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lloydbird's avatar

Americans: When you kicked the British out, why did you keep the British place names?

Asked by lloydbird (8730points) February 6th, 2010

Do you even know that there is a place called York? That your “new” is named after, for instance?
Why transpose when you could have invented?

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21 Answers

TehRoflMobile's avatar

Because we are lazy!

MissAnthrope's avatar

New York was first New Amsterdam. Anyhoo.. I’m guessing they didn’t change because that’s just what the places were named. Rather than having to go,
Oh, I’m going to Hudson City
and the other person saying, Uh, where now?
and then having to reply, You know, the place that used to be New York.

DominicX's avatar

Because British place names are fancy sounding. There is no denying that. :)

New Hamptonshire upon Bedford Furthington-Chesterhillthorpeborough Downs.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

We were busy inventing more important things ;)

Spinel's avatar

Let’s say in your home state everything was renamed overnight: every county, every town, every street, every business, every location etc. Let’s also say the new maps and phone books wouldn’t be available till next week. How would you find anything?

Now apply this scenario to entire North East. Not pretty, huh?

eLenaLicious's avatar

Cuz the British names sound cool

Ivan's avatar

Because renaming every single town in an entire country is impractical?

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Same reason we name things after Native American tribes we ki…er… “moved” to reservations?

Trillian's avatar

Yes, I did know that as a matter of fact. Your question sounds a bit adversarial. I also am aware that there are a lot of other towns all over the states with British names, like Sufflok, and Norfolk. In Virginia, we have the Elizabeth river. Virginia is also named for Elizabeth. Should we change those names as well, so you think?
In Michigan our lakes have Native American names; Huron, Erie. Many of the towns are named for Native Americans or tribes; Pontiac, Caddillac, Ottawa, Oscoda. Do you propose that those names should also be changed?
I prefer to think that we are remembering from whence we came and to whom we owe our existence, by way of tribute, when we name our towns, streets, lakes or whatever after others.
My son is named Nikolai. I named him for Nikolai Romanov. We’re not Russian. Should I change his name? I gave my daughters Gaelic names. Jillian and Rhiannon. We have some Scot-Irish, so we can probably keep Jillian, but no Welsh to my knowledge. Should I rename Rhiannon, do you think?

laureth's avatar

Same reason we kept place names like Iowa, Michigan, Dakota, Massachusetts, Saratoga, Pensacola, and Milwaukee – even though we pretty much did the natives in, too. It’s because that’s the name people call the place. Changing it would be like calling a “cell phone” a “muffaletta.” No one would know what you’re talking about.

Edited to add: Or, what @Trillian says. I really should read the other answers before adding my own, sometimes.

life_after_2012's avatar

Because when we wreck shop, we like to keep souvenirs.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

For the same reason we, as a country, don’t seem to hold a grudge.

phoebusg's avatar

Because they are horrible at naming things. If they didn’t they would have to use even more mythological references. Or cities/towns that still do exist. Such as Athens and so forth. All the names of places in the US puzzle my mind – especially when you mention a place like that in Europe and some Americans will think of their town, somewhere in the mid-west. :)

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

Because the revolution was more about the quest for political autonomy (and that ultimately for economic reasons) than a national identity, which wasn’t as potent a force then as it would become in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Merriment's avatar

It was just our little way of saying “nana nana poo poo” :)

raoool's avatar

The ships of early settlers were often constucted of scrap poles and old street signs. It just made sense to re-use those..

kevbo's avatar

Next your gonna tell me there’s an Old Jersey. Ha ha! That’s BULLSHIT!

TheLoneMonk's avatar

We kept all of the names, and apparently all of the dentists, too.

Drawkward's avatar

Same reason why we kept speaking English.

life_after_2012's avatar

@TheLoneMonk ohhh!! pow!! zzzing!!! that was a good one.

TheLoneMonk's avatar

thanks lifeafter

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