Exploring Epithets - World history through place names

We use place names constantly. We talk about where we live and work, where we spent our weekends, and where we wish we were. But their importance isn’t just about the geographical location they indicate; place names are also heavy with values, symbols, and judgements. Are you from Melbourne or Sydney? New York or LA? Maybe you’re from a small town nobody’s ever heard of. Wherever it is, people will make presumptions about you based on your answer, the mere mention of a place puts ideas in people’s heads.

But how often do we stop and think about why places and streets have the names they do? Somebody, at some point, made that decision. Why?

We use place names constantly. We talk about where we live and work, where we spent our weekends, and where we wish we were. But their importance isn’t just about the geographical location they indicate; place names are also heavy with values, symbols, and judgements. Are you from Melbourne or Sydney? New York or LA? Maybe you’re from a small town nobody’s ever heard of. Wherever it is, people will make presumptions about you based on your answer, the mere mention of a place puts ideas in people’s heads. But how often do we stop and think about why places and streets have the names they do? Somebody, at some point, made that decision. Why?

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