CHRISTIAN TOPONYMS IN CZECHIA, POLAND AND SLOVAKIA

  • Daniel Reeves Charles University, Faculty of Science, Department of Social Geography and Regional Development, Czechia
  • Samuel M. Otterstrom Brigham Young University, Department of Geography, USA
Keywords: Central Europe, Christianity, regional identity, religion, toponymy

Abstract

What story can place names tell about the significance of religion to national and regional societies? This study explores Christian place names in Czechia, Poland and Slovakia, three neighboring countries of Central Europe. Historically, these three nations share predominantly Catholic religious roots. More recently, however, their respective national societies display markedly different attitudes toward religion. Using FamilySearch Places (an online database of place names), the study examines the occurrence and spatial distribution of Christian place names. It considers when these names were initially coined and looks at changes involving Christian place names, since 1900. The research uncovers a number of apparent spatial patterns in Christian toponyms. With few exceptions, the observed name changes were religious to secular in nature.

Published
2018-05-18
Section
Original Articles