Which Georgia?

Previously: Which Iberia?Which Alexandria?Which Albania?Which African Nation?Which Guinea?Which Thebes?

This post might seem obvious and straightforward, as most people know that Georgia is the name of a U.S. state and an independent nation state in the Caucasus. I’ll cover both of these places, but there’s more to the name of Georgia than just these two places.

which-georgia1

The state of Georgia takes its name from King George II. A Royal Charters was granted in 1732, the last of the thirteen colonies, which specified that the colony to be founded be named after the King — and so it was.

The origin of the (English) name of the nation of Georgia is disputed. Some link it to Greek and Latin roots, for a word that means agriculture. Others link it to Saint George, or the popularity of the cult of Saint George in Georgia. There is also a Persian theory for the name, as under various Persian empires after the fall of Rome, Georgians were called Gurjhān people, and the contemporary Russian name for the country, Gruziya, is similar. Georgians actually call their country Sakartvelo, their nation Kartvelebi, and their language Kartuli — but they don’t seem to mind being called Georgians.

Yet there are actually many more places with the name Georgia. There are towns called Georgia in the U.S. states of Indiana and Vermont. Georgia St. is in the District of Colombia. In Canada, the city of Vancouver has Georgia Avenue, and the major body of water that connects the city to the Pacific Ocean is called the Strait of Georgia or the Georgia Basin (although there is currently a movement to rename the strait as the Salish Sea, an alleged traditional name for the body of water).

Off in the west Pacific Ocean, New Georgia is the largest island of the Western Province of the Solomon Islands, being in the New Georgia Group and forms part of the southern boundary of the New Georgia Sound. Then, in the southern Atlantic Ocean just north of Antarctica is the British overseas territory of South Georgia.

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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4 Responses to Which Georgia?

  1. Funny and interesting indeed, many places, states and nations with the same name deriving from different origins.

  2. Kinney says:

    I really enjoy this series. Thanks for another interesting post.

  3. Dorzhiev says:

    I remember visiting the Republic of Georgia wearing a University of Georgia hat. It was an instant olive branch that garnered many requests for photos. Maybe Georgians are a transnational diaspora that make up their own civilization? There are striking similarities.

    1) We’ve both had separatist impulses squashed by aggressive northern neighbors (Sherman = Putin?).

    2) We have both spawned incompetent, anti-Semitic leaders (Jimmy Carter and Stalin).

    3) Finally we have both made pioneering initiatives in the beverage industry; Tbilisi is the cradle of wine, and Atlanta is the home of Coke.

    I bet there are some gun/drug running mountain men in Abkazia who could make a good “Dukes of Hazard” franchise.

    “Just the good ol’ boys,
    Never meanin’ no harm,
    Beats all you’ve ever saw, been in trouble with the law since the day they was
    born.

    Straight’nin’ the curve,
    Flat’nin’ the hills.
    Someday the moutain might get ‘em, but the law never will.

    Makin’ their way,
    The only way they know how,
    That’s just a little bit more than the law will allow.

    Just good ol’ boys,
    Wouldn’t change if they could,
    Fightin’ the system like a true modern day Robin Hood.”

  4. Chirol says:

    Dorzhiev: You’re from GA too? I also got a lot of laughs when I visited the republic of Georgia and people would ask me where in the US I was from, and I’d say Georgia.