Which Victoria?

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

In what is planned to be the final post in this series, I’ve decided that it’s about time we had a jolly good review of the many places on God’s good earth named after our sovereign, Queen Victoria! Due to the truly global reach and depth of the British Empire, and in particular the English trend peculiar to the 19th century to climb and then name mountains (I’m looking at YOU, Younghusband!), it is not surprising that the name Victoria is the most common place name in the world. It is found in more than 25 countries and attached to streets, piers, bridges, hospitals, schools, prisons, parks, mountains, islands, cities, states, and provinces.

The most obvious place to start is Australia, which has two provinces named after the Queen (Queensland and Victoria), Queen’s College in Melbourne, Great Victoria Desert, and a dozen other places such as streets, buildings, markets, and squares. New Zealand , Burma and Papua New Guinea have mountains named after her. Malaysia has the Victoria Institution, an elite high school in Kuala Lumpur, while Singapore and Hong Kong both have a large collection of street names and other parks and facilities.

Sri Lanka has a park, bridge and dam named after Queen Victoria, while surpisingly, India has only a few streets and parks named after Queen Victoria — looks like someone was negligent in their Viceroyal duties!

In Africa, the names are primarily geographic features. The most notable places are Victoria Falls, between the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, Lake Victoria on the border of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, and Victoria Island in Nigeria. The most prominent political name is in Seychelles, which has as its national capital the city of Victoria.

In the Western hemisphere, Virginia, USA has a city named after Victoria, Belize has Victoria Peak, and Canada has countless places named after the Queen, most notably the capital of British Colombia.

And of course, there are also dozens upon dozens of streets, schools, docks, and other places that are named after her in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and Jersey.

The name Victoria spreads just not across the globe, but into the wider cosmic universe! “12 Victoria” is a large asteroid in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter discovered by telescope in 1850.

ENDNOTE: Keep in mind that this post focuses only on the places that were specifically named after the Queen, and does not go into detail on the hundreds of streets, bridges and train stations bearing Victoria’s name. Furthermore, there are many more places, particularly Anglo and European villages, streets and other minor places names, that take the name Victoria, but from the name of the Roman goddess of Victory (or Nike for the Greeks), not Queen Victoria.

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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2 Responses to Which Victoria?

  1. Master Cook says:

    This says something about how dominant Britain was in the 19th century. Victoria, while not a terrible Queen by any means, was not particularly impressive as a person and its hard to argue that she had any impact on events. She was pure symbol.

    This also points to the difference between the British and the American empires. The most visible symbol of the spread of American power is a fast food franchise. No one has thought of changing the name of their city to something more “American”, whatever that is.

  2. Matt says:

    @Master Cook:

    Very true. Harmless naming of geographic features vs damaging the health of hundreds of millions. :-)

    Queen Victoria – our new heroine of public health.