With America's rich cultural background, it's no wonder that an impressive 100 cities and villages across the USA have been named after Greek mythological heroes, historical figures and cities. Research has been conducted to confirm that there are no less than 16 cities sharing the name 'Athens' alone and an impressive 26 containing the Greek name 'Troy'. But where do their names derive from and what are their true origins?
The fifty states that make up the US have themselves taken inspiration from a wide variety of languages around the world. 24 states have derived their names from indigenous languages of Native Americas, 8 from Algonquian languages, 7 from Siouan languages with the list continuing. It seems only fitting that the US continued this name-borrowing tradition into the late 17th and 18th century when most of the towns were founded. This period of time in America's history was known as the Greek Revival Period. The glamour and prestige associated with ancient Greece was rediscovered in Europe in the early 1700s and all things Greek became hugely popular with the European elite. This spread through to the colonies which later became the US and persisted throughout the 1800s.
Interestingly enough, the US wasn't only fascinated with Greek names but their architecture too. They modelled many of their buildings on Greek architecture and one of the most famous examples of that can been seen in the design of The White House in Washington.
If you're interested in visiting one of the following historically named cities, be sure to apply for a US Visa, like an ESTA. The Electronic System for Travel Authorisation makes visitors eligible to travel to the US under the USA Visa Waiver Program. Introduced in 2009, it is used to enhance security measures and pre-screen travellers before they can board a plane or ship headed for the US.
Troy was a city in modern day Turkey and was the setting for one of the most famous events in Greek mythology, the Trojan War. It has been a major influence for cities in Alabama, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Virginia, West Virginia and many others.
In Greek mythology, Echo was a nymph who could only repeat what others said after being given a speech impediment by Hera, wife of Zeus. She notably fell in love with Narcissus and subsequently had her heart broken by him. Echo been a name used in cities like Louisiana, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Minnesota.
The USA's fascination by Greece has meant they even go so far as name a town in New York after it. The change of the Monroe County towns name from 'Northampton' to 'Greece' was supposedly due to the struggle of Greece for independence from the Ottoman Empire.
Sparta, possibly one of the most famous city states of ancient Greece, can be found featured in Georgia, Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, Tennessee, New Jersey and many others. Known for its highly disciplined warriors, unique social system and strict education system, Sparta was a rival of Athens and successfully defeated them in the Peloponnesian War.
Athens can be found in several cities in the US including Georgia, Ohio, New York, Texas, Louisiana and Illinois. The name of the Greek capital and ancient goddess Athena has been particularly popular in the USA. This may be due to the word being highly associated with democracy, freedom, equality and respect.