why are the islands off Florida called "keys"??
- GLv 61 decade agoFavorite Answer
A cay (also spelled key, but both are pronounced alike as "key") is a small, low island consisting mostly of sand or coral. The word is used almost exclusively in the Caribbean, though it is sometimes used in the context of other tropical environments, such as the Great Barrier Reef and especially in the Florida Keys.
- 1 decade ago
From a website:
One contemporary chronicler of explorer Ponce de Leon, observing the chain of islands on the horizon, said they appeared as men who were suffering; hence they were given the name Los Martires or "the martyrs." No one knows exactly when the first European set foot on one of the Keys, but as exploration and shipping increased, the islands became prominent on nautical maps. The nearby treacherous coral reefs claimed many actual seafaring "martyrs" from the time of early recorded history. The chain was eventually called "keys", also attributed to the Spanish, from cayos, meaning "small islands".Source(s): http://www.florida-keys.fl.us/history.htm
- LouisLv 44 years ago
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I know! I know! I just don't know how to spell it. The original name of Key West was Cayo Oueso - "bone island" (it's like a reef) . That was Americanized into Key West. This word I can't spell - Cayo - I believe was Spanish.
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- Scott FLv 51 decade ago
It's an Anglicization of the Spanish word "cayo," meaning a small island. And "Key West" is actually a misinterpretation of "Cayo Hueso," or Bone Island.
Amazingly, that name pre-dated its popularity as a spring break destination...
- mom2allLv 51 decade ago
The small islands off Florida are called keys, from the Spanish word cayo. It means “rock” or “islet.”
- 4 years ago
Todd T is correct. "Cayo" in Spanish became "key" and "hueso" (bone) was translated as "West" perhaps because of the similar pronunciation. Some of the other Florida's keys have kept their Spanish name: Key Largo (long) - Islamorada (purple island). .
- zenLv 71 decade ago
Cay \Cay\, n.
See Key, a ledge.
WordNet (r) 2.0 [wn]
n : a coral reef off the southern coast of Florida [syn: key,
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 [moby-thes]
20 Moby Thesaurus words for "cay":
ait, archipelago, atoll, bar, continental island, coral head,
coral island, coral reef, holm, insularity, island, island group,
islandology, isle, islet, key, oceanic island, reef, sandbank,
- Hi y´all !Lv 61 decade ago
It comes from the Spanish: Cayo = small island.