10 February 2018

Places with "Saint" in their name

Found at Strange Maps/BigThink:
The data, collected from the databases of the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency by Polish infographic producers Biqdata, shows 20,808 such places across the continent...

France, now a beacon of 'laïcité' – the French version of secularism – in previous centuries prided itself on being 'la fille ainée de l'église' (the oldest daughter of the church). And its Christian heritage still shows in the sheer number of saintly place-names, from Saint-Denis and Saint-Cloud near Paris to Saint-Brieuc in Brittany and Saint-Laurent-du-Var in the Provence.

No less than 43% of the European total of 'Saint(e)' names occurs in France, with areas of higher density in Normandy, and the Loire and Rhône valleys. The north, northeast and southwest seem to have been less touched by holy topography.

Runner-up, by about half of the French total, is Spain. With 4,444 'San' or 'Santa' topographies, it represents 21.5% of the European total. But here the regional distribution is more skewed than in France, or any other country for that matter: most of Spain is actually fairly saint-name-free...
More at the link, including this list of patron saints and their causes:
Anne (French-Canadian voyageurs), Anthony of Padua (those seeking lost persons or items), Barbara (service personnel of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces), Bernardine of Siena (advertisers), Bernard of Menthon (skiers), Cajetan (the unemployed), Cassian of Imola (stenographers), Cecilia (musicians), Columbanus (motorcyclists), Drogo of Sebourg (coffee-house keepers), Elmo (pyrotechnicians, steeplejacks, chimneysweeps and anyone working at great heights), Fiacre (taxi drivers), Gummarus (lumberjacks), Joan of Arc (soldiers), John Bosco (editors), Joseph of Arimathea (funeral directors), Joseph of Cupertino (astronauts), Kateri (ecologists), Lidwina (ice skaters), Martha (dieticians), Mary Magdalene (hairdressers, pharmacists and prostitutes), Matthew (tax collectors and perfumers, among many others), Philip (pastry chefs), Solange (shepherdesses), Ursula (orphans), Valentine (beekeepers), Vitus (comedians), Wolbodo (students), Zita (waiters).


  1. Living in Melbourne, I always wondered what fell under St Kilda's purview. I read somewhere though that in that case the St is not an abbreviated Saint. Any idea where the name originated (apart from a Scottish place name, that is)?

    1. Wikipedia says that even the Scottish one may not be named for a saint -


    2. http://youtube.com/watch?v=oPoGSOSn2Ek

    3. I do wish QI was on BBC America (along with reruns of Mastermind)

  2. This map is great, but I suspect it should look even denser than it does; for example, it misses out Welsh "Llan-" ("Church of [Saint/Holy]"), so it may miss analogous names in other languages. Still fascinating, though!

  3. Some one should also construct a similar map for the Province of Quebec in Canada where one will find more than a multitude of cities with St., Saint, Sainte, etc.

  4. Also California from the Bay are down. tons of "San's" and Santa's" Thanks Spain!


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