How did the Caribbean Islands get their names? Most of the Islands were named by Christopher Columbus as he sailed past them in 1493. Read on to discover the fascinating facts behind their names.
Some say St. Kitts was named after Christopher Columbus himself and Kitts was sort of a nickname for Christopher. Others say he named it after the patron saint of travelers, which is St. Christopher. That is why before it was St. Kitts it was named St. Christopher. How interesting!
Check out this cute St. Christopher pendant necklace on Etsy!
The original settlers were the Arawak Indians and they named this island “Ouanalao” because of all the iguanas on the island. Once Christopher Columbus saw it he gave it the name, that we hear of today, St. Barthelemy or St. Barts. He named it this after his brother, Bartolomeo. Although, I do not know how much of a “saint” his brother was but maybe Christopher thought so? 😉
The Virgin Islands, my favorite of the Caribbean islands, was named by Christopher Columbus after St. Ursula and the 11,000 virgins. Basically Ursula went on a European pilgrimage before she was to be married and she and her virgin companions were murdered by the Huns. Very sad. St. Croix was named after the Holy Cross, St. John was named after St. John the Apostle, and St. Thomas was named after Thomas, one of Jesus’s 12 apostles.
St. Lucia is famous for its picturesque Piton mountains. It was named after St. Lucy of Syracuse by the French. She was a rich woman who sold all of her stuff because she wasn’t materialistic. However, her pagan husband got upset and sent her to be dealt with by the governor. St. Lucia was then martyred during the Diocletianic Persecution. Fun Fact: It is the only island named after a woman!
Sint Maarten/Saint Martin
Named by Columbus, one side of this island is Dutch and one side is French. The island was named after Martin of Tours. It is said that it was the feast day (November 11th) of this saint when Columbus spotted the island. Martin of Tours was a solider turned monk who actually volunteered to stand unarmed on the front line of battle rather than fight. He was a type of freedom fighter and he is the patron saint of soldiers! Interesting man!
This island was named after the St. Vincent. It was also on his feast day (January 22nd) that Columbus discovered this island. He was captured by pirates (oh my!) and was sold into slavery and was a slave for 2 years! He prayed to God that if he would be freed he would devote his life to the poor. Fittingly, St. Vincent did become dedicated to the poor and is the patron saint of the poor.
Yet again, Columbus named this Dutch island. Want to hear something interesting, you know the logo on a Jaegermeister bottle? Well that cross and stag on the bottle is the emblem of Saint Eustace, in which the island is named after! He is the patron saint of Hunters. The Emblem refers to a time when he was out hunting and he saw a glowing crucifix between a deers antlers. Because of this he later converted to Christianity. Unfortunately. after disobeying the emperor he and his family were roasted alive inside of a bronze bull. Yikes!
Pictures From Past Adventures