© 2016–19 Haggard Hawks

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30 Mar 2018


If you’re following HH on Instagram, you’ll have found out this week that there’s a town in northeast France simply called Y:



Y stands around 30 miles east of Amiens in the Somme department of Hauts-de-France in northern France. Its name, incidentally, is pronounced as a short “ee”, not as the French name for the letter Y (“ee-greck”, which literally means “Greek Y”). 


Perhaps unsurprisingly Y is the shortest place name in modern France—but it’s not the only single-letter place name in Europe and on a global scale, is one of quite a few similarly frugally-named locations. 


There are several places named Å in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, for instance, in whose local languages the word å essentially means “stream” or “waterway”. 


On the subject of waterways, there’s a river in Scotland named simply E, and another that flows across Dartmoor in southwest England named the O. 


The river D flows into the Pacific Ocean in Lincoln County, Oregon, USA, and there are also two L-shaped lakes each appropriately named “L” in rural Nebraska. 


And if you want to finish this tour back where it started, there was once an official “census-designated place” in Alaska also named Y—though unlike Y in France, this Y was pronounced precisely the same way as the letter Y, and takes its name from a Y-shaped intersection on a local highway.


Once the northernmost and most highly populated single-letter town in the world, alas Y, Alaska, has since changed its name to the slightly more robust Sustina North. Who knows Y... 



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10 Jun 2019

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