The Atlas Of True Names


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If you have ever wondered how a Country or City got its name, this is an Atlas for you. Called Atlas of True Names, it substitutes place names around the world with names based on their etymological (the history of the origin of the name), roots.

The Atlas comes with a comprehensive Index that explains the origin and the history behind each name in great detail, often augmented with an ancient folk tale. For example, Chicago has been renamed Stink Onion. According to the Atlas, the name was derived from the Native American word Checagou, meaning wild onions or skunk - a reference to the smell of the wild marsh upon which Chicago is built.

Another fun one is Great Britain, which has been renamed the Great Land of the Tattooed. Apparently, the name Britain is a combination of the Greek word Prettanoi, which means tattooed people and the word Brit from the Celtic language, which means light-colored or speckled.

Cameroon is the Land of Shrimps, derived from the Portuguese word Camaroes, which means shrimp and poor Moscow has been renamed Bog, derived from the Slavic (a Russian language) word Mosk (means Bog).

This fun Atlas has been created by German Cartographers Stephan Hormes and his wife Silke Peust, who were inspired by a work of fiction by one of Britain's leading author, J.R.R. Tolkien. While it is hard to determine whether this is how the modern names really came about, the Atlas make for some fun and thought-provoking reading.

It comes in two versions, one just for Europe and the second encompassing the entire World and can be purchased directly from What a great way to learn Geography!


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  • swatcop
    swatcopThursday, September 13, 2018 at 6:39 pm
    It's a pretty good article. I learned A LOT
    • GrandeThursday, February 16, 2017 at 2:48 pm
      This is an amazing article it taught me something
      • GrandeThursday, February 16, 2017 at 11:50 am
        • LKThursday, December 8, 2016 at 6:36 am
          This is cool
          • CleopatraFriday, October 14, 2016 at 2:14 am
            • mayu0327
              mayu0327Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 12:56 pm
              • bananabus
                bananabusThursday, May 1, 2014 at 1:21 pm
                • Chey LyeTuesday, November 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm
                  Hola. My name is Chey Lye I think this is cool and im cheating for my homework! LOL
                  • BobSunday, October 13, 2013 at 6:28 pm
                    This is cool
                    • EPIC MAN Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 12:33 pm
                      this is the best passage about history ever!!!!!!