Have you ever wondered how places get their names? I have. I remember when we moved to the Kansas City area and learned of "Knob Knoster", Missouri. I mean, really! How on earth did that name come to pass?.Here is a short list: Dead Horse, Alaska; Monkey's Eyebrow, Arizona; Why, Arizona; Sopchoppy, Florida; Two Egg, Florida; French Lick, Indiana; Beebeetown, Iowa; Cut Shin, Kentucky; Krypton, Kentucky (I wonder who lives there?); Askew, Mississippi; Bobo, Mississippi; Hot Coffee, Mississippi; Gaysport, Ohio.Just who thinks these up? Apparently, in the U.S.
, there is a process by which cities get their names."Any geographic feature, like a mountain, hill, river, stream, wash, summit, spring can be named. Places like unincorporated towns or villages can be named, but more formal places like cities and counties get their names through political processes.
".There is an actual process, with a formal proposal, that you have to go through if you want to be the person to name a city or county. There are rules. Anyone can do it. An individual, a group, a club can suggest a name. You can even get a booklet with all the rules so you won't go wrong in this process.
Check out this site,geonames.usgs.gov/pppdgn.html, and it will tell you everything you need to name a place, including the use of diacritical marks?whatever in God's name those are. In Guanajuato, Mexico, it was a lot easier.
Sometime in the 1500's a group of Indians called the Tarascan came along and found this hunk of real estate that they decided to call, Guanaxuato (later became Guanajuato) which means "hill of frogs".They did not have to submit a form, stand in a line, talk to a committee, mail some documents, or wait for an act of Congress. They just said?well, that's just it. What did they say exactly? There are actual two versions of the naming of Guanajuato that exist and I am not sure (and no one else is either) which one is correct.One version says that the Tarascans looked at the mountains and said, "Wow, man! That mountain peak looks like a toad!" The other version goes like this, "Whoa! What is this crap? Only a bunch of toads could live in a dump like this!" Which one is correct I have not the slightest idea and neither does any Mexican I have asked. I do intend on asking a Tarascan the next time I see one.
Nevertheless, this leads me to the point of this story. I have been looking at these mountains for two years now and to the best of my ability, all I see is a mountain that looks like a giant buttock sitting outside my living room window. There it is with two butt cheeks and a crack!.
Where are the frogs suppose to be?.I have looked high and low. I have looked up and down and there are no frog-like mountain structures! And, yet, this whole town's theme is based on the "City of Frogs" appellation given it by the Tarascans. I don't get it!.What is even a bigger mystery is that no one seems to know the answer to this. I have asked as many Mexicans as I can and I get the same two versions of the naming of Guanajuato.
Don't they write this stuff down?.I think this could have been solved if the Tarascans had been required to submit a form, stand in a line, meet with a committee, give a speech, submit some documents, and then wait on an act of the Tarascan equivalent of Congress!.You know a record would have been kept somewhere..Expatriates Doug and Cindi Bower have successfully expatriated to Mexico, learning through trial and error how to do it from the conception of the initial idea to driving up to their new home in another country.
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By: Douglas Bower