Were present day cities always called by their present-day names? Or were they known by other names? The names changed somewhere along the line; something like that doesn’t happen without some story behind it. Let’s take a look at 8 cities that changed names, and find out what’s the story behind those!
1 How Madrasapatnam Became Fort St. George And Then Chennai
What we know as Chennai now started as an English settlement ruled by Vijayanagar rulers, known as Fort St. George. Later, a large settlement grew around the fort, comprising of British settlers, other European communities and native villages. This settlement came to be known as Madrasapatnam, later named Madras by the British. However, the Vijayanagar rulers and locals insisted on calling it Chennai, even then. In recent times, much historical debate took place and the city was renamed Chennai, respecting the Vijayanagar rulers’ original choice of name for this city.
2 How Guangzhou Became Canton And Guangzhou Again
Guangzhou in China was originally called Panyu by its founders in 214 BC, and later as Guangzhou. Guangdong became Portugal’s trading monopoly during the 1500s and was called Cantão. Perhaps due to ease of phonetics, Guangzhou began to be called Canton. In 1918, China officially named the city of Canton as Guangzhou again. Still, it was hard to get rid of the old name; it appeared in maps, travel itineraries and books till the end of the previous century.
3 Topeka Renames Itself As Google!
Topeka, Kansas, renamed itself as Google, Kansas, to gain a spot in Google’s new “Fiber for Communities” program. Google plans to install internet connections that are 100 times faster than anywhere else in a few cities in the US. Mayor Bunten voted to have the city’s name changed to catch the global IT giant’s eye. To this effect, Topeka was renamed “Google, Kansas — the capital city of fiber optics.” The renaming is supposed to be temporary.
4 The Present Day Ho Chin Min City Was Once Called Saigon
Saigon was originally known as Prey Nokor, before the Vietnamese took the city from Cambodia in 1698. The Vietnamese translated the words Prei Kor, or City of Kapok Trees, into Vietnamese. The city then became Saigon. The French turned this strategic seaport grew into the capital city of Vietnam. When Vietnam split into North and South Vietnam, Saigon became capital of South Vietnam. However, in 1975, North Vietnam defeated South Vietnam and Saigon was renamed Ho Chin Minh City after the North Vietnamese communist leader Hồ Chí Minh.
5 St. Petersburg Become Leningrad And Then Went Back To Being St. Petersburg
What was a small village was named St. Petersburg by Tsar Peter the Great, in an attempt to make Russia more European. During the German invasion during the First World War, St. Petersburg was named Petrograd, which means the City of Peter, in Russian. After the October revolution, St. Petersburg took on a ‘communist’ note and
was named Leningrad in honor of Vladimir Lenin. After its first presidential election post communist rule, Russia changed the city’s name back to St. Petersburg.
6 How Hot Springs Became Truth Or Consequences!
A radio quiz called Truth and Consequences impressed the people of Hot Springs, New Mexico, so much that the city’s name was changed to match the show. The show host promised to air the program from the first city that would offer to name itself based on the show, and Hot Springs complied. The show was broadcasted once a year from the city from radio and TV. Residents refer to the city as ‘T or C; now, but the original name of Hot Springs is long gone.
7 The Ancient Trade Route Constantinople Was Renamed Istanbul
Turkey’s former capital has gone through many changes in name. It’s been called New Rome, Stamboul, Augusta and many others, notably Constantinople. The Greeks first named it Byzantium in 667 BC, after king of Megara, Byzas. Emperor Constantine of the Roman Empire made the city his eastern capital, when the Romans took over Turkey. He named it after his own name, Constantinople. The city continued to be known as Constantinople by the world, but locally the people called it Istanbul, which means the city. Turkey adopted the colloquial name officially in 1930.
8 The Story Of Bombay Becoming Mumbai
Mumbai, capital city of Maharashtra, used to be called Galajunkja and Kakamuchee during ancient times and as Manbai during the Middle Ages. The city changed hands from the British to the Portuguese in 1535 A.D; the city was called ‘bom baim’, which means ‘good little bay’ in Portuguese. This name went through several variations, all of them documented faithfully, till the British decided to name the city Bombay. The name Bombay stood till 1995, when the Indian government decided to name it Mumbai once and for all.