(WHTM) — Have you ever wondered how state names came to be? The name Pennsylvania seems simple since the state was founded by William Penn. But there is more to it than that.
The study of how words came to be is called etymology. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word Pennsylvania is a combination of Welsh and Latin Words.
The literal meaning of Pennsylvania is “Penn’s Woods.” Coming from Penn, which in Welsh means “head”. The Latin word Sylvania comes from the word Sylvan which means “of the woods”
According to the etymology dictionary, Pennsylvania was not named after William Penn, but at the suggestion of King Charles II. He wanted it to be named after Penn’s father, Admiral William Penn. The story goes that William Penn actually wanted to call Pennsylvania “New Wales”, but the king’s secretary, who was a Welshman of the Orthodox religion, did not want to hear it. So, It was decided to name the area “Pennsylvania.”
One of the first counties in the state was Bucks County, according to ushistory.org. This was named after Buckinghamshire in England, where the Penn family seat was from and where many of the first settlers of the state came from.