Ever stop to wonder where a city or state gets its name? Even for historians it can be difficult to trace. A new map, the Atlas of True Names, attempts to it. The result? Huntsville’s true name is “Hunter’s Town.”
Compiled by Stephan Hormes and Silke Peust, two cartographers looking to find the “original” meaning of place names from an etymological perspective, the Atlas offers some amusing results.
Florence, Alabama becomes “The Blossoming One.” Birmingham is Bear Guard Home. Alabama can now be called Land Of The Thicket Clearers.
According to The Huffington Post, Hormes and Peust are “aware their ‘True Names’ in the atlas are far from definitive.” In any translation, there’s room for debate. They’ve included with their map an acknowledgement that “not all translations are definitive” and encourage readers to consider alternatives.