America & Other Latin Words

A Geography Lesson for Racists, Everywhere

Jared Matthew Weiss

I was at the gym this morning and overheard two white men talking about how they hate it when Spanish-speaking people don’t know how to speak English. Their conversation escalated a bit into the caravans and the obvious dangers of immigrants. And finally, they landed on the not-so-surprising conclusion that this country is “theirs,” and most immigrants — mainly of Latin descent — shouldn’t be allowed to live here because, well, you never know.

As someone who was raised in Florida, which was named by Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon after the “Pascua de Florida,” meaning “Feast of Flowers,” I started wondering, “How many other places in the United States have names of Spanish origin?”

I did one Google search, found an amazing Wikipedia page, and below is what I discovered.

This is America.

Love, Jmw.


  • Arizona (potentially from a Spanish word of Basque origin meaning “The Good Oak”)
  • California (from the name of a fictional island country in Las sergas de Esplandián, a popular Spanish chivalric romance by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo)
  • Colorado (meaning “Red [colored]” or “Ruddy”. Named after Colorado City; now called Old Colorado City.)
  • Florida Meaning “”Flowery” or “Florid”, because it was discovered by Ponce de León on Easter Sunday, called Pascua Florida to distinguish this holiday, which occurs in springtime when flowers are abundant, from other Christian holidays called Pascua in Spanish, such as Christmas and Epiphany.
  • Montana from Latinized Spanish meaning “mountainous”, also in Spanish “montaña” is the name of “mountain”
  • Nevada comes from the Spanish Sierra Nevada (which is also a mountain range in Spain), meaning snow-covered mountain range (“Nevada” is the Spanish feminine form of “covered in snow”).
  • New Mexico (Calqued from Nuevo México)
  • Texas (based on the Caddo word teshas, meaning “friends” or “allies”, which was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in East Texas). The letter x had a “sh” sound in 16th-century Spanish which gradually evolved to an “h” sound, which under later spelling reforms was assigned to the letter j (which originally also had a “zh”, “j” or “y” sound). Thus the modern Spanish spelling Tejas, which sounds like “Tehas”.
  • Utah (Spanish word of Nahuatl origin, first used by friar Gerónimo Salmerón as Yuta or Uta in Spanish[1])

Territories

Counties and parishes

This is not an exhaustive list.

County seats

Cities

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

L

M

N

O

P

R

S

T

U

V

Y

Z

Native American Reservations

Census-designated places and unincorporated communities

Districts and boroughs

Neighborhoods

Towns and Townships

Villages

Former settlements

Historic places (Still Standing)

Forts

Missions

Presidios

Ranchos and Spanish lands

Further information: List of Ranchos of California

Islands

Natural places

Bays and inlets

Forests

Mountains, hills, rock, ranges, caves and volcanos

Regions

This is not an exhaustive list.

Rivers and Lakes

Springs and waterfalls

Valleys

Wilderness, deserts and dunes

Wildlife Refuges and protected areas

Parks

Peninsulas

Institutions, buildings and streets

Estates, houses and buildings

Streets and roads

This is not an exhaustive list.

Railroads and Metro stations

Airports

Churches

Theatres

Schools and Academies

Organizations

Others

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