Which Alexandria?

Previously: Which Iberia?

If you see a reference in a history book to a place called Alexandria, don’t assume the reference is to the famous city of that name in Egypt. When Alexander the Great conquered the known world 2500 years ago, he left in his wake a string of cities, towns, and forts known as “Alexandria.” Some of those cities exist today, others are archaological ruins, while others are only rumored to have existed. One complete list can be found here, and an approximate map is below.

alexandria
Alexandria Settlements in the Ancient World

Note that some of these may have been founded by Alexander’s heirs, and some modern cities such as Kabul have taken the name from the old Alexandria, even though the actual location is somewhat different.

There are other places by the name of Alexandria in the Old World unrelated to Alexander’s conquest. There is Alexandria in Romania, Alexandreia in Greece, Alexandria in Scotland, Oleksandriia in the Ukraine, and Alessandria and Alessandria del Carretto in Italy, among others.

alexandria2
Alexandria Settlements in the Medieval World

Then with the 18th and 19th centuries, colonialism brought new Alexandrias across the globe. There is an Alexandria in South Africa, two places by that name in Canada, three in Australia, and more than a dozen such places with the name in the United States.

alexandria3
Alexandria Settlements in the New World

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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3 Responses to Which Alexandria?

  1. Alfred Russel Wallace says:

    What a disappointment… I wanted to picture Alexander eating a haggis….
    But a GREAT post.

  2. Philippe says:

    You are very right, several cities were called Alexandria throughout history, but referring to those which were founded by Alexander the Great, they are mostly referred to in the Greek and Roman literature with a suffix such as Alexandria in Aegypto, or Alexandria Aria, Alexandria Margiana etc… However, Alexandria of Egypt is one of the few which retained its original name and in modern literature starting 17th century, it was referred to without a suffix. (of course I am not considering the modern cities in the new world).
    Thank you or the maps. Good job

  3. nm says:

    Apparently, the Caucasus region is a unique “repository” of confusing “doubles”. It had its own Iberia, Albania, and now we see its namesake in Afghanistan… The latter, “Caucasus Indicus” is, of course, known today as the Hindu Kush.