Life in the Thirteen Colonies

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How did the 13 British colonies get their names?

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Delaware is named after the Delaware River, which is named after Thomas West, the 3rd Baron De La Warr, Governor of Virginia at the time when the river was first discovered.

Virginia itself was named after either a native king called Wingina or possibly the unmarried Queen Elizabeth I of...

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Delaware is named after the Delaware River, which is named after Thomas West, the 3rd Baron De La Warr, Governor of Virginia at the time when the river was first discovered.

Virginia itself was named after either a native king called Wingina or possibly the unmarried Queen Elizabeth I of England, who was known as "The Virgin Queen."

New York got its name from James, Duke of York, King Charles II's brother, and who would, after the death of Charles, ascend to the English throne as James II.

This leads us on to North and South Carolina, which were both named after "carolus," which is the Latin for Charles, the name of two English kings, Charles I and his son Charles II.

Pennsylvania literally means "Penn's woods" and refers to William Penn, the founder of what was originally a Quaker colony.

Maryland was named in honor of King Charles I's French queen, Henrietta Maria.

New Hampshire is named after the southern English county of Hampshire.

New Jersey gets its name from the Channel Island, which remained loyal to the Royalist cause during the English Civil War.

No one's absolutely sure how Rhode Island got its name. It's possible that an early Italian explorer likened it to the Greek island of Rhodes. Perhaps it's a corruption of the Dutch for "reddish island" on account of its appearance during the fall.

Next, we have two colonies whose names both derive from Native American words. Connecticut comes from the Algonquian for "long tidal river," and Massachusetts refers to a local tribe.

Last but not least we have Georgia, named after King George II of Great Britain, against whose grandson King George III the American colonists rebelled.

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