The name Canada is from the Iroquois kanata, meaning town or village. The name appears in the August 1535 journal of explorer Jacques Cartier in reference to the Iroquois village at the site of present-day Quebec City that was home to the chief Donnacona and also in reference to the wider region inhabited by Donnacona’s people. By the 1540s, French maps were referring to the region as Canada. By the early 17th century, the name had become established in English as well.1
1Alan Rayburn, Dictionary of Canadian Place Names (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), xviii;
Illustrated Dictionary of Place Names: United States and Canada, edited by Kelsie B. Harder (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1976), 78.
Copyright 1997-2013, by David Wilton