Let's explore that a little bit.
New York has not always been New York. Neither has New Jersey always been New Jersey. Before there was New York City there was Nieuw Amsterdam. Before there was New York state there was Nieuw-Nederland. Before there was New Jersey there was Nya Sverige (New Sweden). Present-day Wilmington, Delaware, was originally called Fort Cristina after Cristina, Queen of the Swedes, Goths and Wends, Grand Princess of Finland, and Duchess of Estonia, Livonia and Karelia, Bremen-Verden, Stettin, Pomerania, Cassubia and Vandalia, Princess of Rugia, Lady of Ingria and of Wismar, the only surviving legitimate child of King Gustav II Adolph and his wife Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg. You read it here first. Don't believe me? Here's proof:
(Map used in accordance with the provisions of CC BY-SA 3.0)
By 1680 the English had replaced the Swedes and the Dutch. By 1763 the English had replaced the French as well, except in a couple of places like Quebec and Louisiana. Today there are hints of England all over the place in America.
Pennsylvania has York and Lancaster. Connecticut has Hartford and New London. Massachusetts has Boston and Plymouth and Cambridge. Don't forget New Hampshire, which has Manchester. Six states are known collectively as New England.
I'm not through.
In Florida, which once belonged to Spain, the street my wife's parents lived on crossed both Northumberland and Westmoreland. Several states have a Mansfield (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Massachusetts do) but the one I grew up in -- Mansfield, Texas -- was not named after the Mansfield in England. No. It was named after two men, R.S. Man and Julian Feild (yes, spelled that way, F-E-I-L-D), who built and operated a grist mill around which the town grew. Eventually the locals grew tired of correcting other people's misspelling and apparently just said, "Whatever." But my Texas Mansfield is definitely not named after Mansfield, England.
What America is definitely full of (don't be making up your own post) is Native American names. From Narragansett in Rhode Island to Appalachicola in Florida to Chillicothe in Ohio to Tonawanda in New York to Tuscaloosa in Alabama to Chattahoochee here in Georgia, one encounters them everywhere. There's Walla Walla in Washington, and Mishawaka in Indiana, and Manitowoc in Wisconsin, and we must not forget Pottawattamie County in Iowa, where the county seat, Council Bluffs, was so named because a council took place on some nearby bluffs in 1804 between the members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and -- wait for it -- some Native Americans. But one cannot assume that an unusual-sounding, multisyllabic name is Native American. Ypsilanti in Michigan, for example, honors Demetrios Ypsilantis, a Greek hero in Greece's War for Independence in the 1820s.
Atlanta had a couple of other names in its early years, Terminus and Marthasville.
"My kind of town Chicago is," sang Frank Sinatra, managing to sound like Yoda while cleverly avoiding the fact that "Chicago" is derived from a French rendering of the Miami-Illinois word shikaakwa to denote a particular botanical. According to Wikipedia, the first known reference to the site of the current city of Chicago as "Checagou" was by explorer Robert de LaSalle around 1679 in a memoir, and Henri Joutel, in his journal of 1688, noted that the wild garlic, called "chicagoua", grew abundantly in the area. "My kind of town, Wild Garlic is" just doesn't have the same pizzazz.
You want Dutch names? Fishkill and Peekskill and Saugerties in New York, Schuylkill in Pennsylvania. You want Spanish names? We have
I am also detecting that this post is getting a bit long in the tooth without any discernible purpose, so for now, let me just say, "Toodles."
[Note to Loyal Readers Who Made It This Far: I won't be blogging for a few days as Mrs. RWP is having surgery on her second eye tomorrow and I will be concentrating on being a good caregiver. --RWP]