Friday, March 12, 2010

Why "Usona"?

Someone told me that that is the Esperanto name to USA. That is not why I use it. It was suggested that USA starts using the full abbreviation of its name when United South Africa was born, so that these two USAs could be separated. Usona simply means "United States Of North America", which is what USA is.
The name Usonians come from this abbreviation, and is not a reference to Frank Lloyd Wright. It means "a person whose home country is the United States Of North America". Now, if you find that offensive, there is a possibility for you to move out from Usona and get yourself another nationality.

The continent was named - as most people know - after Amerigo Vespucci, who proved that Americas are an independent continent, and not part of Asia.
Now, as most people also know, he wasn't the first to find America, nor Columbus, nor Leif the viking, but the forefathers of Native Americans, which makes the name of the continent a rather typical show of European arrogance.
In fact, we don't talk about "Native Europeans", because we are fully aware of the vast differences of the different nations that can be called "Native Europeans". In my mind the name "Native Americans" is about as offensive, ignorant and arrogant as "Indians".

There is a theory going around though, claiming that Amerigo was born Alberigo, and took the name to honor the new continent. Obviously there is an area and tribe in Nicaragua called Amerrigue, and the new European invaders started using the word to signify the rich new world.
Amerigo is a real name, the Italian form of the name Amalric, existing already in the first millennium, so I don't believe in that theory.

Nevertheless, the "new" continent was named after Amerigo, by a young, German cartographer, in 1507.
Here's his map, the first map to mention America. As you can see, the name is not placed on Northern America, but Southern America. There isn't much of Northern America to speak of.
One antique map shows the continent labelled "North America or Mexicana" and "South America or Peruana".

Then there is the other story: The New land was know as America in Bristol before 1500... it is believed that John Cabot, the person who "discovered" North America, named the land he found to honor the person who gave him the money to sail over Atlantic; Richard Ameryk. Now, as interesting as this theory sounds, there is no evidence of this.

What ever is the reason of calling the continent America, it was called that in 17th century when the first British colonies were created. They were, naturally, called "American colonies" in UK, and when these colonies fought for their independence in late 18th century, they were so used to think of themselves as "American", so they named themselves "United States of America".

India used to mean the whole South-Eastern Asia, which is why we have "East Indies", "West Indies" and "Indochine". It comes from the word Sind, which means "water" and is the name of the river known as Indus (Greek form of the Sanskrit Sindhu). Indus is mainly in the country called Pakistan today, and India itself recognizes the name "Bharat", but we know it by its British name, India, which comes from "British Indian colonies".

Calling Usonians Americans is purely Anglo-chauvinism, so it's no wonder Canadians have no objections to calling Usonians Americans :-> Most countries South from USA have objections, but the anglo-chauvinists simply nullify this saying "they are South-Americans". In Spanish the word "America" means the continent, North and South America as one continent, as it has been known in the most of the world since the European discovery of it. North, South and Central America are seen as subcontinents to the one continent of America.
(This is clearly visible in the Olympic flag, on which there are only five rings, and as far as I know, there has been no objections to this. The olympic flag is only 95 years old.)

Now, most people objecting to calling USAns anything but Americans say:
1) people are stupid if they question this, because Usonians have been called Americans for a very long time
2) USA is the only country in Americas with a name that includes America, and we call also the people from "People's Republic of China" Chinese and not PRCians or People's Republicans and people from RSA South Africans and not RSAns or Republicans.
3) USA is in the middle of Americas, between North America and South America, and therefore deserves the name America.

One must know the reason to why we use a certain name of things. That using the word N-- of a black person, is obviously wrong today, even though it was totally acceptable and in common use only 100 years ago. The N-word is actually younger than using the word "American" of only Usonians.
Now, we call Usonians Americans, because the area that became USA was known as the British American colonies. Other European countries had American colonies as well, but only the British American colonies kept the name after they became independent. Keeping the names the invaders, occupiers and imperialistic colonialists gave to places is justifying and supporting the invasion, occupation and imperialistic colonialism, so of course the Usonians would keep the name, as they are the invaders, occupiers and colonialists.
We shouldn't call Uluru Ayers Rock.
We shouldn't call a Native American woman a squaw, unless we are talking with Algonquians.
And we shouldn't call USA America.

And people from Dominican Republic are not called "American Republicans" even when that is the only American country with that word in it's name. The Usonians would even say that "American Republican" means only a Usonian who is a member of the Republican party of the United States.
No, we call the Dominicans Dominicans, even though it is not clear if we are talking about the citizens of Dominica or Dominican Republic. Now, if we talk about "Dominican American", we are not talking about Dominicans but Usonians with roots in Dominican Republic! By the same "logic" any Cuban isn't "Cuban American", only the Usonians with Cuban roots are.
And one Usonian asked me to use the word "American" when talking about Usonians, so as NOT TO CONFUSE THE USONIANS! ROTFLMAO

USA is not in the middle of Americas. If you think it is, it's just evidence of that you are extremely ignorant, self-centered and chauvinist.

So, no I am not going to use the word "American" of Usonians, and I am going to do my best to encourage others to use the word Usonian as well, because in my mind using the word "American" of only Usonians is offensive and chauvinist.
If Usonians get offended, in my mind, it is they who need to change, and they who have problems with their values and attitudes.

Some sources
The Naming of America
Several discussions in different forums

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