Monday, October 12, 2009

Local town names echos of empires

In his newspaper column in today's Moline Dispatch, Greg Aguilar reminds of how the Quad Cities area towns of Andalusia and Cordova got their names.

Many people don't realize this fact, but the Spanish Empire reached the state of Iowa and a small piece of Illinois. Some of our area cities share their name with cities of Spain like Andalusia and Cordova. It is kind of funny that at one point in our history, Spanish was the official language of the Quad-Cities.
Read the entire article.

Since this is Columbus Day I thought it would be appropriate to also reflect on how the nearby town of Milan got its name during the brief period when this area was part of the Italian empire. The large number of pizza parlors in the Quad Cities are also a legacy of this period. If you know where to look you can still find reminders of a time when all public institutions had Italian names. In the back of the prison in East Moline there is a place where you can see written in large letters on the ground the former name of the old East Moline State Hospital, 'Ospedale psichiatrico di Watertown.'

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is great!!!!

Anonymous said...

I found this on the internet...History of Cordova, IL

" The newly founded village was now ready for a name at a general meeting of the townspeople the name of Cordova was chosen. It has been recorded that the town of Cordova was named after a Cord-over of wood, as wood in those days was cut and sold by the cord. Cord-over to Cordova. Another record, which is more seemingly correct is that since Dr. Baker suggested the name Cordova, he must have had some recollection with the name. Dr. Baker read many of Washington Irving’s books that were written about Cordoba, Spain; therefore, it seems more likely that Cordova, Illinois was named after Cordoba, Spain rather than a Cord-over of wood".

Dave Barrett said...

Anonymous 10:51
The name was picked at a general meeting of the townspeople? Was that how it was usually done in the Spanish Empire?

Saul said...

You may or may not know that the town of Pekin, Illinois was originally a Chinese colony, founded after a group of Chinese explorers dug a hole through the center of the earth and ended up in Illinois.

(Some skeptics might point out that China is not on the exact opposite side of the world as Illinois, but it's obvious that these explorers knew what they were doing, and they managed to find a short cut).

Dave Barrett said...

Saul,
The Chinese invented directional drilling too?

Anonymous said...

Since when is being Hispanic (Spanish and Italian also) a race - it is an ethnicity.