Almost a millennium has passed since the Norse first discovered Vinland; but even earlier the Amerindian and Inuit people bestowed their own place names on Atlantic Canada. Many of these have survived not only the centuries and a variety of translations but also several attempts at cultural assimilation. There followed names from Basque, Portuguese, French, British, and other sources.
Information about the evolution of place names is never static; new archaeological, historical, and linguistic sources are always being discovered. In Place Names of Atlantic Canada, historian William B. Hamilton provides a wide-ranging overview of the origin and meaning of hundreds of regional place names to reveal the colourful history of the area.
Some element of selectivity was needed in the compilation of the book; there are currently 62,880 officially approved Atlantic Canadian place names recorded by the Canadian Permanent Committee on Geographical Place Names. In Newfoundland alone there are 200 distinct features that incorporate the word 'Green.' Hamilton concentrates on three broad categories: size - the major centres of population and most important physical features; history - those locations that have had an impact on the evolution of the Atlantic region; and human interest - those place names most likely to provoke the question 'Where did they get that name?'
Based on archival research supplemented by field studies, Place Names of Atlantic Canada is the first volume to approach this topic from a regional perspective. Hundreds of cross-references lead the reader to related information in all four provinces. The book also breaks new ground in tracing the evolution of names of important undersea features on the Grand Banks and off the Nova Scotia coastline.
An ideal reference book with more than 2000 entries arranged by province, alphabetically, and aided by five maps, Place Names of Atlantic Canada will appeal to anyone interested in place naming in general or in the culture and social history of Atlantic Canada.