Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Mostly True Account of How States Got Their Names - Delaware

Once Upon a Time...

there once was a governor of the English colony at Jamestown. I'm sure it will surprise you that this governor's name was Sir Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr. Do you get it? Try saying it a little faster, "De La Warr" Now slur the sounds together and what word do you get? "Delawarr."

Does anyone hear a similarity to the governor's name and the name of a State? To the refined ear, it seems like there is a similarity. But it may require further examination to determine if there is really

The Story Continues...

as Lord Dela Ware apparently spent a lot of time marketing his name, not only to the settlers, but also to the River, which took his name, and even the local Indian tribe came to be known in some circles as Delaware Indians. I sometimes think that some people believe that although the Indians were around long before Lord Dellla War E, they spent years trying to decide what to call themselves.

"Geez" they said, "if only we had a name, I hope someone comes to give us a name after all these centuries."

Lord De La Wear came, and they said, "Perfect, we shall name ourselves after the person that rallied the invaders who will eventually decimate our lands and our people."

Contrary to this perspective, the Indians in that area did have a name prior to the arrival of the Lord Del La Warr was the Lenape Indians.

The Big Picture...

A note on words, words have power, and one of their powers is to attempt to rename a people and essentially erase a heritage that existed for years. When the Japanese invaded Taiwan in the late 19th Century, they forced the Taiwanese to learn Japanese and not their native tongue. Does that sound familiar today?

Candidate Santorum said of Puerto Rico to be a state "English needs to be the principal language... There are other states with more than one language, like Hawaii, but to be a state of the United States, English must be the principal language."

Why would this matter? It is possible that you erase a language and after a generation or two, destroy a heritage and thereby dominate a people? Words are power!

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