I hope my little history lessons don't bore you, so I'll try to keep this one as entertaining as possible.
Well, as you may have already noticed, I am an avid Hispanophile: a true lover of Hispanic/Latino/Spanish culture which by now is as bastardized as any, due to all the blood and gene mixing in the last five hundred years since Columbus landed on these shores a little over five hundred years ago.
American schools many times fail to mention the enormous contributions to current America by Spanish-speaking peoples, due to the perceived notion that our culture is behind or lacking anything interesting, and sadly due to a tad bit of deep-rooted racism. England and France are always exalted in school curriculums, but poor Spain and Latin America are frequently ignored.
The historic and undeniable proof exists: we have hundreds upon hundreds of place names that now dot the U.S. landscape with this incredible past. There is an obvious Spanish flair due to explorers such as De Soto, Coronado, and Ponce De León who visited these areas in the current Southwest back in the day:
--Any place named "San" or "Santa" (not Claus) is a saint. The Spaniards were fanatic Catholics that loved their saints so we have: San Diego, San Antonio, San Francisco, and countless others.
--El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula. Yeah. The full name given to Los Angeles, LA, back in 1781 when it was founded. The City of Angels. Yeah right!
--Amarillo, Texas. Amarillo literally means yellow. Some river or flowers around there had this color I guess. Pronounced with a real heavy Anglo sound now, but the spelling is the same.
--Florida, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona. All Spanish names. Imagine calling these states "Flowery", "Red Colored", "Snowfall", and "Dry Zone"--their respective English names. How bloody weird.
--Las Vegas. Ah yes. Sin City. The name literally means: The meadows. I guess there were some here, in the middle of all this desert when some Spaniards passed by in their horseys. The pretty meadows which became casinos.
--California. Some romance novel back in the 1500's had a mythical island named this. Yeah, you guessed it, a Spanish romance novel. Hence, a made-up, but bona fide Spanish word and name. And within the state itself, tons and tons of Spanish place names. Streets, towns--you name it.
There are many many more, but that's all I have time for now. I guess in other posts I'll briefly go over Hispanic influence in food, speech, and architecture.
Hasta la vista desde Los Ángeles, California.
--ALASKA AND CANADA HAVE SPANISH PLACE NAMES? WHO KNEW??!!