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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  • ,dgprt9vuroughiMonday, October 7, 2013 at 12:38 pm
    really cool
    • inges
      ingesWednesday, April 11, 2012 at 1:16 am
      so cool
      • swirlylollypops
        swirlylollypopsSaturday, February 4, 2012 at 8:43 am
        oh wow! this is totally cool!
        • mairi! (:Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 5:06 am
          wow thats pretty lame. i mean seriously , how many frickin nerds will buy this?!
        • lexi hansenMonday, March 9, 2009 at 1:46 am
          i would like to have that book i think it would be interesting
          • AlanaFriday, December 12, 2008 at 11:41 pm
            I would like to get that book.
            • EllieTuesday, December 9, 2008 at 12:19 am
              I want to get that book.It looks very cool.