I enjoyed compiling a list of Full Name counties in the United States earlier this week. In a comment "The Basement Geographer" improved the article significantly with a list of similarly-constructed counties in Canada. It was great work on his part. Readers should refer back to his comment and check it out.
That led me to wonder whether I might be able to find examples in other nations. I focused on places where English was an official language either by itself or alongside others, due to my lack of ability to work with other languages. The upside of this approach was that it left lots of nations for the international 12MC audience to investigate if it so chooses.
I found one example in Australia and then I hit the jackpot in South Africa.
County of Deas Thompson, Queensland, Australia
Queensland, Australia contained the County of Deas Thompson, named for Sir Edward Deas Thomson (1800-1879), a "public servant and parliamentarian" in New South Wales, and chancellor of the University of Sydney. As with a couple of examples in the United States (Jo Daviess instead of Daveiss and Anne Arundel instead of Arundell), authorities screwed-up Thomson’s name and in this case inserted an extra letter. Seriously, why would someone fail to proofread a name before affixing it permanently to the landscape?
The county, from the very little data that I could gather, was situated between Rockhampton and Gladstone on Queensland’s Capricorn Coast. I’m certainly no expert in Australian governance although the lack of any tangible information or web presence led me to believe that the so-called County of Deas Thompson couldn’t possibly retain much authority.
I’d never heard of Deas Thomson, the man, although that was hardly surprising given my lack of depth in Australian history. Fortunately the Australian Dictionary of Biography provided a remarkable amount of information, and frankly much more than I cared to review although I included the link in case it sounded interesting to anyone else.
Deas Thomson Street, Vincentia, New South Wales, Australia
Thomson was a competent administrator albeit a lesser functionary in Australian history which is probably why his name adorned a minor county in rural Queensland, a short residential street near the Jervis Bay Territory — and possibly Thompson Point in the general vicinity of the aforementioned county (map) although I couldn’t confirm that last one.
Deas Thompson Point, Northwest Territories, Canada
More inexplicable was Deas Thompson Point (again with the extra letter), a cape in Canada’s Northwest Territories. It wasn’t labeled on the online maps I examined although the coordinates were included in the Natural Resource Canada geographical names data base. Thomson did spend some time in Canada according to his biography although it didn’t seem to merit geographic representation. Clearly he had friends in high places looking out for his good name.
Kuruman, John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality, South Africa
I’m not sure any nation will have more full name geographic units than South Africa. It had 52 districts in total, which were roughly analogous to counties in function, and a dozen of those incorporated full names.
- Alfred Nzo District Municipality: African National Congress political leader (source)
- Chris Hani District Municipality: General-Secretary of the South African Communist Party (source)
- Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality: First President of Zambia (source)
- Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality: ANC official; part of delegation that negotiated peaceful transition of government (source)
- Fezile Dabi District Municipality: ANC leader; author, poet, philosopher (source)
- Frances Baard District Municipality: "Organiser of the African National Congress (ANC) Women’s League and Trade Unionist" (source)
- Gert Sibande District Municipality: "Organised farm workers, member of the ANC, accused in the Treason Trial of 1956, helped expose working conditions in Bethal, provincial president of the Transvaal ANC" (source)
- Joe Gqabi District Municipality: "Photographer, Reporter, Member of the ANC and MK" (source)
- John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality: "Trade unionist, member of the ANC and General Secretary of SACTU, Robben Island prisoner, banned person" (source)
- Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality: Nelson Mandela obviously requires no further explanation.
- Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality: "historian, political activist, author and medical practitioner" (source)
- Pixley ka Seme District Municipality: "Lawyer, journalist, author member of the South African Native National Congress, launched the SANNC newspaper, Abantu Batho, President-General of the ANC" (source)
Admittedly, South Africa was a unique situation. All of these geographic names arose after the peaceful dismantling of apartheid in the early 1990’s. They served as a tangible means to recognize the leaders of the struggle for equality, replacing names that had been imposed by colonial powers.