Exploring The Biggest Places Named After a Famous Explorer

Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer, and is most well known for his ‘discovery’ of the Americas in 1492. He has many places named after him, and this article will be going over the largest places across the globe that have named themselves after the italian explorer.

Believe it or not, there are some places where experts are still unsure whether or not they were actually named after Christopher Columbus or something else. For example, historians debate whether Colombo, Sri Lanka, was named after Columbus by the Portuguese who colonized the island, or because it is similar to the Sinhalese name “Kolon thota,” which translates to “port on the river Kelani”.

We won’t go into much detail about Colombo, Sri Lanka, for that reason. But if you’re interested in learning more about that city and the businesses that thrive there, you can read this article about a company that recently opened up centers in Colombo

Without further ado, let’s go over four of the largest locations in the world that were named after the italian explorer Christopher Columbus. 

  1. Colombia

Colombia is the only country to be named after Christopher Columbus, and is the biggest location in both land size and population on this list by far. Colombia has a land size of 440,800 square miles, or 1.13 million square kilometers, and is the 26th largest country in the world when it comes to area. Colombia has a population of 52 million, making them the 28th most populated country in the world.

Humans have inhabited modern day Colombia for tens of thousands of years, however it wouldn’t be named after Christopher Columbus until 1819 when the nation of Gran Colombia would be established, consisting of modern day Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Ecuador, and parts of Brazil. 

  1. British Columbia

British Columbia is a Canadian province located just north of Washington state in the United States, and touches the Pacific Ocean. The province’s name is derived from Christopher Columbus for sure, but experts are unsure if it was directly named after him. Queen Victoria named the province after Columbia District, an area where the Columbia river is drained. The river got its name from an American ship named the Columbia Rediviva, which was named after the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. 

British Columbia has a population of 5 million and a land area of 364,000 square miles. For reference, that is just about the size of countries such as Egypt, Tanzania, Nigeria, Venezuela, and not far off from the country of Colombia. Their population of 5 million is comparable to countries like Finland, New Zealand, or Ireland. 

British Columbia is a beautiful place to visit as well, with vast landscapes and many landmarks to see. If you’re interested in learning about visiting British Columbia, check out Tourismvictoria.com

  1. Columbus, Ohio

Significantly smaller than the country of Colombia and British Columbia, Columbus is the third largest place on our list to be named after Christopher Columbus. Their metropolitan area has a population of 2.1 million, and an area of 3,169 square miles. The actual city itself has a population of 907,000 and an area of just 219 square miles. 

There is no recorded history as to why a city in Ohio was named after the Italian explorer, who never visited Ohio, but there is a book titled “Columbus: The Story of a City” in which it says a state lawmaker and a local resident teamed up together to convince other lawmakers to name the city Columbus because they admired the explorer. 

Columbus was founded in 1812, and officially incorporated in 1816. 

  1. Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C, or the District of Columbia, is named after both George Washington and Christopher Columbus. In 1791, President George Washington decided to place the nation’s capital between Maryland and Virginia, and the city commissioners named the city after Washington, and the district it was in was named after Christopher Columbus. 

After Virginia regained its land it ceded it to the state for District of Columbia, the District of Columbia and Washington are now one and the same. The city/district sits on an area of just 68 square miles with a population of 712,000. 

If you’re interested in learning about other places named after Christopher Columbus, then check out this article from Italian tribune.