What countries are named after individuals or families?

Geography quiz for today: What countries (or states within a country) are named after individuals or families?

To kick things off, I will supply one easy answer: Saudi Arabia, named after the Saud family.

26 thoughts on “What countries are named after individuals or families?

  1. Queensland, Australia (Queen Victoria)
    Victoria, Australia (Queen Victoria)
    Tasmania, Australia (Abel Tasman)

  2. Two Canadian ones that jump out…
    Prince Edward Island – after Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathearn (1767–1820)
    Alberta – Canada after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848–1939)

  3. Alberta (in Canada)
    North/South Carolina (Charles II, Latin is Carolus)
    Maryland (Virgin Mary)
    Pennsylvania (William Penn)
    United States of America (Amerigo Vespucci)
    (West) Virginia (Queen Elizabeth I, the “Virgin” queen)

  4. Wait, ok, lots of States. Massachusetts was named after Chief Massachuset. Virginia was Queen Elizabeth, the virgin queen. Not sure who the Carolinas or georgia were named after, but they must have been people. California was named after a character in a popular novel at the time. Washington State was named after George Washington. Columbia and British Columbia (and the District of Columbia) were named after Christopher Columbus. Bolivia named after Simon Bolivar. Rhosedia was names after peter Rhodes, but now that’s Zimbabwe. can’t think of any others off the top of my head, but there must be more…

  5. Well, speaking of states within a country, in the US there’s North and South Carolina, named after King Charles, Pennsylvania, named after William Penn, Washington, named after George Washington, Maryland, named after the Virgin Mary, and Georgia, named after King George.

    Canada has British Columbia, which is named indirectly for Columbus, Alberta, named after Prince Albert, and Prince Edward Island.

    Georgia (in Asia) is also named after a George, but not the same one as the state Georgia (US).

    South America has Columbia, once again named after Columbus.

    In Australia, Tasmania is named after an explorer named Tasman, Victoria is named after the Queen, as is Queensland.

    I nearly forgot Israel, named after Israel.

    Bolivia was named after Simon Bolivar.

    Then there are the Saints… Saint Kitt, and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (which sounds like a great band name), San Marino, Saint Lucia, and Sao Tome.

    El Salvador is named after Jesus Christ the Savior of the World (or The Savior for short).

    The Solomon Islands are named after King Solomon.

  6. Liechtenstein

    The Liechtenstein dynasty, from which the principality takes its name, comes from Castle Liechtenstein in faraway Lower Austria, which the family possessed from at least 1140 to the thirteenth century, and from 1807 onward.

  7. Well, there are a healthy number of islands that bear the sea-faring [Western] founder’s name: Falkland, Cook, Marshall, and Soloman.

    My shower curtain is the world map, so I am undoubtedly at a bit of an advantage. Although, my memory of geography has been thoroughly tainted to be entirely backwards, considering the translucent curtain faces out.

    Also, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

  8. Israel, named after the Biblical patriarch Jacob, a.k.a. Israel

    The United Sttates of America, named after Amerigo Vespucci

    Bolivia, named after Simon Bolivar.

    China, named after the First Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi (Qin is pronounced “Tchin”)

    Greece (in Greek, Hellas, named after Hellen, mythical ancestor of the Greeks).

    Egypt, (named after Aegyptos, from Greek myth)

    Cook Islands, named after Admiral Cook

    Gibraltar (from the Arabic Jebel al Tariq, after the Arab general who conquered Spain)

  9. Ok, a few more:

    Bermuda: after Spanish captain Juan de Bermúdez;
    Bolivia: after Simon Bolivar;
    Colombia: after Cristóvão Colombo;
    Gibraltar (if considered a country): after the Berber Tarik-ibn-Zeyad;
    Greece [Hellas/Ἑλλάς]: after Hellen, the son of Zeus;
    Israel: after the biblical patriarch Jacob (later called Israel);
    Kiribati: adaptation of ‘Gilbert’, previous name Gilbert Islands (after English captain Thomas Gilbert);
    Liechtenstein: after the Liechtenstein dinasty;
    Marshall Islands: after English captain John Marshall;
    Mauritius: after Dutch Stadtholder Maurice of Nassau;
    Moçambique: from the Island of Moçambique, after Arab sheik Mussa Ben Mbiki;
    Nicaragua: after indigenous leader Nicarao;
    Philippines: after Spanish King Phillip II;
    Seychelles: after French politician Jean Moreau de Séchelles;
    Solomon Islands: after Solomon of Israel (because they were thought to be the Islands of Gold).

  10. Pennsylvania (William Penn)
    Maryland (Henrietta Maria, Queen Consort of Charles I of England)
    Virginia (Elizabeth I of England)
    Georgia (George II of England)
    North and South Carolina (Charles I of England)
    Washington (George Washington)
    Louisiana (Louis XIV of France)
    Bolivia (Simon Bolivar)
    Israel (Biblical Jacob/Israel)
    Philipines (Philip II of Spain)

  11. Three smaller ones:

    Barcelona, Spain: Amílcar Barca (Anibal’s father)
    Sandwich Islands: John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich
    Rome, Italy: Romulus

  12. This is fun!

    The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
    The United States of America (Vespucci)
    San Marino
    El Salvador (if you consider Jesus an historical figure)

    US States: Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Georgia, N and S Carolina, Louisiana, Washington (assuming tribes don’t count as “families,” or else there would be many others)

    Canadian provinces: Alberta, PEI

  13. Interesting to me is that you can get different answers in different languages. In Hebrew, both modern and biblical, Egypt is called Mitzra’im, and is named after one of the descendants of Noah.

  14. Lawrence above said:
    “Interesting to me is that you can get different answers in different languages.”

    Yeah, the other official name for India is Bharat after King Bharat–long dead but not forgotten. So when Indians speak in Hindi or other Indian languages, they say Bharat–not India.

  15. 4 of 31 states of Mexico
    Guerrero (from Vicente Guerrero)
    Hidalgo (Miguel Hidalgo)
    Morelos (José María Morelos)
    Quintana Roo (Andrés Quintana Roo)

  16. Georgia the country is another example of the language differences. In native language or even any of the other local languages it is nothing like George.

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