In my story, an artificial island nation is built. I need to give it a name!

If somebody were to build a new nation, how would it be named, and what kinds of names might it get? I'm not interested in a list of names - rather, I want ideas about the process that would be used to select a name, and what types of names would potentially be selected.

Some more details:

This story takes place in a nearly utopian liberal political environment. A federation that is culturally similar to Europe that has a lot of say over what happens in a region approximately a quarter of a hemisphere of the planet in size.

This setting is somewhat post-scarcity - there are still socioeconomic classes, but the lowest classes are similar to the lower-middle class in modern America and each nation can easily afford a very generous welfare program that catches virtually everyone who falls into true poverty. Overall, most nations have a government that is a semi-utopian ideal of how modern democracy should work.

One of the challenges facing this federation is that every country within it is close to overpopulated. Since the federation has an abundance of resources but is continually running out of land for people to live, it has a major program of building artificial islands large enough to become small countries. (The islands are sky islands. This is practical because Magic, and it also allows the islands to be built three-dimensionally, making them have a smaller two-dimensional footprint on a map.) Since the islands are artificial, they don't have a lot of natural resources, so most people who live in them either have white-collar jobs or work in construction, providing maintenance for the islands.

There are a few other federations like this around the world. They have different cultures, but are also somewhat utopian in their own ways, and all of the federations have good relationships with each other. Most people are accepting of people of other races.

If this setting sounds too good to be true, that's what I'm aiming for. The conflict comes from a Lovecraftian force threatening to destroy the stability of this political system.

My story focuses on one particular island that starts its nationhood about halfway through the process of being completed. Other nations and the system of federations don't appear much outside of the backstory. But I think that information is relevant for describing why I want to name an artificial island and helps provide some context for how that island might be named.

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ The European Union can not found a new nation. This is not how sovereign entities appear. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jan 20, 2017 at 6:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AlexP I am aware. I'm asking to get ideas for my fictional story, not to get information about the actual European Union. $\endgroup$
    – Kevin
    Jan 20, 2017 at 6:06
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ New sovereign entities appear when a previously existing entity is recognized as a sovereign by other sovereigns. Your sovereign artificial nation will simply continue to use the name of the island as it was before being recognized as sovereign. Are you asking for names of imaginary islands? If that is the case just say so, and indicate whether you want the name to be English-like or Romance-like or Slavic-like or sort-of-classical-Greco-Latin-like. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jan 20, 2017 at 6:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Some examples: Republic of Rose, Principality of Sealand, REM Island $\endgroup$
    – beppe9000
    Jan 20, 2017 at 15:22
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ There are some examples of nations that are quite recent in Europe. For example Kosovo took the name of the Kosovo plains (an actual location), Macedonia took the name of the ancient kingdom of Alexander The Great (Macedon, much to the Greeks dislike), Spain is named after the ancient Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula -Hispania (whose origin is likely Phoenician). The same with Great Britain since "just" Britain (Bretagne) is in the north of France (also: New Zealand is "New" because Zealand is in the Netherlands). $\endgroup$
    – armatita
    Jan 20, 2017 at 15:47

6 Answers 6


New places are often named for:

  1. People influential in founding them (e.g. Louisiana, Virginia).

  2. People who paid for them (e.g. Carnegie Library, Sports Authority Field, the Guggenheim Museum, Ford Motor Company).

  3. Historical figures we are proud of (e.g. Washington, Lincoln, Seneca).

  4. Distinctive physical features of the place, not necessarily true (e.g. Greenland, Iceland, Colorado).

  5. Places the settlers migrated from or wanted to associate themselves with (e.g. New Guinea, New York, New Mexico, Oxford, Cambridge, New Caledonia, Athens, Rome, the Amazon - the original is in the Pontic-Caspian steppe).

  6. Legendary places (e.g. Gilead, Jerusalem, Hades, Olympus).

  7. Virtues and ideals (e.g. Utopia, Tranquility, Serenity, Friendship, Union).

  8. Previous residents (e.g. Miami, Arapahoe, Pueblo, the Dakotas).

  9. Things produced or acquired in trade at a place (e.g. Leadville, Iron Mountain, Britain means "Tin Land" in Punic, and Ireland means "Copper Land").

  10. Historical events (e.g. Centennial for a city in a state formed on the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of the nation).

  11. Neighboring territories (e.g. West Virginia, South Sudan).

  12. A general geographical location (e.g. South Africa, Central African Republic, Copper River, East Timor, South China Sea, Dotsoro - i.e. a point at the intersection of zero latitude and longitude on a map grid).

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ These are exactly the kinds of ideas I was looking for! Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Kevin
    Jan 20, 2017 at 7:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Brasilia, the artificially created capital city of Brasil. $\endgroup$ Jan 20, 2017 at 12:22
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ The Cambridge and Oxford in the UK were named for the bridge over the river Cam, and a ford that Oxen were driven over. We're an inventive bunch. $\endgroup$
    – Prinsig
    Jan 20, 2017 at 14:32
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ As far as I understand it, Greenland is called Greenland because the person who found it called it Greenland to attract people to it. As such, you can list another reason to name a place - propaganda. $\endgroup$
    – SGR
    Jan 20, 2017 at 14:48
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ For added fun, add in other languages: even something mundane like "Hill Town" can sound much more "romantic" if you use a foreign language. By this, I mean a language that is (no longer) dominant in that region - not necessarily a dead language. The U.S. is full of place-names in French, Spanish, and various native tongues. $\endgroup$
    – Ghotir
    Jan 20, 2017 at 20:05

If there was a new nation in the area of the EU, it would be carved out of the area of an existing country. For an island it would be out of the exclusive economic zone of a country.

The place has a name.

If the island were raised in the Dogger Bank, it might become Doggerland again.

An island in the intertidal zone might be called after geographic features in the area, like the IJsseloog.

For a purely fictional name, Greek mythology might be a source of the EU bureaucrats get their choice, or the company name of a sponsor ...

  • $\begingroup$ Oh no... can you imagine how sponsorship would turn out? Red Bull Island? Allianz-land? Bet365 Land? $\endgroup$ Jan 20, 2017 at 13:05
  • $\begingroup$ The Flevopolder in IJsseloog being a good example. It's a new "polder" named after lake Flevo or Flevoland itself. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flevopolder $\endgroup$
    – Abulafia
    Jan 20, 2017 at 13:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ +1 for greek mythology - old enough and respected enough to be accepted by all members without them feeling that one member is being preferred (i.e. jealous that Greece is being chosen as the special culture). $\endgroup$
    – user179876
    Jan 20, 2017 at 15:19

If an entity like the modern European Union were to found a new nation, how would it be named, and what kinds of names might it get?

It's hard to imagine entities like the European Union to found a new nation, because it would rather want to integrate than to split up but I guess if they wanted to it would rather choose a bureaucratic approach maybe with an acronym.

Something like:

  • SAZ5 (Self Administrated Zone Number 5)
  • FES (Free European Sector)
  • EAR-W (European Autonomous Region Wallony)

In my story 35 years ago, I named it Altus, because it means “tall” or something like that. It’s named after the physical attribute, because it’s an inverse hi-rise, building downward starting from a floating platform.

All the place names of settlements were given names evocotive of the location.

Consider the way the specific founders think: who were they? What were their motivations when building the place? Do they have a dead leader they revere? What language are they speaking? Are there any culturally significant stories that they might draw upon?


Europa seems like a safe bet. It perhaps could act as a neutral federal district for the EU

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There would be a lot of satirical mileage in this plot: EU builds artificial island on mid-Atlantic ridge, relocates government from Brussels and Strasburg as some sort of symbolic act, maybe fostering transatlantic harmony. One night during a great storm, it sinks. $\endgroup$
    – nigel222
    Jan 21, 2017 at 13:26
  • Greek-ish names starting with Eu:

    Eudamena (storm-stiller), Eudiaereta (easily separated), Eudiatheta (well placed), Euglossia (sweet-voiced), Euergetema (kindness), Euergeta (benefactrix), Euphamia (praise), Euphantasmia (imaginative), Euphemia (use of good words), Euphanta (pleasant), Eusynallaxia (fairness), Euschemata (well-formed), Euxinia (hospitable), Eucharia (grace), Euchrestia (easily used), Euzygia (well-matched)

  • Purely imaginary names:

    Aclemaareymia Aglonsonytte Alliareidaanyette Antteychiny Apchire Aspoja Atteraree Ballutte Bliilassia Bofmemia Bretteroxure Casraelamiiwatte Chejossy Chewantteany Chobrorea Chonootte Chreemaitte Chrylere Clutinytte Creacossy Creevumia Daareal Dalaorrea Dascolylore Debeal Dejeal Deraria Discha Donquony Dreedinytte Dreonpiny Duploabony Eclepriiffia Ejucmaire Eluginy Equodure Erretteaberee Evoquiny Fachunytte Fejenytte Feveudutte Flasmaenea Flettekaennya Folenytte Freanuny Gajegotte Gareyttenuny Gesmemia Giipreufdea Gloenyny Goblex Gudiareony Hychere Hynnyare Hyphleny Idreechenytte Ifrial Isquany Ivevirosore Jantesnyette Jarraodotte Jemiafureossy Joareossy Jujevanye Kegujumaare Kiipnyutte Lajovuthiereenytte Lepliechire Lessarrua Lintanytte Lissaffany Lonyquoblaolae Lotteudaureomia Majonytte Maslevotte Melemaire Mestteaclossy Modreamaunenytte Molinytte Naaphsy Namasemia Nataazatte Nedocnyny Neslae Nidreyny Niiruowissia Nijassumia Nollemia Noslijeny Nullasse Nureenytte Nytreottee Oflubatte Omiapeeplee Opnenytte Otteheddoa Ovenytitte Pecreiny Peonuny Pidrunyare Piittereissia Pliivassia Pojaquenytte Prasreolassia Preenyymia Qiobumia Quajare Quelomia Quettii Racche Rakittee Rasraal Razedany Ressie Rhachyny Richralure Ridreivua Risttiimaare Rochareuddotte Rommaare Ropsore Runyquissia Rutinytte Saslitte Segiilore Siliisa Sladavore Sluvettereemia Sodureitte Srecpareuny Sreiscossy Talaedere Tanytteamia Tegabboal Telial Tetteonyajare Thagore Thebyre Thepax Thiittehial Thipuny Tiettenejunyumia Tiickerey Tipzenytte Tobreottehamia Totteare Treasiny Triechare Truiloa Ujavefduny Umiabapnue Utterievual Vaffussy Vechonytte Vefnasalany Vereenytte Vezeamaele Vijacfofraere Vocumiabie Waddette Wavumauny Zachumia Zanycheda Ziittenyare Zottehuny Zriipomia


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .