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I have a group of humans who discovered a continent that has no civilisations yet. They settled at a small region and they name their tribe and their lands after one of their Gods. They believed he guided them there, and wanted to honor him.

Over the years, the tribe expands in the region by forming clans. Eventually new tribes are formed, some migrated to further regions and eventually we have the formation of villages, cities, and kingdoms. The setting is fantasy-medieval.

Each kingdom will form their own culture and their own names over the course of thousands of years. But the original tribe will never evolve and become a kingdom. Instead, due to wars over the years they will dissappear completely.

What I would like to do is to have the name they gave to their tribe and land, established as the continents name since everyone originated from this tribe. And have the collective of all humans named after this, even though each will call themselves according to their kingdoms or houses name.

Like in GoT, where the continent is called as Westeros by some, and the collective is called as Westerosi, but they all have different house names. In my case I'd like this to start and be established from the first tribe that was settled on the land.

How can this be done in a way that makes sense during the evolution and establishement of my kingdoms? Note that not all kingdoms or humans will use this name to refer themselves today, but a few will.

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    $\begingroup$ Names for places can originate from the strangest sources, and persist despite great attempts to change them. For example, Mt Buggery in Australia has resisted all attempts to change it, although its companion Mt Arsehole got renamed back in '38, when a hydro scheme needed to be built there. $\endgroup$ – PcMan May 9 at 19:58
  • $\begingroup$ How did the Angles, Picts, Celts, Saxons and Normans resolve this one? $\endgroup$ – Strawberry May 10 at 14:21
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/they name their tribe and their lands after one of their Gods. They believed he guided them there, and wanted to honor him./

The religion stays the same.

The main religion of the people of this land is basically the same religion that the original settlers had. Of course there are variant practices region to region, just as Abrahamic religions today have variant practices over time and place. All the Abrahamic religions recognize the writings in the Hebrew Bible as foundational. In your world, all the variations found in the various kingdoms recognize the original founder god as supreme and all acknowledge the original beliefs of their founders as foundational to their own religion.

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  • $\begingroup$ First thing I thought of too. If everyone fears angering the same God, no-one would ever change the name $\endgroup$ – Whelkaholism May 10 at 13:04
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It sometimes happens, because...

In real history we have the example of Africa

When our cultural ancestors the Romans first set foot on the vast continent on southern shore of the Mediterranean sea, they met a Numidian tribe called the Afri (singular "afer"). They extended the name first to the entire province, and then to the entire northern part of the continent; eventually, in the Age of Discovery, when the entire extent of the continent was known or at least guessed, the name was extended to the entire landmass.

For one small tribe.

Note 1: The ancient Greeks called the continent Libya, from the name of another tribe...

Note 2: One notable member of the tribe is Publius Terentius Afer; he was sold as a slave to a Roman senator, who noticed that his slave-boy was very bright: he paid for his education, and eventually manumitted him. Terence became a famous playwright; some of his comedies, for example The Girl from Andros, are still performed with great success.

Note 3: For another illuminating story, consider that Europe is named after a Middle Eastern princess who crossed the sea on the back of an amorous bull.

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    $\begingroup$ I do not think Africa is a proper example here, since it was a name that was given by Romans, an external force. The OP talks about self-naming. $\endgroup$ – Otkin May 9 at 19:37
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    $\begingroup$ @Otkin: As they say, history does not repeat itself, but it does sometimes rhyme -- historical examples are rarely perfect matches. It's an example of a continent named after a tribe; and the Romans did settle in northern Africa, which remained Roman for a thousand years, until the Arab storm came from the east. There are quite a few semi-famous Romans who used the name "Afer", the African, including Publius Aelius Hadrianus Afer, the father of emperor Hadrian. (As far as I know, there is no native name for Africa. Only Europe and Asia have native-ish names, if we take the Greeks as natives.) $\endgroup$ – AlexP May 9 at 19:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Otkin: The point is that today the Africans themselves use the names Africa and African. It doesn't matter than the name was originally applied to a part of the continent by a civilization which no longer exists, and was extended to the entire continent by geographers who lived more than half a millenium ago. $\endgroup$ – AlexP May 9 at 19:51
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    $\begingroup$ My point is that the OP's people already have a self-identification. It is already part of their cultural identity and tradition. They only need to preserve their cultural heritage as they multiply and spread over the land and the name of the continent will persist. $\endgroup$ – Otkin May 9 at 20:00
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    $\begingroup$ I thought about it a bit more. We are looking at the same thing from different POVs. It seems that you focus on the end result, while I am thinking about the process. Your example is perfectly fine from what I assume to be your POV. However, Africa is not the best example if one focuses on a process that would fit the OP's specs. I do not think there is a fitting historical example for the names of the continents, though (process-wise). All modern names originate from European culture. With this said, there is no real disagreement between us, just slight differences in perspective. $\endgroup$ – Otkin May 10 at 1:51
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Have the tribe trade with a powerful nation somewhere else, in many cases that nation's names come down to the present. In our world the names of Africa, Europe and Asia are based of Roman names for the same areas (although Rome only knew about northern Africa and western Asia, the names were simply applied to greater and greater areas as they became known).

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I have a group of humans who discovered a continent that has no civilisations yet. They settled at a small region and they name their tribe and their lands after one of their Gods.

You also state that 'everyone originated from this tribe'. Therefore, there is no need for any special explanation. Self-identifications are persistent. They constitute a significant and important part of the cultural heritage and tradition. As long as your people keep their cultural heritage, including geographical names, your continent will keep its original name. Please note, that the preservation of the entire culture and tradition is not required. Religion, social norms, and even origin stories may change. However, pronunciation will probably change as the languages change and/or diverge (see, for example, Rus' and Russia).

The name of the continent could change if it were conquered by an external force that has its own name for this continent (see history of Americas and Africa) and has no intention of preserving local cultures.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good points also here that I will use! $\endgroup$ – Ar3ion May 10 at 10:45
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Multiple countries/kingdoms consider themselves to be the "true" descendants of that first tribe. They each consider the other kingdoms to be rebellious lesser "branch" tribes of their own glorious people.

For example:

Fela, the eldest son of the chieftain of the Dajba tribe, led an expedition to establish a new city, from which to branch out and expand across the continent. The chieftain's favourite son, Teb, left to establish another. His daughter and his son-in-law, Lemig, stayed behind.

When the chieftain died, Fela said "As I am the eldest, I am the new chieftain. My city shall be the new capital."

Teb countered "I was the favourite son, so our father would clearly have chosen me to succeed him! I am the new chieftain, and my city shall be the new capital."

Finally, Lemig and his wife said "with you both gone, and the chieftain's health failing, we took up the governance of the tribe. We are the new chieftains, and the capital shall stay where it is."

The peoples of the tribe sided, mostly, with whichever new chieftain was closest to them. Although there were several skirmishes, no one kingdom was able to muster enough force to overcome the other two.

Now, they refer to themselves as "The Fela people of Dajba", "The Dajba followers of Teb", and "The Lemigian Dajbas". As they expand across the land, "Dajba" goes from being the name of the original tribe, to the continent upon which they live.

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  • $\begingroup$ Such example is also very helpful, helps me think about it in a different way which also makes sense! $\endgroup$ – Ar3ion May 10 at 10:47

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