One of my favorite blogs is Strange Maps, a blog dedicated to unusual cartography. The blog explores how we use maps to organize and display information about spatial relationships.
This post leads us to the Atlas of True Names. The Atlas of True Names [scroll down for maps] is a project by two German artists that takes standard place-name maps and changes the names to their original etymological meanings.
Texas, for example, becomes “The Land of Friends”. Houston becomes “Heart’s Town” and the Rio Grande becomes “The Great River”. America becomes “Land of the Home Ruler”.
The creators caution that original etymological meanings are often guesswork so we should take everything with a grain of salt and regard this more as art than history. Still it is interesting to see something of the story behind the labels we slap on places.