proposed etymology for "Indian"

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Sat Oct 15 23:55:04 UTC 2005

Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji) "One thing Columbus didn't do" Philadelphia
Inquirer Monday, October 10, 2005, page A11 column 4

    So whence did this word _Indian_ derive?  The  Spanish friars who
accompanied the Italian navigator Columbus to the land he  called "the new world",
although it was a world old to the indigenous people,  were so enamored of the
total trust and innocence of the inhabitants that in  Spanish they called them
_Los Nin~os in [sic] Dios_, The children of God.   This was, of course, soon
shortened to _Indios_.
     And even today, throughout South and Central  America, the indigenous
people are still called "Indios."  As the European  cultures bumped into each
other in North America the name again changed to  "Indian" in America [sic] and

I never heard this etymology before and I am skeptical.  For one  thing, in
present-day Spanish the preposition corresponding to English "in" is  "en", and
as far as I know this was true in Columbus's day.  Hence by the  above
argument, the name should be "Endios"

     - James A. Landau

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