Lost Lands: Place names off the map

Lost Lands: Place names off the map

Let’s say you like the basic concept of place names, but you’re not so thrilled  when they’re tied to the image of specific locales.  If, for example, you’re thinking Tulsa sounds like a nice, friendly, easygoing,  Western name– but then suddenly the image of Oklahoma oil fields spring to mind, or say you think Trenton might be the perfect boy’s name—if it weren’t for the New Jersey connection.

There is one way around this.  You could consider place names — city names, state names, country names, and beyond — that are no longer on the map. This may be because of a name change, possibly for political reasons, or because the place itself disappeared…or may have never even existed at all.

Here, some romantic, faraway examples of these off-the-map place names, mostly with non-specific images:

ALBION—old poetic name for England

ANGLIA—Latin name of England

ANNAM—historic name for part of Vietnam

ARABY—old poetic name for Arabia

ATRIA –ancient city in central Italy

ATLANTIS—legendary island supposed to have sunk into the Atlantic

AVALON-another legendary island, this one featured in the Arthurian tales (though one still exists in California)

BRIXIA—the ancient Latin name of the modern Northern Italian city of Brescia

CANDIA –old name of Crete

CANTON—Chinese city now called Guangzhou

CARAL –a Peruvian settlement considered the most ancient city of the Americas

CEYLON—old name of Sri LankaCILICIA – the ancient name of southern Turkey

COBA—large ruined city of the Pre-Columbian Mayan civilization, located in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico

CORINTH—ancient city in the Peloponnesus (there is a modern city of that name)

DACIA—ancient province in southeast Europe inhabited by the Thracian people

DAHOMEY—old name of Benin

DAMASIA –sank into the Ammersee, Germany

EDO –the original name of Tokyo, changed in 1868

FERDINANDEA- a submerged volcanic island south of Sicily

IZAPA – chief city of the Izapa civilization which once extended through present day Mexico and Guatemala

KANE – a city in Wyoming that was lost when the Yellowtail Dam was built

KRISTIANIA/CRISTIANIA—the name by which Oslo, Norway was known for three centuries

LOULAN – an ancient Chinese city

MADRAS—Indian city now called Chennai

MALAYA — now called Malaysia

NARNIA—C.S. Lewis took the name from an ancient Roman town in Umbria (but how many people would know that?)

NINEVEH-capital of ancient Assyria

NIYA –an important ancient Chinese city now called Minfeng

PARTHIA –an empire of the ancient Near East

PERSIA—old name of Iran

PETRA—ancient city in Jordan

POMPEII – the ancient Roman city that was buried under volcanic ash after the eruption of Vesuvius

PRUSSIA—historic region of north Germany

SARAI—one of the largest cities of the medieval world

SARNIA—old name of Guernsey

SIAM—former name of Thailand

SPARTA—-ancient city in the Peloponnesus

TANIS—ancient Egyptian city

TELJÄ- ancient town of Finland

THRACE—ancient region in the Balkan Peninsula

THULE—ancients considered it the northern most region of the world

TROY—ancient city, destroyed by the Trojan Wars (there’s still a Troy in upstate NY)

VINETA — legendary ancient town on the Baltic coast

XANADU—ruined summer capital of Kublai Khan’s Yuan Dynasty in China

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About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.