The Lost State of American Transylvania
April 7, 2010Posted by on
Did you know that, with a little bit of (bad) luck, the American state Kentucky could have been called “Transylvania”? Not only would we have lost exclusivity to this name, but also fame and touristic potential – Kentucky would have been certainly full of Draculian theme parks by now, and 95% of the world population would have believed Dracula was American. (Right now it’s only about 50% of the population :P)
Or who knows, maybe it would have been for the better – e.g., many Western Union money transfers to Transylvania, USA would have ended up in Transylvania, Romania, making us rich. It happened to me with Georgia.
Background: Thomas Jefferson was fond of the “sylvania” suffix when naming early American states, and almost did it to us. Ultimately, lucky Kentucky was the winner, to everyone’s relief.
“Thomas Jefferson had many ideas for Midwest state names that never materialized. One of those was “Sylvania,” which would comprise what today is the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Sylvania was a popular suffix back in the day and means a “pleasant woodsy area.” William Penn wanted to use it, too, but settled on Pennsylvania in the end — a name more representative of his family legacy.
American pioneer Daniel Boone also had a thing for the “sylvania” suffix. If he’d had his way, Kentucky would have been called Transylvania and we’d be placing bets on horses at the Transylvania Derby. Boone hoped to call the colony’s capital Boonesborough, but much to the explorer’s chagrin, North Carolina and Virginia voted against Transylvania’s existence.”
There were a few other funny ideas roaming around at the time. Forgottonia, for instance. Read the whole article about the “Lost States” here.