventeen years later. By Mongols, the city was nicknamed Aziin Tsagaan Dagina (White Maiden of Asia) in the late 20th century. It is now sometimes sarcastically called Utaanbaatar (Smog Hero), due to the heavy layer of smog in winter.

Khuree: (Mongolian: Хүрээ, Khüree, camp or monastery, simplified Chinese: 库伦; traditional Chinese: 庫倫; pinyin: Kùlún, also rendered as Kure, Kuren and other variants) (1706-1911)
Karakorum (1220-1267): From Mongolian Хар Хорум Каракорум, meaning"Black Mountain / Black Rock / black scree."

22x20px Montenegro:

Podgorica/Titograd: "Under the Small Hill" in Montenegrin. Known as Titograd (Named in honor of Josip Broz Tito) from 1946 to 1992.
Cetinje (1482-1946; Historic Capital since October 12, 1992): Named after the River Cetina which runs through the city.
Obod (1475-1482)
Zabljak (1474-1475): The first Slav name of the place was “Varezina voda” (Варезина вода) possibly because of the strong source of drinkable water nearby, making a settlement possible. Later, the town was renamed “Hanovi” (originally “Anovi”) because it was where caravans rested. The modern name dates from 1870, when in a single day the building of a school, church and captain's home began. However, almost all the original buildings were destroyed during the Balkan Wars. All that has remained is the old church of Sv. Preobraženje (Holy Transfiguration), built in 1862 as a monument to a Montenegrin victory in the battle against the Turks. After Žabljak was established as a town, stores and cafés were opened. As such, in the 1880s Žabljak became a market town, leading it to become administrative center of the region.
Antivari (1403-1408): In Serbian and Montenegrin, the town is known as Bar (Бар), in Italian and Greek as Antivari. The name of this city is connected to Bari, Italy as those cities are located on the opposite side of Adriatic sea.
Ulcinj (1385-1403): Named after the Olciniates Tribe.
Shkoder (1042-1385; now in Albania): The origins of the city's name remain shrouded in mystery. The name on coins minted in Hellenistic Scodra (during the rule of Genthius) have the legend (Greek: ΣΚΟΝΔΡΙΝΩΝ)[1]. Some believe the name has a Latin[who?] root, while others[who?] that the name it was Illyrian. In early 20th century, Shkodër was referred to in English by the Italian name Scutari.[2] In Greek, it is known as Σκουτάριον (Scutarion) or Σκόδρα (Skodra), in Serbian, Croatian Montenegrin and Macedonian as Скадар (Skadar), and in Turkish as İşkodra. Some scholars[who?] believe that the name derives from "Shko-drin" which in Albanian means "where Drin goes", Drin being the Drin River that connects with the Buna River next to the castle of Rozafa.
Prapratna (?-1042)

22x20px Morocco:

Rabat: From Arabic الرباط, meaning "Fortified Place."
Fez (1472-1524): From Arabic فاس‎, meaning "Walled City."
Meknes: Meknes is named after a Berber tribe which was known as Miknasa (native name: Imknasn) in the medieval Arabic sources.
Marrakesh (1524-1631): The probable origin of its name is from the Amazigh (Berber) words mur (n) akush (ⵎⵓⵔ ⵏ ⴰⵅⵓⵙⵂ), which means "Land of God". (The root "mur" is used now in the Berber languages mostly in the feminine form "tamurt"). The same word "mur" appears in the country Mauritania, but this interpretation is still unproven to this day.[45]
Tafilalt (1631-1666): The name Tafilalt is a Berber name meaning "the Country of the Hilali", as its inhabitants are called, because they were descended from the Arabian tribe of Banu Hilal, who settled here[citation needed].
Asilah (1465-1472): From Arabic أصيلة، أرزيلة, meaning "authentic."

22x20px Mozambique:

Maputo: Named after the clan M'Pfumo. The city was known as Lourenço Marques (1897-February 3, 1976) and Moçambique (1554-1897).
Sofala (1512-1554): Derived from the Swahili word "Cefala" meaning "River."
Kilwa (1501-1512): "With the Market" in Swahili.

22x20px Myanmar:

Yangon/Rangoon (1753-1760 and 1886-present): From Burmese ရန်ကုန, meaning "End of Strife." Compound of yan (ရန) "enemies" and koun (ကုန) "run out of".
Sagaing (1315-1364 and 1760-1764): Etymology Unknown.
Ava (1364-1750 and 1764-1782): (Burmese: အင်းဝမြို့; MLCTS: ang: wa. mrui.; formerly Ava, and sometimes Ainwa) is a city in the Mandalay Division of Burma (Myanmar), situated just to the south of Amarapura on the Ayeyarwady River. Its formal title is Ratanapura (ရတနာပူရ; Pali: ऋअतनपुर), which means City of Gems in Pali. The name Innwa means mouth of the lake, which comes from in (အင်း), meaning lake, and wa (ဝ), which means mouth. Known as Ava to the British and A-wa (ဗ-တေ; mouth) in Burmese, it evolved to its modern name Innwa.
Amarapura (1782-1823 and 1841-1857): From Pali आमरपुर, meaning "City of Immortality."
Mandalay (1857-1886): The city gets its name from the nearby Mandalay Hill. The name is likely a derivative of a Pali word although the exact word of origin remains unclear. The root word has been speculated as: "Mandala" (meaning, circular plains),[2] "Mandare" (believed to mean "auspicious land"),[6] or "Mandara" (a mountain from Hindu mythology).[7]

When it was founded in 1857, the royal city was officially named Yadanabon (ရတနာပုံ), the Burmese version of its Pali name Ratanapura (ऋअतनपुर) which means "The City of Gems". It was also called Lay Kyun Aung Myei (လေးကျွန်းအောင်မြေ; Victorious Land over the Four Islands) and the royal palace, Mya Nan San Kyaw (မြနန်းစံကျော်; Famed Royal Emerald Palace).

Shwebo (1750-1753): Etymology Unknown.
Nay Pyi Taw (Administrative Capital since March 27, 2006): From Burmese နေပြည်တော်; translates as: "Great City of the Sun" or "Abode of Kings."

N[edit | edit source]

22x20px Namibia:

Windhoek: The city of Windhoek is traditionally known by two names: /Ai//Gams, (Khoekhoe: hot springs) and Otjomuise (Otjiherero: place of steam). Both traditional names reference the hot springs near today's city centre.

Theories vary on how the place got its modern name of Windhoek. Most believe the name Windhoek is derived from the Afrikaans word Wind-Hoek (windy corner). Another theory suggests that Captain Jan Jonker Afrikaner named Windhoek after the Winterhoek Mountains, at Tulbagh in South Africa, where his ancestors had lived.

Grootfontein (May-July 1915): "Big Spring" in Afrikaans.
Otjimbingwe (1884-1891): The city's name is of Herero origin and is used to describe the Herero people.

22x20px Nauru: Yaren

File:Flag of Nepal.svg Nepal:

Kathmandu: The city of Kathmandu is named after a structure in Durbar Square called the Kasthamandap. In Sanskrit, Kasth (काष्ठ) is "wood" and Mandap (मंडप/मण्डप) is "covered shelter." This unique temple, also known as Maru Sthal, was built in 1596 by King Laxmi Narsingh Malla. The entire structure contains no iron nails or supports and is made entirely from wood. Legend has it that the timber used for this two-story pagoda was obtained from a single tree.[12]

Kathmandu is also sometimes called "Kantipur". "Kanti" is an alternate name of the Goddess Lakshmi, and "pur" means the place where such a goddess resides. Thus, the name Kantipur demonstrates the ancient belief that it is the place where Lakshmi dwells.

22x20px Netherlands:

Amsterdam: Derived from Amstellerdam, meaning "A Dam on the Amstel River" in Dutch. The Amstel's name is derived from Aeme stelle, old Dutch for "area abounding with water".
The Hague: Derived from its Dutch name Den Haag, abbreviation for 's-Gravenhage meaning "The Count's Woods" in Dutch.

22x20px New Zealand:

Wellington: Wellington was named after Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington and victor of the Battle of Waterloo. The Duke's title comes from the town of Wellington in the English county of Somerset. In Māori, Wellington goes by three names. Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara refers to Wellington Harbour and means "the great harbour of Tara".[6] Pōneke is a transliteration of Port Nick, short for Port Nicholson (the city's central marae, the community supporting it and its kapa haka have the pseudo-tribal name of Ngāti Pōneke).[7] Te Upoko-o-te-Ika-a-Māui, meaning The Head of the Fish of Māui (often shortened to Te Upoko-o-te-Ika), a traditional name for the southernmost part of the North Island, derives from the legend of the fishing up of the island by the demi-god Māui.

Wellington also has nicknames including Windy Wellington and Middle-earth.

Auckland (1841-February 1865): Named in honor of George Eden, Earl of Auckland, then Viceroy of India.
Old Russell (1840-1841): Named after Lord John Russell.

22x20px Nicaragua: (1821-1857 alternating between Conservative govts.: Granada and Liberal govts.: León)

Managua: The name Managua originates from Mana-ahuac, which in the indigenous Nahuatl language translates to "adjacent to the water" or site "surrounded by water".[2] The city stands today on an area historically inhabited by Indigenous people centuries before the Spanish conquest of Central America in the 16th century.

Granada, Nicaragua: Named after Granada, Spain. The etymology of the name is disputed and could come from both Arabic (جرانت Gar-anat 'pilgrims Hill ") and the Latin (granatum, 'pomegranate') .9 The city;s Latin name was Medina Garanata.

León (1524-1821): "Lion" in Spanish.

22x20px Niger:

Niamey (1903-1910; 1926-present): The quarter-Mouray Kwaratagui is the historic center of the city of Niamey. The region of Niamey is inhabited for a very long time by people like Voltaic Gourmantchés. But the founders of the village would be Maouri Niamey, Matankari from the late nineteenth century. They are installed on an island called Neni Goungou facing the current Niamey, before coming to settle on the left bank of Niger, said it beside a tree that will later be called to the village for Nia Niam The name of the tree and me in Djerma meaning shore where it draws water. The village of Niamey is inhabited by about 600 people in 1901 when the mission arrives Lenfant. With the arrival of French rule and the city began to prosper. Niamey is then the chief town of the circle Djerma which include the area between the river and the Dallol Bosso. Niamey is Niger's capital December 28, 1926, replacing Zinder.
Zinder (1911-1926): Named in honor of Stephen H. Zinder.[46]
Sorbo Haoussa (1900-1903): Sorbo means "Service Tree" or "Sorb Apple" in Italian. Haoussa derives from the Hausa tribe.

22x20px Nigeria:

Abuja: Abuja took the name from the historic Hausa emirate of Abuja, itself named for the fourtified settlement founded in 1828 near Zuba by Abu Ja ("Abu the Red").[47]
Lagos (1914-December 12, 1991): "Lakes" in Portuguese.

22x20px Norway:

Oslo (1299-1624 and 1925-present; known as Christinia from 1624 to January 1, 1925): See Oslo#Name
Christinia: Named after King Christian IV.
Bergen (1070-1299): "Mountains" in Norwegian.
Trondheim (997-1070): "A good place called home" in Norwegian.

O[edit | edit source]

22x20px Oman:

Muscat (مسقط, Masqaṭ): Possibly meaning "hidden."[48]
Salalah (summer capital c.1920-1970): Derived from Arabic صلاة meaning "prayer."
Zanzibar (1840-1856): The name comes from the Arabic 'zanj' (زنج) meaning black and 'al bar' (البر) meaning "land."
Rustaq (رستاق): "Border Area" in Persian. (?-1711 and 1719-1779)
Al Hazam (الحزام): "Belt" in Arabic. (1711-1719)
Nizwa (6th-7th Century and of Imamate 1913-1955): Historians can not agree on the origins of the name of the city. Some suggest the name was derived from the Arabic verb (Arabic: انزوا‎) which means being alone. Others say that the city was named after an old water spring.

P[edit | edit source]

22x20px Pakistan:

Islamabad (اسلام آباد): "Abode of Islam" in Urdu.
Rawalpindi (provisional; August 1, 1960-August 14, 1967)
Karachi (1947-August 1, 1960): Named after Mai Kolachi.
Dhaka (Legislative Capital 1966-1971; now in Bangladesh): See Dhaka above.

22x20px Palau:

Koror (1921-October 7, 2006)

22x20px Panama:

Panama City: After a former village near the modern capital, Panama City. From the Cueva Indian language meaning "place of abundance of fish" or "place of many fish", possibly from the Caribe "abundance of butterflies", or possibly from another native term referring to the Panama tree.
Darien (1510-1521): A masculine given name related to the Persian name Darius, meaning "king".

22x20px Papua New Guinea:

Port Moresby: It was first sighted by a European in 1873 by Captain John Moresby. It was named in honour of his father Admiral Sir Fairfax Moresby.

22x20px Paraguay:

Asunción: "Assumption" in Spanish.
Piribebuy (January 1, 1869-August 12, 1869): In the Guarani language Piri vevui = chilliness or smooth breeze or Piri vevui reed

Lightweight. Pirĩvevuĩ is "soft feeling that is experienced within the area, the presence of his frescoes streams." By moving the word of orality to writing, is Pirĩvevuĩ became Piribebuy. While it might be acceptable etymology "soft feel" is more likely to result from pirivevúi Piribebuy, which Spanish literally means light reed or straw. This thesis is based in the fact that the river at its mouth Piribebuy in the Paraguay River to few miles north of Asuncion, in a place called Arecutacuá is has formed a landscape dominated this vegetation type as well as the fact that in all cases the names of places and Guarani the indigenous geographic designated by their characters unique natural. It is much more likely that the name of the river, which gave the town its name, has been named in his mouth and not in its nascent location corresponding to the location of the people and the landscape and microclimate can cause a "soft feel".

22x20px Peru:

Lima: According to early Spanish chronicles the Lima area was once called Ichma, after its original inhabitants. However, even before the Inca occupation of the area in the 15th century, a famous oracle in the Rímac valley had come to be known by visitors as Limaq (limaq, pronounced [ˈlimɑq], which means "talker" in coastal Quechua). This oracle was eventually destroyed by the Spanish and replaced with a church, but the name persisted in the local language, thus the chronicles show "Límac" replacing "Ychma" as the common name for the area.[2]

Modern scholars speculate that the word "Lima" originated as the Spanish pronunciation of the native name Limaq. Linguistic evidence seems to support this theory as spoken Spanish consistently rejects stop consonants in word-final position. The city was founded in 1535 under the name City of the Kings (Spanish: Ciudad de los Reyes) because its foundation was decided on January 6, date of the feast of the Epiphany. Nevertheless, this name quickly fell into disuse and Lima became the city's name of choice; on the oldest Spanish maps of Peru, both Lima and Ciudad de los Reyes can be seen together as names for the city. It is worth noting that the river that feeds Lima is called Rímac, and many people erroneously assume that this is because its original Inca name is "Talking River" (the Incas spoke a highland variety of Quechua where the word for "talker" was pronounced [ˈrimɑq]).[citation needed] However, the original inhabitants of the valley were not the Incas, and this name is actually an innovation arising from an effort by the Cuzco nobility in colonial times to standardize the toponym so that it would conform to the phonology of Cuzco Quechua. Later, as the original inhabitants of the valley died out and the local Quechua became extinct, the Cuzco pronunciation prevailed. In modern times, Spanish-speaking locals do not see the connection between the name of their city and the name of the river that runs through it. They often assume that the valley is named after the river; however, Spanish documents from the colonial period show the opposite to be true.[2]

Jauja (April 1534-January 1535): Derived from its native name Hatun Xauxa.
Tacna (Capital of Peru-Bolivia 1836-1839): Derived from the Quechua words "taka" ("hit") and "na" ("something to do") so "Tacna" probably means "a place to hit."

22x20px Philippines:

Manila: The city became known by the name given, "Manila", by its Tagalog inhabitants, as Maynila, first recorded as Maynilad. The name is based on the nila, a flowering mangrove plant that grew on the marshy shores of the bay, used to produce soap for regional trade; it is either from the phrase may nila, Tagalog for "there is nila," or it has a prefix ma- indicating the place where something is prevalent (nila itself is probably from Sanskrit nila (नील) 'indigo tree').[49] The idea that the plant name is actually "nilad" is a myth.[50]
Quezon City (1948-1976): The city was named after Manuel L. Quezon, the former president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines who founded the city and developed it to replace Manila as the country's capital.
Villa del Santissimo Nombre de Jesús/ Cebu City (1565-1571): Literally: "City of the Holy Name of Jesus" The name Cebu came from Coming of Miguel López de Legazpi in the Philippines. The first named Legazpi in Cebu is San Miguel but it changed again when he saw Sto.Niño (Holy Infant) given by Magellan to the Cebuano so he made it Santissimo La Ciudad del Nombre de Jesus (Blessed the City of the Holy Name of Jesus) just shortened it and made Cebu.

22x20px Poland:

Warsaw: "Belonging to Warsz"
Lublin (de facto 1944-1945): In the early historical sources from 1228 appears at once modern form of the name. It comes from a personal name formed from the name Lubla Lubomir, by adding a suffix formerly pieszczotliwego-la [7]. It is also possible that the name Lubla in its traditional Polish diminutive form united with possessive suffix-in, giving the name of Lublin. Zygmunt SULOWSKI expressed believe that combining the name of Lublin Lubel (Lubelnia), in analogy to the relation names Wróblin, sparrow. The founder and owner of Lublin in ancient times could thus be a man by the name of Lubel, or Lubla [8].
Kraków (1038-1079, 1296-1596, and 1939-1944): "Belonging to Krakus."
Poznań (964-1038 and 1290-1296): The name Poznań probably comes from a personal name Poznan (from the Polish participle poznan(y) – "one who is known/recognized") and would mean "Poznan's town". It is also possible that the name comes directly from the verb poznać, which means "to get to know" or "to recognize".

The earliest surviving references to the city are found in the chronicles of Thietmar of Merseburg, written between 1012 and 1018: episcopus Posnaniensis ("bishop of Poznań", in an entry for 970) and ab urbe Posnani ("from the city of Poznań", for 1005). The city's name appears in documents in the Latin nominative case as Posnania in 1236 and Poznania in 1247. The phrase in Poznan appears in 1146 and 1244. The city's full official name is Stołeczne Miasto Poznań ("The Capital City of Poznań"), in reference to its role as a centre of political power in the early Polish state. Poznań is known as Posen in German, and was officially called Haupt- und Residenzstadt Posen ("Capital and Residence City of Poznań") between 20 August 1910 and 28 November 1918. The Latin names of the city are Posnania and Civitas Posnaniensis. Its Yiddish name is פּױזן, or Poyzn. The Russian version of the name, Познань (Poznan'), is of feminine gender, in contrast to the Polish name, which is masculine.

Płock (1080-1138): Believed to have derived from the Polish word "płotu" meaning "fence."
Gniezno (964-1038): Derived from "Gniazdo," the Polish word for "nest."

22x20px Portugal:

Lisbon: There are many theories describing the etymology of Lisbon: 1. The name is derived from the Phoenician phrase 𐤑𐤇𐤋𐤋𐤀 𐤏𐤁𐤁𐤅 meaning "Safe Harbor." 2.The name is derived from the name of the Pre-Roman river "Lissa" or "lucio." 3. The city was founded by the Greek hero Ulysses and he named the city Ολισσιπόνα "Olissipona." ("City of Ulysses")[51] Ptolemy called the city of "Oliosipon. The Visigoths called it "Ulishbona" [52] and the Moors who took the city in 719, named it, in Arabic, اليكسبونا "al-Lixbûnâ" or

لشبونة "al-Ushbuna." [53]

Coimbra (1139-1255): Derived from the Conimbriga. The name Conimbriga derives from an early, possibly pre-Indo-European element meaning "rocky height or outcrop" and the Celtic briga, signifying a defended place.[1]. Others think that the element coni may be related to the conii people.
Guimarães (1095-1139): Named after Vímara Peres (Vimaranis, later Guimaranis).
Oporto (886-1095): "The Port" in Portuguese.

Q[edit | edit source]

22x20px Qatar:

Doha: From Arabic الدوحة‎, ad-Dawḥa or ad-Dōḥa, meaning "The Sticky Tree."

R[edit | edit source]

22x20px Romania:

Bucharest: The name of Bucur has an uncertain origin: tradition connects the founding of Bucharest with the name of Bucur who was either a prince, an outlaw, a fisherman, a shepherd, or a hunter, according to different legends.[10] In Romanian the word stem bucur means 'glad', 'joy', in Albanian, a language which may have historical connections with the Thracian languages, 'bukur' signifies 'beautiful' and 'esht' signifies 'is', literally translated as 'it is beautiful'.

The official city name in full is The Municipality of Bucharest (Romanian: Municipiul București). A native or resident of Bucharest is called Bucharester (Romanian: bucureștean).

Iaşi (1859-1862 and December 1916-December 1918): The city is historically referred to as:

Scholars have different theories on the origin of the name "Iaşi". Some argue that the name originates with the Sarmatian tribe Iazyges (of Iranian origin), one mentioned by Ovid as "Ipse vides onerata ferox ut ducata Iasyx/ Per media Istri plaustra bubulcus aquas" and "Iazyges et Colchi Metereaque turba Getaque/ Danubii mediis vix prohibentur aquis".

A now lost inscription on a Roman milestone[54] found near Osijek, Croatia by Matija Petar Katančić in the 18th century, mentions the existence of a Jassiorum municipium,[55] or Municipium Dacorum-Iassiorum from other sources.[56]

Another explanation is that the name originated from the Iranian Alanic tribe of Jassi. The Hungarian name of the city (Jászvásár) literally means "Jassic Market"; the antiquated Romanian name, Târgul Ieşilor (and the once-favoured Iaşii), may indicate the same meaning.

Oral sources say that the name may come from an archaic form of the Romanian word "to exit" because the city was an important trade node in the region.[57]

22x20px Russia:

Moscow: The city is named after the river (old Russian: гра́д Моско́в, literally "the city by the Moskva River"). The origin of the name is unknown, although several theories exist. One theory suggests that the source of the name is an ancient Finnic language, in which it means "dark" and "turbid". The first Russian reference to Moscow dates from 1147 when Yuri Dolgorukiy called upon the prince of the Novgorod-Severski to "come to me, brother, to Moscow."[58] Moskva and Moscow are two different renderings of the same Russian word Москва. The city is named after the river. The origin of the name is unknown, although several theories exist [59]. One theory suggests that the source of the name is an ancient Finnic language, in which it means "dark" and "turbid".[citation needed] Alternatively, the name may come from the Finno-Volgaic Mordovian language, meaning "bear-river".[citation needed] Another claim is that the word is changed version of the Mongolian word "mushka," which means tangled or angled in reference to the tangled and angled setup of the Moscow River that much of the city is near by.[citation needed]
Saint Petersburg: Named after Peter the Great.

22x20px Rwanda:


S[edit | edit source]

22x20px Saint Kitts and Nevis:

Basseterre: "Low Land" in French.
Old Road (1623-1727)

22x20px Saint Lucia:

Castries: Castries was founded by the French in 1650 as "Carenage" (meaning safe anchorage), then renamed in 1756 after Charles Eugène Gabriel de La Croix, marquis de Castries, commander of a French expeditionary force to Corsica that year.

22x20px Saint Vincent and the Grenadines:

Kingstown: "King's Town."

22x20px Samoa:


22x20px San Marino:

San Marino: Named in honor of Saint Marinus.

22x20px São Tomé and Príncipe:

São Tomé: "Saint Thomas" in Portuguese.
Santo António (1753-1852): "Saint Anthony" in Portuguese.

22x20px Saudi Arabia:

Riyadh: The city's name is derived from the Arabic word راودها rawdha, which means "garden," particularly those formed in the desert after rains.
Jiddah: There are at least two explanations for the etymology of the name Jeddah, according to Jeddah Ibn Helwaan Al-Qudaa'iy, the chief of the Quda'a clan. The more common account has it that the name is derived from جده Jaddah, the Arabic word for "grandmother". According to eastern folk belief, the tomb of Eve (21°29′31″N 39°11′24″E), considered the grandmother of humanity, is located in Jeddah.[2] The Tomb was sealed with concrete by the religious authorities in 1975 as a result of some Muslims praying at the site.

Ibn Battuta, the Berber traveller, visited Jeddah during his world trip. He wrote the name of the city into his diary as "Juddah".[3] The British Foreign Office and other branches of the British government used to use the older spelling of "Jedda", contrary to other English-speaking usage, but in 2007 changed to the spelling "Jeddah".[4] T. E. Lawrence felt that any transcription of Arabic names into English was arbitrary. In his book Revolt in the Desert, Jeddah is spelled three different ways on the first page alone.[5] On official Saudi maps and documents, the city name is transcribed "Jeddah", which is now the prevailing usage.

22x20px Senegal:

Dakar: The name appears in Dakar for the first time on a map in 1750 when

French botanist Michel Adanson makes a sketch of Cape Vert3. Dakar could be Frenchified version of ndakarou, the local name, whose etymology remains uncertain, perhaps derived from the Wolof phrase deuk raw signifier "who settled there will be peace 4 or raw-Dekker, an association of Dekker (country) and raw (escape) 5. According the same source, could also be the Wolof term dakhar, which means the tamarind, a This very tree on the side by the arrival of Lebous the sixteenth century. The town is mentioned in some documents6 under the name of "Accard" was also able to see the reference to a merchant marine or little French known from the late seventeenth century, named Accar or Accard.

Saint Louis (1959-1809, 1817-1904, and 1817-January 8, 1958)
Freetown (1809-1817; now in Sierra Leone)

22x20px Serbia:

Belgrade (1817-1818, 1283-1430, and 1915-present): From Serbian Београд Beograd meaning "White City."
Kragujevac (1818-1841 and 1914-1915): The name of the town derived from the archaic Serbian word Крагуј "kraguj", which is a name used for one sort of the bird (hunting hawk), thus the name means "hawk's nesting place". Interestingly, old maps show the name as Krakow.
Smederevo (1430-1453): Derived from Serbian Смедереву meaning "Brown Revue."

22x20px Seychelles:

Victoria: "Victory" in Latin.
Établissement (1778-1814): "Establishment" in French.
Mahé (1770-1778): The island was named after Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais, a French governor of Mauritius.

22x20px Sierra Leone:

Freetown: Known as Granville Town (Named in honor of English abolitionist Granville Sharp) from 1787 to 1789 and again from 1791 to 1792.

22x20px Singapore:

Singapore (1837-1946; still the capital today): Derived from Sanskrit सिंहपुरं Simhapuram meaning "Lion City." Compound of Sanskrit: सिंह(siṃhá, “lion”) and पुर(pura, “city”).
Penang (1826-1837; now in Malaysia): Derived from the Malay name Pulau Pinang which means "island of the areca nut palm." (Areca catechu, family Palmae)

22x20px Slovakia:

Bratislava: Named in honor of Prince Bräslav. Bratislava literally means "Braslav's Glory." The city was known as Pozsony when it served as the capital of Hungary from 1536 to 1848. The name is derived from the Hungarian personal name Poson.

22x20px Slovenia:

Ljubljana: Linguists disagree about the origins of the city's name. Some[who?] believe it derives from the name of the pre-Christian water deity Laburus[citation needed]. Others[who?] think the word could have evolved from the Latin Aluviana, itself derived from the word eluvio, meaning an inundation[citation needed]. It may also come from the Old German Laubach ("a lukewarm creek").[60] The similarity with the Slovenian word ljubljena ("the beloved one") is merely a folk etymology. There are other proposed explanations. However, none of them is universally accepted.[61]

The most likely scientifically acceptable hypothesis is that the city was named after the river Ljubljanica that flows through it. In the Middle Ages, both the river and the city were named solely Laibach. This name, derived from Old German, almost certainly means "a standing water causing floods". It was in official use until 1918.[62]

Kranj (?-1335): Probably derived the Slavic root word "krai" meaning "on the edge."

22x20px Solomon Islands:

Honiara: The name "Honiara" is actually a misnomer: the English colonialists found it hard to pronounce the original name of the area in the northern Guadalcanal languages: Nagoniara. Nagoniara means "in front of the wind."
Tulagi (1893-1952): Etymology uncertain.

22x20px Somalia:

Mogadishu: The name "Mogadishu" is held to be derived from the Arabic ماقد شاه Maq'ad Shah ("The seat of the Shah"), a reflection of the city's early Persian influence.[63] The city went by its Italian name Mogadiscio from 1889 to 1960.

22x20px South Africa:

Pretoria (Administrative Capital): Named in honor of Andries Pretorius, the father of the Voortrekker(s) leader Marthinus Pretorius.
Cape Town (Legislative Capital): Named because of its location on the Cape of Good Hope.
Bloemfontein (Judicial Capital): "spring of Bloem (bloom)", "flower spring" or "fountain of flowers" in Dutch. The city's Sesotho name is Mangaung, meaning "place of cheetahs."

22x20px Spain:

Madrid (1561-1600): There are several theories regarding the origin of the name "Madrid". According to legend Madrid was founded by Ocno Bianor (son of King Tyrrhenius of Tuscany and Mantua) and was named "Metragirta" or "Mantua Carpetana". Others contend that the original name of the city was "Ursaria" ("land of bears" in Latin), due to the high number of these animals that were found in the adjacent forests, which, together with the strawberry tree ("madroño" in Spanish), have been the emblem of the city from the Middle Ages.[12] The ancient name of the city "Magerit" comes from the name of a fortress built on the Manzanares River in 9AD, and means "Place of abundant water.".[13]

Nevertheless, it is now commonly believed that the origin of the current name of the city comes from the 2nd century B.C. The Roman Empire established a settlement on the banks of the Manzanares river. The name of this first village was "Matrice" (a reference to the river that crossed the settlement). Following the invasions of the Germanic Sueves, Vandals and Alans during the fifth century A.D., the Roman Empire could not defend its territories on the Iberian Peninsula, and were therefore overrun by the Visigoths. The barbarian tribes subsequently took control of "Matrice". In the 7th century the Islamic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula saw the name changed to "Mayrit", from the Arabic term ميرا "Mayra" (referencing water as a "trees" or "giver of life") and the Ibero-Roman suffix "it" that means "place". The modern "Madrid" evolved from the Mozarabic "Matrit", which is still in the Madrilenian gentilic.[14] Around this palace a small citadel, al-Mudaina, was built. Near that palace was the Manzanares, which the Muslims called al-Majrīṭ (Arabic: المجريط, "source of water"). From this came the naming of the site as Majerit, which later evolved into the modern-day spelling of Madrid.

Toledo (1479-May 1561): The first written Toletum where it appears in the work of historian

Livy Roman whereby Tollitum Toletum would originate in, which would Tollitu, Tollito, Tollet, Tolledo to stay in Toledo. Its meaning would be "up, up." Martin Gallego contains the version of "double turns or bend of the river that encircles. "The writer of the twelfth century, Ab-Din Abu al - Ayyubid, says طليطلة Tulaytulah means "happy", without giving explicación.14

Valladolid (1600-1604): One suggestion for the origin of Valladolid's name comes from its apparent similarity with "BaladulWalid" (in Arabic بلد الوليد) meaning The City of Walid in memory of one of the Ummayad dynasty's greatest caliphs in Damascus; but no good reason has been given as to why the Moors should have given such a grand title to what was then a remote village on the much contested frontier of their empire. A more likely suggestion is a conjunction of the Latin: VALLIS, "Valley", and Celtic: TOLITUM, "place of confluence of waters. Ruins of a Roman settlement have been found in the area and the area was occupied by Celtic tribes when it was conquered by the Romans. Another suggestion is valla ("fence" in Spanish) "de" (of) Olid (Spanish family name).

It is also popularly called Pucela, a nickname whose origin is not clear, but probably refers to a few knights who accompanied Joan of Arc. Other theory tells that it was called Pucela because Puzzeli's cement was sold there, the only city in Spain that did.

Valencia (November 1936-October 1937): The original Latin name of the city was Valentia (/wa'lentia/), meaning "strength", "valour", the city being named for the Roman practice of recognizing the valour of former Roman soldiers after a war. The Roman historian Titus Livius (Livy) explains that the founding of Valentia in the 2nd century BC was due to the settling of the Roman soldiers who fought against Iberian local rebel, Viriatus.

During the rule of the Muslim Empires in Spain, it was known as بلنسية (Balansiya) in Arabic. By regular sound changes, this has become Valencia (/ba'lenθja/) in Spanish[8] and València (/va'ɫɛnsia/) in Valencian. The Valencian pronunciation in the local dialect (in Valencian) is /ba'ɫensia/.

Barcelona (October 1937-1939): The name Barcelona comes from the ancient Iberian Phoenician Barkeno, attested in an ancient coin inscription in Iberian script as Barkeno in Levantine Iberian script,[64] in Greek sources as Varkinòn, Βαρκινών;[65] and in Latin as Barcino, Barcelo[66] and Barceno.[67]

During the Middle Ages, the city was variously known as Barchinona, Barçalona, Barchelona, and Barchenona.

Some sources say that the city could have been named after the Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca, who was supposed to have founded the city in 3 BC.[68]

Burgos (July 1936-October 1939): There are several versions of its etymology. Most are inclined by origin

Low Latin Burgus, Greek Πύργος pyrgos formed, which means tower and that would refer to the two towers built on the hill del Castillo. Others believe it comes from the German borg, mountain. Vegetius states that Bergus, Burgus, meaning small castle. Guadix adds that the Arabic بورجوا burgo thatched house borough means that could have taken this voice of Goths.[69]

22x20px Sri Lanka:

Colombo: The name "Colombo", first introduced by the Portuguese in 1505, is believed to be derived from the classical Sinhalese name ඛොලන් ථොට Kolon thota, meaning "port on the river Kelani".[7] It has also been suggested that the name may be derived from the Sinhalese name ඛොල-අම්බ-තොට Kola-amba-thota which means "Harbour with leafy mango trees".[6] However, it is also possible that the Portuguese named the city after Christopher Columbus,[citation needed] the sailor who lived in Portugal for many years before discovering the Americas on behalf of the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. His Portuguese name is Cristóvão Colombo. Colombo set sail for to look for India westwards around the same time Portuguese sailor Vasco da Gama set sail eastwards, landing at the Port of Calicut in India on 20 May 1498. Colombo discovered the Americas six years before that on 12 October 1492 and was already a famed sailor and explorer, celebrated both in Portugal and Spain by the time Dom Lourenço de Almeida accidently landed in the port of Galle in 1505.[70]
Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (Legislative Capital since April 29, 1982): "Resplendant City of Growing Victory" The ancient name, Jayawardenepura, is hardly different from the city's present name. Though during those times, it referred to the area outside the inner moat called Pitakotte (outer fort) and the area inside, Ethul Kotte (inner fort).

The word Kotte is derived from the Tamil word கொட்டெஇ Kottei (fortress). Jayawardhanapura (ජයවර්ධනපුර) meaning "victory enhancing city" in Sinhala, was the name assigned to the place by its founder Alagakkonara.[71]

In 1979, with the decision to redevelop Kotte and its suburbs as the administrative capital[4] of the island within a municipal structure, Kotte got back its former name of Sri-Jaya-Vardhana-Pura-Kotte, translated as "the blessed fortress city of growing victory".

22x20px Sudan:

Khartoum: The word 'Khartoum' is derived from Arabic Al-Jartūm الخرطوم meaning "end of an elephant’s trunk", probably referring to the narrow strip of land extending between the Blue and White Niles.[72] Captain J. A. Grant, who reached Khartoum in 1863 with Captain Speke’s expedition, thought that the derivation was most probably from the safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius L.) which is called 'Gartoon,' and which was cultivated extensively in Egypt for its oil, used in burning.[citation needed]
Omdurman (1881-1898): Omdurman was originally known as Wen-Dhurman in the Dinka language. The phrase 'Wen-Dhurman' means "Son Mourning his Mother." This is so because history has it that a mother of Deng Abuk, the legendary ancestry of the Dinka tribe who drowned when they were crossing River Nile, while migrating southwards. But her eldest son could not accept this tragedy, and thus remained on the River crying for days, until passers-by found him. When asked why he was crying, he responded that he was mourning his mum; and hence thus became the name of that place.

22x20px Suriname:

Paramaribo: Named after the Carib tribe Parmirbo.

22x20px Swaziland:

Mbabane: It derives its name from a Chief, Mbabane Kunene, who lived in the area when British settlers arrived.
Bremensdorp (1890-1906): "Bremer's Village" in German.
Elangeni (1818-1893): "The Sun" in Swazi.[73]
Lobamba (Royal Legislative Capital):

22x20px Sweden:

Stockholm (1419-present): "Log Islet" in Swedish.
Uppsala (?-1419): "Up Land" in Swedish.

22x20px Switzerland:

Bern (1803-present): Duke Berchtold V of Zähringen founded the city on the River Aare in 1191 and allegedly named it after a bear (Bär in German) he had killed.
Aarau (May-October 1798): Named after the Aar River which runs through the city. Aar is derived from the German word "Au" meaning "floodplain."
Lucerne (October 1798-1803): From French luzerne (“lamp”), because of its bright seeds.

22x20px Syria:

Damascus: From Latin Damascus, which was imported from Ancient Greek Δαμασκός (Damaskos), which originated in Aramaic דרמשק (darmeśeq, “well-watered place”).

T[edit | edit source]

22x20px Tajikistan:

Dushanbe: From Tajik Душанбе, meaning "Monday."

22x20px Tanzania:

Dar es Salaam (1891-present): From Arabic دار السلام‎, meaning "House of Peace."
Bagamoyo (1885-1891): In the late 18th century Muslim families settled in Bagamoyo, all of which were relatives of Shamvi la Magimba in Oman. They made their living by enforcing taxes on the native population and by trading in salt, gathered from the Nunge coast north of Bagamoyo. In the first half of the 19th century, Bagamoyo became a trading port for ivory and the slave trade, with traders coming from the African interior, from places as far as Morogoro, Lake Tanganyika and Usambara on their way to Zanzibar. This explains the meaning of the word Bagamoyo ("Bwaga-Moyo") which means "Lay down your Heart" in Kiswahili. It is disputed whether this refers to the slave trade which passed through the town (i.e. "give up all hope") or to the porters who rested in Bagamoyo after carrying 35lb cargos on their shoulders from the Great Lakes region (i.e. "take the load off and rest"). Since there is little evidence to support that Bagamoyo was a major slave port (Kilwa, much further south, has earned this status), and that tens of thousands of porters arrived at Bagamoyo annually in the latter half of the 19th century, it is more likely that the name of the town derives from the latter interpretation.
Dodoma (Legislative Capital since February 1996): "It has sunk" in Gogo.

22x20px Thailand:

Bangkok: It is believed that "Bangkok" derived from either Bang Kok, kok (กอก) being the Thai name for the Java plum (ma-kok, มะกอก), one of several trees bearing olive-like fruits; or Bang Koh, koh meaning "island," a reference to the area's landscape which was carved by rivers and canals. The city's Thai name กรุงเทพฯ Krung Thep means "City of the Deity."
Sukhothai (1250-1350 or 1250-1371): From Thai สุโขทัย, meaning "Dawn of Happiness."
Ayutthaya (1350-1463 and 1488-1767): The name Ayutthaya derives from the Ayodhya of the Ramayana epic.
Phitsanulok (1463-1488; 1371-1378): From Thai พิษณุโลก, meaning "Vishnu's Heaven."
Thonburi (October 1767-1782): From Thai ธนบุรี, meaning "Bank Town."

22x20px Togo:

Lomé (1897-present): Lome comes from Alotimé which in Ewe means "among the plants Alo" (the Alo

is a tree whose trunk is still the main source of spa - dent in South Togo). The hunter Dzitri who was the founder of the city had Indeed installed inside the trees that now dominated the site Historic Lomé.

Sebe or Aného (1886-1897)
Bagid (1884-1886)

22x20px Tonga:

Nuku'alofa (1799-1812, 1845-1847, and 1851-present): "Residence and Love" in Tongan.
Lifuka (1812-1845 and 1847-1851)

22x20px Trinidad and Tobago:


22x20px Tunisia:

Tunis: The name possibly derives from either the Phoenician goddess Tanith[74], the ancient city of Tynes[75] or the Berber root word ens which means "to lie down"[76]. .

22x20px Turkey:

Ankara (1920-present): Derived from Ἄγκυρα (Ánkyra, meaning Anchor) in Greek.
Constantinople (1453-1920): Named after the Roman Emperor Constantine I. The modern name Istanbul is derived from the Greek phrase "εἰς τὴν Πόλιν" [is tin ˈpolin] or in the Aegean dialect "εἰς τὰν Πόλιν" [is tan ˈpolin] (modern Greek "στην Πόλη" [stin ˈpoli]), which means "in the city", "to the city" or "downtown".[7] To this day, Greeks often refer to Istanbul as 'tin Poli' (the City).[citation needed] A version found in Western languages, Stamboul, was used in lieu of Istanbul until the creation of the modern Turkish language by Atatürk after 1932. Before that time, English-speaking sources used Stamboul to describe the central parts on the historic peninsula between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara.[8]
Adrianople (1365-1453): The city was founded as Hadrianopolis (Ἁδριανούπολις), named for the Roman Emperor Hadrian. This name is still used in the Modern Greek (Αδριανούπολη). The English name Adrianople, by which the city was known until the Turkish Postal Service Law of 1930, has fallen into disuse. The Turkish Edirne, the Bulgarian Одрин (Odrin), and the Serbian Једрене (Jedrene) are adapted forms of the name Hadrianopolis.
Bursa (1335-1365): Derived from Latin word "Bursa" meaning "purse."

22x20px Turkmenistan:

Ashgabat (1918-1919; 1927-present): Ashgabat is Aşgabat in Turkmen, Ашхабад (Ashkhabad) in Russian, and عشق‌آباد (UniPers: Ešq-âbâd) in Persian. From 1919 until 1927, the city was renamed Poltoratsk after a local revolutionary. Before 1991, the city was usually spelled Ashkhabad in English, a transliteration of the Russian form, which was itself from the original Persian form. It has also been variously spelled Ashkhabat and Ashgabad.

Ashgabat derives from the a folk etymology suggests that the name is a dialect version of the Persian word of عشق (eshq meaning "love") and Persian آباد (ābād meaning "inhabited place" or "city", etymologically "abode"), and hence loosely translates as "the city of love" or "the city that love built".[77]

Merv (1855-1881): From Persian مرو (Marv, “ready”).

22x20px Tuvalu:

Funafuti[78]: As was the case with Vaitupu, the founding ancestors were Telematua and his two wives Futi (meaning banana) and Tupu (meaning "holy" or "abundant"). The "Futi" part of the name means "banana" and "funa" is a feminine prefix.[79]

U[edit | edit source]

22x20px Uganda:

Kampala (1890-1905; 1958-present): Derived from Impala ("Gazelle"), which is of Zulu origin.
Entebbe (1905-1958): "A Seat" in Luganda.

22x20px Ukraine:

Kiev: From Ukrainian Київ, meaning "Belonging to Kyi."

22x20px United Arab Emirates:

Abu Dhabi: From Arabic أبو ظبي‎ Abū ẓabī, meaning "Father of Gazelle." [80]

22x20px United Kingdom:

London: See Etymology of London.

 United States of America:

Washington, D.C. (1800-present): Named after George Washington. The D.C. Stands for District of Columbia, which was named in honor of Christopher Columbus.
Philadelphia (1774-1776, 1778-1783, and 1790-1800): From Greek Φιλαδέλφεια, meaning "Brotherly Love" in Greek. Compound of φίλος (philos, love), and ἀδελφός (adelphos, brother).
New York City (1785-1790): Named after the Yorkshire, England, UK.
Trenton (1784): Named after William Trent.
Annapolis (1783-1784): From Greek Αννάπολις, meaning "City of Grace" in Greek, but named after Princess Anne of England.
Princeton (1783): "Prince Town."
Baltimore (1776-1777): The city is named after Lord Baltimore in the Irish House of Lords, the founding proprietor of the Maryland Colony. Baltimore himself took his title from a place in Bornacoola parish, County Leitrim and County Longford, Ireland.[81] Baltimore is an anglicized form of the Irish Baile an Tí Mhóir, meaning "Town of the Big House",[82] not to be confused with Baltimore, County Cork, the Irish name of which is Dún na Séad.[83]
York (1777-1778): city in n. England, O.E. Eoforwic, earlier Eborakon (c.150), an ancient Celtic name, probably meaning "Yew-Tree Estate," but Eburos may also be a personal name. Yorkshire pudding is recorded from 1747; Yorkshire terrier first attested 1872; short form Yorkie is from 1950. The word 'York' comes from the Latin name for the city, variously rendered as Eboracum, Eburacum or Eburaci. The first mention of York by this name is dated to c. 95–104 AD as an address on a wooden stylus tablet from the Roman fortress of Vindolanda in Northumberland.[8]

The toponymy of Eboracum is uncertain because the language of the pre-Roman indigenous population of the area was never recorded. These people are thought to have spoken a Celtic language, related to modern Welsh.[9][10][11] Therefore, it is thought that Eboracum is derived from the Brythonic word Eborakon meaning either "place of the yew trees" (cf. yew = efrog in Welsh, eabhrac in Irish Gaelic and eabhraig in Scottish Gaelic, by which names the city is known in those languages) or perhaps "field of Eboras". The name 'Eboracum' was turned into 'Eoforwic' by the Anglians in the 7th century. This was probably by conflation of 'ebor' with a Germanic root *eburaz (boar); by the 7th century the Old English for boar had become 'eofor', and Eboracum 'Eoforwic'. The 'wic' simply signified 'place'. When the Danish army conquered the city in 866, the name became rendered as 'Jórvík'.[12] Jórvík was gradually reduced to York in the centuries following the Norman Conquest, moving from the Middle English Yerk to Yourke in the 14th century through to Yourke in the 16th century and then Yarke in the 17th century. The form York was first recorded in the 13th century.[13] Many present day names of companies and places, such as Ebor taxis and the Ebor race meeting, refer to the Roman name.[14]

Lancaster (1777): Loncastre (1086) "Roman Fort on the River Lune," a Celtic river name probably meaning "healthy, pure." The Lancastrians in the War of the Roses took their name from their descent from John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.[84]

22x20px Uruguay:

Montevideo: At least two explanations of the origin of the name Montevideo: The first says that the name comes from the words in Portuguese Monte vide eu, meaning 'I saw a mountain', a phrase uttered by a seaman belonging to the anonymous Ferdinand tour Magellan when he saw the hill of Montevideo. The second says that the Spanish recorded the location on a map as going the sixth hill from east to west (Monte VI of EO). Although there are several explanations of the word Montevideo. Is not in dispute the hypothesis that "Monte" comes from the hill which faces the bay, but the etymological origin of the term "video" 2

Monte Vidi - documentary source: 3 comes from the "Journal of Navigation" of the boatswain of the expedition of Ferdinand Magellan, Francisco Albo, who wrote: "Tuesday's stated (January 1520) were in the right of Cape Santa Maria (Current Punta del Este), from where the coast runs leste (east) west i (y) the soil is sandy i (and) right out ai (sic) made a mountain like a hat which we named Montevidi " . This is the oldest Spanish document which mentions the promontory with a similar name that designates the city, but he makes no mention of course cry of the watchman. Monte vide eu (I've seen a mountain) - spontaneous origin: 3 This is the most widespread versions 4 but dismissed by most experts considered unsustainable by the mixing of different dialects that it contains. The name come from the Portuguese expression meaning "I saw a hill" phrase uttered by a seafarer anonymous belonging to the issuance of Ferdinand Magellan when he saw the Cerro de Montevideo. "Monte-VI-D-E-O". " (Monte V'I De Este o Oeste From east to west) - academic origin: 3 This version says that the Spanish recorded the location on a map or chart portolan, as the hill is the sixth mountain, which looks over the River surfing coast Plate 6 east oeste.5 Foundation of St. Philip and James.</ref> With the passing of time these words were unified and became Montevideo. No conclusive evidence was found to corroborate this hypothesis academic, one can not say with certainty what were the five mountains before he sighted the Hill. Ovid Monte (Monte Santo Ovidio) - religious origin: 3 This hypothesis, which has not had many adherents, stems from an interpolation that appears in the aforementioned "Journal of Navigation" Fernando de Albo, which states that "corruptly call Santo Vidio now "when referring to the mountain as a hat to which they named Mount Vidi, ie the Cerro de Montevideo, Ovid was the third bishop of the Portuguese city of Braga, where he was revered forever as who was a monument erected in 1505. Given the relationship that the Portuguese were always with the origins of the city of Montevideo, discovery, foundation, and, although this hypothesis as above, lacks a convincing documentation, some people associated the name of the saint that Ovid and Vidio appears on some maps of the era and the subsequent derivation of the word "Montevideo" to refer to the region since the early years of the sixteenth century.

22x20px Uzbekistan:

Tashkent: Derived from Uzbek Toshkent, meaning "Stone City." Tash means "stone" in Turkic languages and is probably derived (via Persian چاچ and Arabic شاش) from the Chinese word(Chinese: 石, pinyin shí) meaning "stone" and kent means "city" in Turkic languages.

V[edit | edit source]

22x20px Vanuatu:

Port-Vila: "Vila" means "Town" in Portuguese, hence therefore "Port Vila" means "Port Town."

22x20px Venezuela:

Caracas: Named after a tribe of the same name. The city's name is the plural version of the Spanish word "caraca" meaning "snail," hence therefore "Caracas" means "Snails."

22x20px Vietnam:

Hanoi (1010-1802; 1945-present; also capital of North Vietnam): Derived from Vietnamese Hà Nội (河内) meaning "Between Rivers" or "River Interior" in Vietnamese.

Saigon (capital of South Vietnam): See Ho Chi Minh City#Name

Phong Châu (2809-258 BC): Derived from Vietnamese phộng meaning "peanut." Phong can also mean "style." Châu is derived from Chinese 周 zhōu meaning "Week" or "Circumference."
Cổ Loa: Its name is derived from the Sino-Vietnamese 古螺, meaning "old spiral."
Tô Lịch (257-111 BC and 939-965 AD): "Calendar" in Vietnamese.
Hoa Lư (968-980 AD): "Black Flower"
La Thành (980-1010): "The City" in Vietnamese.
Huế (1842-1945): Derived from 花 hoa meaning "flower."

22x20px Yemen

Sana'a: Probably meaning "Well Fortified."

Z[edit | edit source]

22x20px Zambia

Lusaka: Named in honor of Lusakasa.
Livingstone (1911-1935): Named after David Livingstone.
Fort James 1899-1911)
Salisbury (1894-1899): Named after Salisbury, United Kingdom.
Lealui (1899-1911): Luyi is derived from Siluyana root-word uyi meaning bad or cruel.The claim by some scholars that in the Nkoya language luyi means foreigner, might be an indication of the phenomenon of borrowed words assuming new meanings while claims that it is the Nkoya or Kwengo who so named the Aluyi are misleading.[85]

22x20px Zimbabwe

Harare: Derived from either the Shona chieftain Neharawa or from the European corruption of "Haarari" ("He does not sleep"). Known as Salisbury from 1897 to 1981 and Fort Salisbury from September 12, 1890 to 1897.
Matabeleland-Bulawayo (1881-1890): Matabeleland means "Land of the Ndebele People." Ndebele literally means "Refugees", thus Matabeleland literally means "Land of the Refugees." The name Bulawayo comes from the Sindebele word KwaBulawayo meaning 'a place where he is being killed.' It is thought that at the time of the formation of the city, there was a civil war and a group of Ndebeles not aligned to Prince Lobengula were fighting him as they felt he was not the heir to the throne, hence he gave his capital the name 'where he (the prince) is being killed'. Some historians differ on this matter, describing Bulawayo as 'at the place of He who Kills' or 'place of slaughter'.[citation needed]

The name Bulawayo is imported from Nguniland which is a place once occupied by the Khumalo people. The place still exists and it is next to Richards Bay.[citation needed]

Sources[edit | edit source]

Notes and References[edit | edit source]

  1. Ethnologische Forschungen und Sammlung von Material für dieselben, 1871, p 244, Adolf Bastian - Ethnology.
  2. The People of India: A Series of Photographic Illustrations, with ..., 1868, p 155, John William Kaye, Meadows Taylor, Great Britain India Office - Ethnology.
  3. Supplementary Glossary, p. 304, H. M. Elliot.
  4. Various Census of India, 1867, p 34.
  5. Memoir on Cuneiform Inscription, 1849, p 98, Cuneiform inscriptions; Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, 1849, p 98, Henry Creswicke Rawlinson, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
  6. Alexander the Great: his towns - Alexandria in Arachosia...Link
  7. Hobson Jobson Dictionary
  8. "O Lobito e o Umbigo do Mundo" (in Portuguese). 
  9. Australia’s National Capital by Crispin Hull, Ch. 2 European settlement and the naming of Canberra
  10. "Culture & Religion on Podium: Politicizing Linguistics". Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  11. Ган К.Ф. Oпыть объяснения кавказских географических названий. Тифлис, 1909
  12. 12.0 12.1 .The Name “Baku”
  13. Encyclopedia Iranica, "Ganja", C. Edmund Bosworth
  14. История Востока. В 6 т. Т. 2. Восток в средние века. М., «Восточная литература», 2002. ISBN 5-02-017711-3 (History of the East. In 6 volumes. Volume 2. Moscow, publishing house of the Russian Academy of sciences «East literature»): The polyethnic population of Albania left-bank at this time is increasingly moving to the Persian language. Mainly this applies to cities of Aran and Shirvan, as begin from 9-10 centuries named two main areas in the territory of Azerbaijan. With regard to the rural population, it would seem, mostly retained for a long time, their old languages, related to modern Daghestanian family, especially Lezgin. (russian text: Пестрое в этническом плане население левобережнoй Албании в это время все больше переходит на персидский язык. Главным образом это относится к городам Арана и Ширвана, как стали в IX-Х вв. именоваться два главные области на территории Азербайджана. Что касается сельского населения, то оно, по-видимому, в основном сохраняло еще долгое время свои старые языки, родственные современным дагестанским, прежде всего лезгинскому.
  15. Дьяконов, Игорь Михайлович. Книга воспоминаний. Издательство "Европейский дом", Санкт-Петербург, 1995., 1995. - ISBN 5-85733-042-4. cтр. 730-731 Igor Diakonov. The book of memoirs.
  16. Nagendra K. Singh (2003). Encyclopaedia of Bangladesh (Hardcover). Anmol Publications Pvt Ltd. p. 19. ISBN 8126113901. 
  17. Such influence is also evidenced in some then-constructed Belarusian linguistic terminology, like words for verb (дзеяслоў) and others. Per Uladzimir Anichenka. Ukrainisms in Encyclopedia of literature and arts of Belarus. V.5, p.351 (У. В. Анічэнка. Украінізмы // Энцыклапедыя літаратуры і мастацтва Беларусі. У 5 т. Т.5. С.351.)
  18. Higham, The Civilization of Angkor, p.4.
  19. Arias, S.; Meléndez, M. (2002). "Sacred and Imperial Topographies in kam de Castellanos's Elegías de varones ilustres de Indias". Mapping Colonial Spanish America: Places and Commonplaces of Identity, Culture and Experience. Bucknell University Press. ISBN 0838755097. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  21. Berger, Dieter (1999). Geographische Namen in Deutschland. Bibliographisches Institut. ISBN 3411062525. 
  22. Guatemala (accessed February 1, 2010).
  25. [1]
  26. [2]
  28. Book of Ezekiel 3:15
  29. "Tel Aviv". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  30. Cf. Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his "The Social Contract", Book IV, Chapter IV, written in 1762, where he writes in a footnote that the word for Rome is Greek in origin and means force. "There are writers who say that the name 'Rome' is derived from 'Romulus'. It is in fact Greek and means force."
  31. Pulse Africa. "Not to be Missed: Nairobi 'Green City in the Sun'". Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  32. 282 Гвардейский Краснознаменный мотострелковый полк имени М. В. Фрунзе в/ч 73809 п/о Подгорное Кой-Таш [3]
  33. "Teritorija un administratīvās robežas vēsturiskā skatījumā" (in Latvian). Cities Environmental Reports on the Internet. Retrieved 2007-08-02. 
  34. Endzelīns, Did Celts Inhabit the Baltics (1911 Dzimtene's Vēstnesis (Homeland Messenger) No. 227). Retrieved July 24, 2009.
  35. Vauchez et al. Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages. Routledge, 2001
  36. 36.0 36.1 Bilmanis, A. Latvia as an Independent State. Latvian Legation. 1947.
  37. Pronouncing the "i" and "e" separately, REE-eh, is the best approximation to the Latvian rija, as "Ria" would result in an "i" not "ee" sound.
  38. Fabrius, D. Livonicae Historiae Compendiosa Series, 1610: "Riga nomen sortita est suum ab aedificiis vel horreis quorum a litus Dunae magna fuit copia, quas livones sua lingua Rias vocare soliti."
  40. Sam Romaya, Alison Brown (April 1999). "City profile: Maseru, Lesotho". Cities 16 (2): 123–133. doi:10.1016/S0264-2751(98)00046-8. 
  41. Zinkevičius, Zigmas (2007). Senosios Lietuvos valstybės vardynas. Vilnius: Mokslo ir enciklopedijų leidybos institutas. p. 42. ISBN 5420016060. 
  42. Watkins, Thomas H., "Roman Legionary Fortresses and the Cities of Modern Europe", Military Affairs, Vol. 47, No. 1 (Feb., 1983)
  43. Babiniotis, Λεξικό της Νεοελληνικής Γλώσσας
  44. SUDANESE IMPOSE SENEGAL BOYCOTT; Traders Told to Use Port in Ivory Coast -- Move Is Aimed at Dakar's Trade New York Times - September 3, 1960
  45. Either Rabat, Fes, Meknes, or Marrakesh was the capital of Morocco from 1666 to 1907.
  49. E.M. Pospelov, Geograficheskie nazvanie mira (Moscow 1998).
  50. Ambeth Ocampo (June 25, 2008), Looking Back: Pre-Spanish Manila, Philippine Daily Inquirer,, retrieved 2008-09-09 
  51. Fernandes, Jorge Gomes. "Etimologia de Lisboa". O Sabor das Palavras. Retrieved 3 de Junho de 2009. 
  52. "Lisboa e outros topônimos". Retrieved 3 de Junho de 2009. 
  53. Rocha, Carlos. "Qual a origem da palavra Lisboa?". Ciberdúvidas da Língua Portuguesa. Retrieved 3 de Junho de 2009. 
  54. Museum Documentation Center Croatia, A Tractate on the Roman Milestone Discovered near Osijek
  55. Columbia University, Orbis Latinus - entry for Jassium
  56. Orașul Iași: monografie istorică și socială(Romanian)
  57. citation needed
  58. Comins-Richmond, Walter. "The History of Moscow". Occidental College. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  59. Russian: On the origins of Moskva
  60. "Ljubljana pronunciation". Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  61. "O izvoru ali etimologija imena Lublana (Ljubljana)". 2010-01-14. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  62. Avtor: "O Ljubljani - Novinarji - Visit Ljubljana". Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  63. David D. Laitin, Said S. Samatar, Somalia: Nation in Search of a State, (Westview Press: 1987), p. 12.
  64. Emerita: Revista de Lingüística y Filología clasica 11 (1943), p.468
  65. Ptolemy, ii. 6. § 8
  66. Avienus Or. Mar.,
  67. Itin. Ant.
  69. Diccionario etimológico de la Lengue Castellana
  71. "Kotte, the capital of Sri Lanka 1400-1565 A. D". G. P. V. Somaratne. Retrieved 2006-12-02. 
  72. Room, Adrian (2006), Placenames of the World (Second edition)., McFarland. ISBN 0786422483. p. 194
  74. Taylor, Isaac (2008). Names and Their Histories: A Handbook of Historical Geography and Topographical Nomenclature. BiblioBazaar, LLC. p. 281. ISBN 0559296681. 
  75. Houtsma, Martijn Theodoor (1987). E.J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913-1936. Brill. p. 838. ISBN 9004082654. 
  76. Rossi, Peter M.; White, Wayne Edward (1980). Articles on the Middle East, 1947-1971: A Cumulation of the Bibliographies from the Middle East Journal. Pierian Press, University of Michigan. p. 132. 
  77. Folk etymology of the name Ashgabat, Iraj Bashiri, 1999.
  78. administrative offices are located in Vaiaku Village on Fongafale Islet
  80. "The secret lives of names". Gulf News. 2007-03-08. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  81. As a goodwill gesture, and based on this historic link, a statue of Lady Baltimore was sent back to Ireland in 1974 and erected there some years later. See Jensen, Brennen (2000-06-28). "Ms. Mobtown". Baltimore City Paper. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  82. "Placenames". Retrieved March 29, 2007. 
  83. "Placenames Database of Ireland". Retrieved April 4, 2009. 
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