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Religion & Theology
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Names of Places in Florida and their Religious Influences (Essay Sample)

Indicate how religion influenced the choice of names of places in Florida. Identify counties, cities and towns where applicable. source..
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Names of Places in Florida and their Religious Influences
Florida is the name given by the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon when he landed on the shores on the Northeast coast of Florida in 1951. The term commemorates the Spanish celebration of the feast of flowers in Easter ("A Brief History of Florida." Florida Division of Historical Resources.). Going back into Florida`s history, it can be seen that the Native American Indians, Spanish, French and English had all inhabited Florida at one point and thus have left their imprint of culture in the region. The Spanish introduced Catholicism, as Dominican and Franciscan friars embarked on the journey to the new world with the intention of spreading the religion of Christianity by converting the natives to the Christian faith. Protestant churches came about during the time the British settled into Florida; while Judaism came about in the 20th century. ("A Brief History of Florida." Florida Division of Historical Resources.) There is a significant role of religion in the naming of towns, cities and counties in the State of Florida. Today, Florida is mostly Christian, as most of their predecessors had carried with them the Christian religion. Thus the influence of religion on place names in Florida is mainly catholic in nature.
Religion can influence the choice of name in different ways, based on the religion, the language from which it originated, and the strength of that religion in the area being studied. In Whales for example, "Llan" is used frequently in naming places because of its references to ‘church` and ‘saint`. Place names such as Llangors, Llanaber and Llanfair can be found in Whales. The same is true for other religious terms like ‘prayer`, ‘priests` and ‘monks`, the elements of which are considered in their naming of places ("Religion and Creed in Place Names." BBC). In applying the same principle to Florida, the religious affiliation of the state must be taken into consideration. The Roman Catholic Religion, which proved to have strong influence in the state does not seen to have used the same method in naming their places, except perhaps, when it comes to naming places after saints. The terms ‘church` and ‘prayer` can be translated into Spanish as ‘iglesia` and ‘ruegue`, yet none of its derivatives can be seen in the place names found in Florida.
The Roman Catholic influence can be seen in the way patron saints are used to name cities. This practice of naming places after patron saints can be seen not only in Florida but in the rest of the states and countries with great Spanish influence; these saints are celebrated and festivals may even be held in their honor. In Florida, the following cities and towns are named after Roman Catholic Saints: St. Augustine, St. Cloud, St. Marks, St. Pete and San Antonio. (Sheehan 9).
Places have also been named wi...
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