With a wealth of historical and anecdotal detail, the author traces the origins and evolution of the principal place-names in the United States, and every American should find fascination in the discovery of the strange circumstances by which names long familiar came into being. As a treasury of national lore and as a source book of historical information, this volume provides an entirely new adventure in the rediscovery of our past. Although a thin scattering of Indian names existed before the coming of the white men, the giving of non-Indian names to places in the US really began on April 2, 1513, when Ponce de Leon sighted the coast and gave the name Florida. Since then place names are counted by the hundreds of thousands. How they came into being is intimately associated with the legends and history of our country. Names on the Land tells in exciting narrative the exploits of Spanish, French, Dutch and English settlers and constitutes a history of the US from an entirely new viewpoint. The sources of the names have been as various as the motives-California was picked from a Spanish romance; Oregon came from a mistake on a map; Pennsylvania may have been a practical joke of Charles II: an Indian chief coined Oklahoma; Utah was forced on its people against their will; Mississippi was almost called Washington; New Mexico sprang from a boastful frontier tale; Lord Baltimore wish his colony to be Crescentia, not Maryland, and so on for virtually every name on the land.