Wednesday, 1 April 2009
America (let's say not named after Vespucci) is so called because a Welshman, my countryman, sponsored fishing voyages to Newfoundland in the fifteenth-century. The name of this gentleman was Richard Amerike, or Ameryk, pronounced 'America' (c. 1445–1503), whose surname was in turn an Anglicisation of ap Meuric or ap Meurig, "son of Meurig". Meurig is the Welsh equivalent of Maurice; and Maurice is 'derived from the Roman Mauricius. It is of Latin origin, and its meaning is "dark-skinned, Moorish.' By this logic, America means 'Land of dark-skinned sons'. Which I like a lot.