U.S. HISTORY TRIVIA
U. S. History Trivia



What's in a Name?

       Did you know that places such as Cape Cod, New England, Long Island, New Jersey, and others, had Catholic names long before not only the Pilgrims arrived, but even before Jamestown was established in 1607? Many may be surprised to find out that America was a land where many of the original names of cities, towns, places, and rivers had a Catholic origin before the English Protestant colonists and settlers (who took over) changed them. Of course, it may be asked: Were not the Indian names the original ones, and should not these continue to be used, as is the case with many places and rivers today? Though the Indians may have given the first names to rivers, lakes, mountains and other areas, the answer is no. The reason for this is that the American Indians were idolaters and worshipped false gods. They did not worship or obey the True God and give Him the honor He deserves. God has revealed “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1 [23:1-DRV]), and all that is in the earth belongs to the Lord (Deut.10:14). Therefore, all the things of the earth belong to God and the things of the earth should be named in such ways that give honor and glory to God.

       Since God designed creation in such a way that it points towards Him and His glory, then the naming of places should do same. Thus, the Catholic explorers and pioneers of this land proclaimed the truth that the earth, and all that is in it, is the Lord’s and gave Him honor when they named settlements, places, and rivers after those who gave the greatest honor to God: Our Lady and the Saints -the Lord is "glorified in His saints" (2 Thes.1:10). The suppressed knowledge of original place names has kept many from knowing this part of our Catholic American heritage, and all Catholic students (at the least!) should be made aware of these original place names and who named them. So, enjoy and let others know!


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       What are the original names of the following, who named them, and when?

    New England
    Cape Cod (Massachusetts);
    New York Harbor;
    Long Island (N.Y.);
    Hudson River (N.Y.);
    Lake George (N.Y.);
    New Jersey/Delaware;
    Chesapeake Bay (Maryland);
    Potomac River (MD);
    Cape Fear River (SC)
    Tampa Bay (Florida);
    Florida Keys;
    Mobile Bay (Alabama);
    Alabama River;
    Mississippi River;
    Columbia River (Oregon);
    Colorado River;
    Arkansas River;
    Rio Grande (Texas);
    Utah Lake
    (Answers are below)



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Answers

 Current Name                                        Original Name                                                    Who                                            When
 New England-Nova Scotia . . .Drogio. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Henry St. Clair . . . . . 1398
 New England. . . . . . . . . Corterreal (Royal Court) . . . . . . Esteban Gomez . . . . . . 1525
 Cape Cod (MA). . . . . . . . Cape St. Mary, . . . . . . . . . . . Esteban Gómez . . . . . . 1525
 New York Harbor . . . . . . .Bay of St. Margaret . . . . . . . . .Verrazzano . . . . . . . .1524
 Long Island (N.Y.). . . . . .Island of the Holy Apostles . . . . .Esteban Gómez . . . . . . 1525
 Hudson River . . . . . . . . St. Anthony’s River . . . . . . . . .Esteban Gómez . . . . . . 1525
 Lake George (N.Y.) . . . . . Blessed Sacrament Lake . . . . . . . St. Isaac Jogues, S.J. . .1642
 New Jersey/Delaware . . . . .Gomezland . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Esteban Gómez. . . . . . .1525
 Chesapeake Bay (MD) . . . . .Immaculate Conception Bay . . . . . .Esteban Gómez . . . . . . 1525
                     . . . . .Bay of the Mother of God . . . . . . Spanish explorer before . 1570
 Potomac River . . . . . . . .St. Gregory’s River . . . . . . . . .Esteban Gómez. . . . . . .1525
 Cape Fear River(SC). . . . . Jordan River . . . . . . . . . . . . Luca de Ayllon . . . . . .1526
 Tampa Bay (Florida) . . . . .Holy Spirit Bay . . . . . . . . . . .Hernando De Soto . . . . .1539
 Florida Keys . . . . . . . . Islands of the Martyrs . . . . . . . Juan Ponce de Leon . . . .1513
 Mobile Bay . . . . . . . . . Bay of the Holy Spirit . . . . . . . Alonso A. de Pineda . . . 1519
 Alabama River . . . . . . . .St. Martin River . . . . . . . . . . Spanish explorer before . 1540
 Mississippi River . . . . . .River of the Holy Ghost. . . . . . . Alonso de Pineda. . . . . 1519
                   . . . . . .River of the Immaculate Conception . Fr. Jacques Marquette . . 1673
 Colorado River . . . . . . . Our Lady of Good Guidance River . . .Francisco Coronado. . . . 1540
 Arkansas River . . . . . . . Saints Peter and Paul River . . . . .Fr. Jacques Marquette . . 1674
 Rio Grande . . . . . . . . . Rio de Nuestra Senora (River of Our Lady).Francisco Coronado . . . 1539
 Columbia River . . . . . . . Rio San Rogue (River of Saint Rogue).Bruno de Heceta . . . . . 1775
 Utah Lake . . . . . . . . . .Our Lady of Mercy Lake . . . . . . . Fr. Silvestre Escalante . 1776

       Early Spanish maps of America already had most of these names appearing on them by the 1540's.


CITIES

       Another way that the Catholic foundation of America -as a civilized land- is demonstrated, is by the fact, as pointed out in the "Catholics First" series of articles, that numerous well-known U. S. cities and towns began as Catholic mission/ settlements which, because of their success in converting the natives, eventually drew more settlers and developed into the towns and cities we know today. For example: Miami, Tallahassee, Pensacola, Mobile, Detroit, South Bend, Chicago, Green Bay, St. Louis, Sante Fe, San Antonio, San Diego, Los Angelus, and many others, all had their beginnings as Catholic mission/ settlements. Over-all, more than 350 American cities and towns have Catholic-type names. California has 52 named after saints; Texas has 21, while Minnesota and Missouri each have 18. States such as California, Texas, and Louisiana, have dozens of counties with Catholic names. California has eleven. Louisiana's southern and eastern parishes (counties) read like a litany: Ascension, Assumption, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin and St. Mary. These all give testimony to the Catholic origins of America.

       In this section we show those more well-known cities and towns whose names were either changed, as a result of Protestant-Anglo possession, or were simply shortened since they had been established for so long that to change them would have caused confusion and serious complaints. We also provide the name of the missionary (or if there were more than one, the leader if known) who founded the mission and the year it was founded. Maybe you live in or near one of these places. If so, learn its history.


  Current Name                            Original Name                                                         Who                                                    When
 Syracuse (NY) . . . . .St. Mary of Onandaga . . . . . . . . . .Fr. Simon Le Moyne,S.J. . . . 1664
 Detroit . . . . . . . .Fort St. Joseph . . . . . . . . . . . . Antoine de la Cadillac. . . . 1701
 Chicago . . . . . . . .Guardian Angel Mission . . . . . . . . .Fr. Pierre Pinet,S.J. . . . . 1696
 South Bend(IN) . . . . St. Joseph's Mission . . . . . . . . . .Fr. Claude J. Allouez,S.J. . .1686
 Green Bay . . . . . . .St. Frances Xavior Mission . . . . . . .Fr. Claude Allouez,S.J. . . . 1670
 Charleston(SC) . . . . Port St. George . . . . . . . . . . . . Pedro Menendez . . . . . . . .1570
 Gainesville(FL) . . . .San Francisco de Potano . . . . . . . . Fr. Luis Jeronimo,O.F.M. . . .1614
 Pensacola(FL) . . . . .Santa Marie de Pensacola . . . . . . . .Don Andres de Pez . . . . . . 1693
 
(First settled in 1559 by more than 200 colonists led by Don Tristan de Luna, including five priests, but abandoned by 1562 as a result of a change in settlement plans -many whom resettled with the St. Augustine settlement in 1565.)

 Tallahassee(FL) . . . .San Lorenzo Mission . . . . . . . . . . Franciscan missionaries . . . 1633
(This, and the surrounding missions, were all destroyed by the Protestant James Moore in 1704.
The area was resettled in the early 1820's and given the current name, which is Indian for "old town.")

 Mercedes(TX) . . . . . Our Lady of Ransom . . . . . . . . . . .Franciscan missionaries . . . 1757
 Refugio(TX) . . . . . .Our Lady of Refuge . . . . . . . . . . .Franciscan missionaries . . . 1793
 Sante Fe(NM) . . . . . Royal City of the Holy Faith of St. Francis . .Don Pedro de Peralta . 1609
 Socorro(NM) . . . . . .Nuestra Senora de Socorro(Our Lady of Assistance).Spanish missionaries . . 1629
 Los Angeles . . . . . .Our Lady, Queen of the Angels . . . . . Don Felipe de Neve . . . . . .1781

(LA was an off-shoot of the San Gabriel Mission some five miles east, founded by Bl. Junipero Serra in 1771. Its full name in Spanish is Nuestra Senora ... de los Angeles. Thus, LA is not named after angels as most think, but in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as Queen of the Angels.)      


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