Dating of "Columbia" = America

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Jul 5 00:36:19 UTC 2008

At 7/4/2008 01:56 PM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
>Yes, I agree. I wasn't claiming it was earlier, only that there might
>be a separate origin in Spanish. As to the geographical region
>involved, that may very well have been the starting point in Spanish
>to refer to all or parts of the Americas with Columbus's name. BB

And I can't quarrel with Ben (much).  It was just
that his reporting of the Wikipedia statement
sounded broader than I read it.  As for
"Colombia" in Spanish usage, I have no
knowledge.  Unless perhaps Don Geraldino passed
the Reports from the Senate of Lilliput on to his masters in Madrid.  :-)


>On Jul 4, 2008, at 9:41 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>>Re-reading Ben's message and the Wikipedia
>>article on de Miranda, I don't think "Wikipedia gives Francisco de
>>Miranda as the person who conceived of using the
>>name to refer[] to the Americas."  Wikipedia says
>>"He conceived the name Colombia _for this
>>empire_, after the explorer Christopher Columbus"
>>(emphasis added).  The "empire" was to "consist[]
>>of all the territories that had been under
>>Spanish and Portuguese rule, stretching from the
>>Mississippi River to Cape Horn."  So it was not
>>the Americas in total, merely all of Central and
>>South America (and a good chunk of western North
>>America to boot).  And in any case, his use of
>>"Colombia" circa 1800-1810 was at least 60 years
>>after earlier uses to refer to America..
>>I would now confidently assert that Read (named
>>in Dave Wilton's message) is correct:  "Columbia"
>>was developed in England circa 1738-1741, and perhaps coined by
>>Samuel Johnson.
>>At 7/3/2008 08:50 PM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
>>>There might be a dual origin here as Wikipedia gives Francisco de
>>>Miranda as the person who conceived of using the name to refers to
>>>The name "Colombia" comes from the name of Christopher Columbus
>>>(Cristóbal Colón in Spanish, Cristoforo Colombo in Italian) and was
>>>conceived by the revolutionary Francisco de Miranda as a reference to
>>>the New World, especially to all American territories and colonies
>>>under Spanish and Portuguese rule.
>>>Miranda envisioned an independent empire consisting of all the
>>>territories that had been under Spanish and Portuguese rule,
>>>stretching from the Mississippi Riverto Cape Horn. This empire was to
>>>be under the leadership of a hereditary emperor called the "Inca", in
>>>honor of the great Indian Empire, and would have a bicameral
>>>legislature. He conceived the name Colombia for this empire, after
>>>explorer Christopher Columbus.
>>>On Jul 3, 2008, at 5:42 PM, Dave Wilton wrote:
>>>>Allen Walker Read's _America--Naming the Country and Its People_,
>>>>Mellen Press, 2001 has this 1660 citation from Nicholas Fuller, an
>>>>Clergyman, p. 27:
>>>>" every where called America: but according to Truth, and
>>>>Desert; men
>>>>should rather call it Columbina, from the magnani mous Heroe
>>>>Columbus a Genoese, who was manifestly Appointed of GOD to be the
>>>>Finder out
>>>>of these Lands. But why should a learned Man make all this Dirige
>>>>Columbus's Name! What matter is it how America be called?"
>>>>(found in Samuel Sewall, _Phaenomena quaedam Apocalyptica ad
>>>>Adspectum Novi
>>>>Orbis configurata_, Boston, 1697, p. 47.
>>>>Read also says "the form 'Columbia' was developed in England in the
>>>>but provides no citations of use.
>>>>-----Original Message-----
>>>>From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On
>>>>Behalf Of
>>>>Joel S. Berson
>>>>Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2008 3:30 PM
>>>>Subject: Q: Dating of "Columbia" = America
>>>>What is known about the earliest use of "Columbia" to refer to
>>>>I presume a Google search would be pointless (unless someone can
>>>>suggest a really refined search condition!), and I don't know where
>>>>else to look.  The OED omits "Columbia", I assume because it's a
>>>>place na
>>>The American Dialect Society -
>>The American Dialect Society -
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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