Saturday, October 17, 2009

Arizonac or Arizona?

The American historian Hubert Howe Bancroft (1832-1918) created a publishing company in San Francisco in 1852 that grew into a veritable history factory with a large staff researching and turning out popular histories of western states, including History of Arizona and New Mexico, 1530-1888. One of Bancroft’s maps (above) locates “Arizonac” while another (below) names the place “Arizona.” Spanish officials writing in the 18th Century never used the “Arizonac” spelling, according to Donald T. Garate (see “Arizona Is a Basque Word” posted 10-16-09), even though Arizonac is the plural form of Arizona in the Basque language. The rancho near the 1736 silver discovery was apparently for the first time erroneously named Arizonac on a map drawn in Mexico City.

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