The US state of Georgia is named after King George II who granted a colonial charter to James Oglethorpe and a group of other trustees in 1732. Oglethorpe named the colony after his patron.1
The etymology of the name of the Eurasian country is disputed. The most likely explanation is that the name is a transliteration of the Russian for the Gurz or Gurdzh people who occupied the land in ancient times.2 Others have linked the country to Saint George, the 3rd century soldier in Emperor Diocletian’s army who was martyred for his Christian faith and who, according to legend, fought and vanquished a dragon.
1Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, edited by Philip Babcock Gove (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1993), 950;
Illustrated Dictionary of Place Names, edited by Kelsie B. Harder (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1976), 197.
1Adrian Room, Place Names of the World (Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1974), 95.
Copyright 1997-2013, by David Wilton