List of placenames of indigenous origin in the Americas

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Many places throughout North, Central, and South America take their names from the languages of the indigenous inhabitants of the area. The following list, organized by country, includes settlements, geographic features, and political subdivisions whose names are derived from indigenous languages.

Argentina[edit]

Brazil[edit]

Alagoas State[edit]

Ceará State[edit]

Minas Gerais State[edit]

Pará State[edit]

Paraná State[edit]

Pernambuco State[edit]

Rio de Janeiro State[edit]

Santa Catarina State[edit]

Sao Paolo State[edit]

Canada[edit]

Canada itself is a name derived from a Laurentian Iroquois word meaning "village"[1][2] (c.f. Mohawk kaná:ta’).[3][4] See Canada's name for more details. Aboriginal names are widespread in Canada - for a full listing see List of place names in Canada of aboriginal origin. Those listed here are only well-known, important or otherwise notable places.

Province and territory names[edit]

British Columbia[edit]

NB Too many settlements, lakes, rivers, mountains and other items in British Columbia have indiegenous names for all of them to be included here. Only major or relatively notable items are listed.

Regions[edit]

Cities and towns[edit]

Rivers and lakes[edit]

Mountain ranges[edit]

Alberta[edit]

  • Kananaskis
  • Athabasca
  • Wetaskiwin - from the Cree word wītaskīwin-ispatinaw (ᐑᑕᐢᑮᐏᐣ ᐃᐢᐸᑎᓇᐤ), meaning "the hills where peace was made".

Saskatchewan[edit]

Manitoba[edit]

  • Winnipeg—a transcription of a western Cree word meaning "muddy waters"
  • Manitoba -- "where the spirit (manitou) speaks"

Ontario[edit]

Quebec[edit]

Regions[edit]

Towns and villages[edit]


Nunavut[edit]

Northwest Territories[edit]

Yukon[edit]

Caribbean[edit]

Bahamas[edit]

Cuba[edit]

Dominican Republic[edit]

Haiti[edit]

Puerto Rico[edit]

Trinidad[edit]

Chile[edit]

Non-Mapudungun Placenames:

Colombia[edit]

El Salvador[edit]

Guatemala[edit]

The country name comes from Nahuatl Cuauhtēmallān, "place of many trees", a translation of K'iche' K’ii’chee’, "many trees" (="forest").[7]

Mexico[edit]

The name of Mexico is the Nahuatl name for the island in the middle of Lake Texcoco where the Aztecs had their capital, its etymology is opaque.

Nicaragua[edit]

Paraguay[edit]

Peru[edit]

United States[edit]

Uruguay[edit]

Venezuela[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Trigger, Bruce G.; Pendergast, James F. (1978). "Saint-Lawrence Iroquoians". Handbook of North American Indians Volume 15. Washington: Smithsonian Institution. pp. 357–361. OCLC 58762737. 
  2. ^ Rayburn, Alan (2001). Naming Canada: stories about Canadian place names (2nd ed.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 13. ISBN 0-8020-8293-9. 
  3. ^ Bright (2004:78)
  4. ^ Mithun, Marianne (1999). The Languages of Native North America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 312. ISBN 0-521-29875-X. 
  5. ^ Afable, Patricia O. and Madison S. Beeler (1996). "Place Names". In "Languages", ed. Ives Goddard. Vol. 17 of Handbook of North American Indians, ed. William C. Sturtevant. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, pg. 191
  6. ^ "Saskatoon". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  7. ^ Campbell (1997:378 n. 10)
  8. ^ Bright (2004:99)

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bright, William (2004). Native American Place Names of the United States. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
  • Campbell, Lyle (1997). American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • O'Brien, Frank Waabu (2010). "Understanding Indian Place Names in Southern New England". Colorado: Bauu Press. [1]