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Yearning for home


New Holland (1817)

The very concept of “New World“, coined in the wake of Columbus’ discoveries, presupposes the prior existence of an “Old World“. Nowhere is the Eurocentric nature of colonisation and exploration more apparent than in the invention of place-names. References to the colonists’ homeland — too numerous to mention — are found across the globe. It is as if the re-use of familiar referents supplied an important degree of comfort for each wave of migrants.

We shall content ourselves for now with a chronological list of “New” Territories, either real or imagined; some of these names have stuck, some have been superseded, yet others were stillborn. In each instance, an approximate date is shown for its first appearance. Where the reference may be unfamiliar, a modern geographic location is provided.

1524, New France aka Nova Gallia (North America)
1531, New Galicia (Mexico)
1534, New Andalucia (South America)
1534, New Castille (South America)
1534, New Leon (Mexico)
1534, New Toledo (South America)
1535, New Extremadura (Mexico)
1535, New Spain (Central and North America, Caribbean, Philippines etc.)
1538, New Granada (South America)
1541, New Extremadura (Chile)
1545, New Guinea
1562, New Biscay (Mexico)
1565, New Navarra (Mexico)
1566, New Galicia (Chile)
1579, New Albion (NW United States)
1600, New Britain (NE Canada)
1607, New Biscay (Philippines)
1613, New South Wales (NE Canada)
1613, New Wales (Canada)
1614, New England
1614, New Netherland aka Nova Belgica (NE United States)
1620, New Denmark aka Nova Dania (Arctic Canada)
1621, Nova Scotia
1629, New Hampshire
1630, New Holland aka Dutch Brazil (Brazil)
1631, New North Wales (NE Canada)
1631, New Yorkshire (Arctic Canada)
1638, New Sweden aka New Swedeland  (NE United States)
1644, New Holland (Australia)
1645, New Zealand
1665, New Jersey
1665, New York
1681, New Wales (Pennsylvania)
1698, New Caledonia (Darien)
1700, New Britain (Papua New Guinea)
1745, New Ireland (Prince Edward Island)
1767, New Hanover (Papua New Guinea)
1767, New Ireland aka Nova Hibernia (Papua New Guinea)
1770, New South Wales aka New Wales (Australia)
1774, New Caledonia (Melanesia)
1774, New Hebrides (Vanuatu)
1779, New Ireland (Maine)
1784, New Brunswick (NE Canada)
1819, New South Shetland (South Shetland Islands)
1823, New Orkneys (South Orkney Islands)
1841, New Leinster (New Zealand)
1841, New Munster (New Zealand)
1841, New Ulster (New Zealand)
1846, New Ireland (British Columbia)
1851, Nova Cambria (i.e. New Wales, Vancouver Island)
1853, Nova Cambria (i.e. New Wales, Brazil)
1856, New Ireland (Iowa)
1860, Nova Cambria (i.e. New Wales, Patagonia)
1860, New France (Patagonia)
1879, New France (Papua New Guinea)
1884, New Mecklenberg (Papua New Guinea)
1884, New Pomerania (Papua New Guinea)
1887, Nueva Germania (Paraguay)
1893, New Australia (Paraguay)

The naming clock seems to have stopped ticking. But the human predilection for things “new” is alive and well in other fields.

First compiled: August 2013
Last updated: December 2013
Map: Accessed from National Library of Australia