What’s in a place name?

When travelling you have more time to question why things are the way they are, and one aspect of that question “why?” has led me to ask, “why is this place called what it is?”


Here are the interesting results of some of the answers, some of which you may know already but if you don’t, they provide a great insight into history and culture (the places are all in the south of Argentina, where we were from the 19th to the 30th of March):


Bariloche – The name Bariloche comes from the Mapudungun word Vuriloche meaning “people from behind the mountain” (furi = behind, che = people). 


El Calafate – named for the evergreen shrug, the calafate, which is found in Patagonia.


Perito Moreno (glacier) – named after the explorer and academic, Francisco Moreno who was known as Perito Moreno. ‘Perito’ means expert or specialised. 


El Chalten – “Chaltén” is a Tehuelche word meaning “smoking mountain”, as they believe it was a volcano due to its peak being covered by clouds most of the time. 


Ushuaia – The name comes from two Yámana words, ‘ushu’ (at the bottom/end) and ‘waia’ (bay/port) and means “deep bay” or “bay at the end”.


Beagle Channel – Named after the ship, HMS Beagle (captained by Robert FitzRoy).


References: Wikipedia


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