In the past decade, many cities in India were renamed. Why? This is because India was ruled by the British for 200 years and they had anglicized most of the cities’ names. India renamed her cities back to the original names to honor the country’s heritage.
Here are some cities from all over the world that have been renamed for various reasons.
The capital city of Maharashtra was known as Manbai during the Middle Ages. The origins of the name Bombay is still in dispute. Some claim that the English corrupted the name Mumbai, which is derived from the goddess Mumbadevi who is associated with the city.
Others claim that the name comes from the Portuguese phrase bom baim which translates to “good little bay”. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive and ruled the city from 1535 to 1661. Mombayn, Bombay, Bombain, Bombaym, Monbaym, Mombaim, Mombaym, Bambaye, Bombaiim, Bombeye, and Boon Bay were all recorded corruptions of the name. The British finally named the named Bombay in 1661. However, with India gaining independence from British rule in 1947, the city was renamed Mumbai (the name in the local language) in 1995.
Guangzhou is a Chinese city that was founded under the name Panyu in 214 BCE. When it was declared the capital of Guang province it acquired the name Guangzhou, which literally means Guang prefecture. In the 1500s, Portugal established a trading monopoly in the province and renamed the city Canton.
While there is no definite explanation, Canton could be a European mispronunciation of Guangzhou or Guangdong. The city officially adopted the name Guangzhou in 1918 which means that the Portuguese name was never really official! Yet, westerners have continued to use Canton in books and brochures until the late 20th century.