The names of Cymry "Wales" and "Cumbria", were once connected by 17th-century celticists to the Biblical Gomer, or to the Cimbri or the Cimmerians of the Antiquity, yet these connections are unlikely. It is now known to come from Old Welsh combrog "compatriot; Welshman", from the root *brogi "country, territory" (cf. Welsh, Cornish, Breton bro "territory, country"), itself from *mrogi (cf. Old Irish mruig, gen. mroga "country"). Combrog derives from a Proto-Brythonic word *kom-brogos, meaning "fellow countryman, compatriot". The word is therefore cognate with Breton keñvroad, keñvroiz, "comrade, compatriot". The Latinized name Cambria has the same etymology.
Cambria in legend
According to Geoffrey of Monmouth in the first part of his pseudohistory Historia Regum Britanniae, the Trojan Brutus had three sons among whom (having subdued Gogmagog) he divided his lands after landing in Britain. His elder son, Locrinus, received the land between the rivers Humber and Severn, which he called Loegria (a Latinization of the Welsh name Lloegr, "England"). His second son, Albanactus, got the lands beyond the Humber, which took from him the name of Albany (Yr Alban in Welsh: Scotland). The younger son, Camber, was bequeathed everything beyond the Severn, which was called after him "Cambria".
This legend was widely prevalent throughout the 12th–16th centuries.
The name "Cambria" lives on in much contemporary literature. It is also used in geology to denote the geologic period between around 542 million years and 488.3 million years ago; in 1835 the geologist Adam Sedgwick named this geological period the Cambrian, after studying rocks of that age in Wales.
- Lambert, P.-Y., la langue gauloise, Éditions errance 1994
- Gove, Philip Babcock, ed. Webster's Third New International 'Dictionary'. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 2002: 321
- Jones, J. Morris. Welsh Grammar: Historical and Comparative. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913; new edition, 1995.
- Russell, Paul. Introduction to the Celtic Languages. London: Longman, 1995.
- Delamarre, Xavier. Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise. Paris: Errance, 2001.
- "Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873)". University of California Museum of Paleontology. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- "Quick facts about the name". ohbabynames.com.
- "Cambria - meaning of Cambria name". Thinkbabynames.com. Retrieved 2009-08-13.