origins and meaning of the word canada?

6 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Canada is derived from the word "kanata" which in Huron-Iroquois language means "village" or "settlement".

    The word kanata was first heard by Jacques Cartier while he was requesting directions to Quebec City, which in 1535, was the Indian village of Stadacona. Cartier expanded the use of the word Canada to include all lands overseen by Chief Donnacona.

    By 1547 maps showed all land north of the St Lawrence River as Canada. The St. Lawrence River was actually called the "rivière de Canada" until the early 1600's.

    The land along the river of Canada and the Gulf of St. Lawrence was still called Canada in 1616, but everything north was referred to as New France.

    When explorers and fur traders mapped land in the west and south, "Canada" grew. Land included in "Canada" encompassed what is now the American Midwest, and some land as far south as Louisiana.

    In 1791, Canada became official with the naming of Upper and Lower Canada, they eventually amalgamated and became the Province of Canada.

    On July 1st, 1867, the North America Act formed the Dominion of Canada which included New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.

  • 1 decade ago


    Although time has indelibly imprinted "Canada" on the map of the northern half of the continent of North America, numerous other names were suggested for the proposed confederation in 1867. Among these were: Albertsland, Albionora, Borealia, Britannia, Cabotia, Colonia, Efisga (a combination of the first letters of England, France, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, and Aboriginal lands), Hochelaga, Norland, Superior, Transatlantia, Tuponia (an acrostic for the United Provinces of North America), and Victorialand. The debate was placed in perspective by Thomas D'Arcy McGee, who declared (February 9, 1865), "I read in one newspaper not less than a dozen attempts to derive a new name. One individual chooses Tuponia and another Hochelaga as a suitable name for the new nationality. Now I ask any honourable member of this House how he would feel if he woke up some fine morning and found himself instead of a Canadian, a Tuponian or a Hochelagander." Fortunately for posterity, McGee's wit and reasoning, along with common sense, prevailed, and on July 1, 1867, "the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick" became "one Dominion under the name of Canada".

    While the Dictionary of Canadianisms lists ten possible explanations for the word (ranging from Spanish Acan Nada to a form of Canara or Canata, a place name in southern India), the generally accepted origin may be traced to the writings of Jacques Cartier in 1536. While sailing up the St. Lawrence River, Cartier noticed that the Indians referred to their settlements as kanata, which, from its repetition, the French took to be the name of the entire country. Such it was destined to become in 1867.

    Source: Hamilton, William B. (1978): The Macmillan book of Canadian place names, Macmillan of Canada, Toronto, p. 21

  • 1 decade ago

    It's from the Huron and Iroquoi word "kanata" which means "village". Originally fabled that the first meetings with the natives used this word to lead Jacques Cartier to their village. The current province of quebec was previously named upper and lower Canada, split by the St-Laurence river. The name stuck around and got applied to the whole country.

    That's what we learn in schools at least :)

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I reckon the word canada derives from the language of the huron tribe and in the original form kanata (not sure about the spelling though) meant village, settlement.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Canada is Kanata which means villeage in huron, Jacque Cartier was the first to name the land.

  • 1 decade ago

    Clarke7915 has given you good dope.

    The truth is no one is sure where the name came from. Most think it is from the native word kanata for village. I like the story of the Spanish comment: ca nada: nothing here.

    Source(s): I used to teach Canadian Citizenship classes.
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