Verlagsinformation :: Publisher's information
- Ready reference for a quick check on poplulation, location, or even spelling of a place name.
- Source for historical, political, social, economic, physical and other geographic data about the world's places for students and scholars in a wide range of fields, from political, social, and urban history to geography, economic development, area studies, economics, anthropology.
- Source of professional data about local economies and local politics, concise profiles of an area's people, industries, resources, and strategic concerns and issues.
The definition of the term gazetteer, when used in a geographical sense, is a "geographical index or dictionary." When used in atlases or map indexes, gazetteers are simply assemblages of alphabetically-ordered listings of places or physical/cultural features. More extensive gazetteers include brief descriptions along with the listings. The comprehensive gazetteer, however, is an encyclopedia of geographical places and features. The Columbia Gazetteer of the World is such an encyclopedia.
This comprehensive, new work builds on the traditions established by two landmark forerunners that set the world standard for their times: Thomas Baldwin's Pronouncing Gazetteer, published in 1845 and then in 1855 as The Lippincott Pronouncing Gazetteer, and the Columbia-Lippincott Gazetteer of the World, published one century later in 1952. The first reflected a world dominated by European powers and imperialism; the second depicted a world whose many parts had been affected by the impact of World War II, and the influence of the superpowers that had emerged from that war - the United States and the Soviet Union.
Now, as the world enters the twenty-first century, the sweeping economic and geopolitical changes of the past half century highlight the need for an entirely new, inclusive gazetteer. The end of colonialism and the breakups of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia have quadrupled the number of national states. In 1945, the United Nations had 51 original members; in 1997, it had 183. The world population has exploded from an estimated 2.55 billion in 1950 to 5.8 billion in 1996. The period has been marked by the emergence of new cities and towns, many of them planned, as well as dams, reservoirs, national parks, and airports. Centers of large, older cities have been renewed, old neighborhoods have disappeared, and new ones have emerged. Features unknown to the 1950's, like nuclear plant sites, shopping malls, and theme parks, are now important elements of the geographic landscape.
As a consequence of these and other changes, 30,000 new entries enhance this Gazetteer, and most of the remaining entries have been substantially changed. The information contained therein constitutes a gazetteer unrivaled in scope and unmatched in authority. Supervised by a board of 150 leading geographical scholars from all parts of the world, the entries reflect the input of specialists who are intimately familiar with a wide variety of sources, some of which are not readily accessible, and with personal knowledge of the places and features that these sources have described. The editorial board members have selected, arranged, classified and interpreted the information to provide an up-to-date authoritative reference work of value to librarians, academic researchers, students, writers, people in industry and government, travelers, and all others for whom places hold fascination, and who require reliable data about them.
The entries include information on many of the following: demography; physical geography; political boundaries; industry, trade, and service activities; agriculture; cultural, historical, and archeological points of interest; transportation lines; longitude, latitude, and elevations; distance to relevant places; pronunciations; official local government place-names and changed or variant names and spellings.Their length varies from a brief notation on a small village to an essay on a country or region.
In selecting the entries, the overriding goal was to provide maximum coverage of places and features, while achieving a balanced profile of each country. The criteria for including places are population threshholds, reflecting differing national environments; area size; political administrative frameworks; and economic, political, and cultural significance. Thus, the Gazetteer includes every incorporated place and county in the United States, along with several thousand unincorporated places, special-purpose sites, and physical features. There are a total of 40,000 entries for the United States. Historically noteworthy locations, such as archeological and biblical sites and ancient cities, towns, trade routes, and geographic features, supplement the coverage of the modern world.
The following entry categories indicate the scope, coverage and sheer amount of information contained in the Gazetteer:
- The political world - major geographic regions, counties, provinces, regions, states, districts, capitals, cities, town, villages, neighborhoods, special districts.
- The physical world - continents, oceans, seas, gulfs, lakes, lagoons, rivers, bays, inlets, channels, streams, islands, archipelagos, peninsulas, atolls, mountains, mountain ranges, canyons, deserts, valleys, glaciers, volcanoes.
- Special places - national parks, reserves and monuments, historic and archeological sites, resorts, airports, ports, dams, nuclear plants, mines, canals, shopping malls, theme parks, stadia, military bases, fortified lines, mythic places.
This Gazetteer reflects developments of the past half century, not only in its inclusion of new places, but in its depiction of the profound changes that have affected so many of the places included in the 1952 Columbia Lippincott Gazetteer. Factories and industrial plants have disappeared from many centers, particularly in the United States and in certain parts of Europe, often replaced by post-industrial, high-tech service or tourist enterprises, while manufacturing has shifted to other countries, many of them in the developing world. In Japan and elsewhere, thousands of agricultural villages have become absorbed within the urbanized sprawl. Major mining enterprises have closed in many parts of the world, while new mining areas have been developed elsewhere. New agricultural crops have replaced ones that formerly predominated in farming areas, and highways, airports, and military bases have been newly built, as well as replaced.
The Columbia Gazetteer of the World serves also as a unique guide to the ways in which names offer insight into the political, cultural, religious, and aesthetic meanings that people ascribe to particular environments, and in which the values of places change. The dynamism of the world system since World War II is graphically illustrated by changed names for both renewed and pre-existing places.
The end of colonialism brought about a spate of name changes to mark the establishment of the new states - Southern Rhodesia is now Zimbabwe and Northern Rhodesia is Zambia; Ghana has replaced the Gold Coast, Namibia was Southwest Africa, Ethiopia was Abyssinia, Belize was British Honduras, and Suriname was the former Dutch Guiana. Numerous city name changes also reflect this surge of new nationhood, such as Harare (Salisbury), Kabwe (Broken Hill), Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Yangon (Rangoon), Kinshasa (Leopoldville), Lubumbashi (Elizabethville) and Kisangani (Stanleyville). Such changes reflect the symbolic importance of place-names in nation building and in the shaping or reshaping of national values. Europoort and London's Canary Wharf are examples of renewed areas, and Brasília, Cancún, Reston, and Yamoussoukro represent totally new places.
When political systems and national goals change, place-name changes sometimes symbolize efforts to resurrect the past. The name "Israel" holds deep emotional and historic meaning to a people who created a modern state in the ancient Land of Israel. The purpose of substituting the "Khmer Republic" for "Cambodia" was to evoke the greatness of the ancient Khmer Empire and civilization. In the Congo Basin, colonial history, modern nationalism, and revolution are all reflected in the various name changes that have been made. In 1908, the kingdom which Belgian King Leopold II called the Congo Free State, became the Belgian Congo when the king turned over to the state the private domain that he had acquired in 1885. With independence from Belgium in 1960, the name was changed to Republic of the Congo. Four years later, following the agreement of the Katanga to rejoin the country after a bloody civil war, the name became the Democratic Republic of the Congo, only to be re-named Zaïre by Mobutu Sese Seko during his dictatorial reign. When Mobutu was toppled in the civil war of 1997, the name was changed back to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
An important aspect of name changing is "name-cleansing." At the end of world War II, massive shifts in population occurred as territorial annexations took place in Eastern Europe. With the exchange of land and populations cities were renamed - from Breslau to Wroclaw, Danzig to Gdansk, and Konigsberg to Kaliningrad.
Internal ideological shifts also inspire name changes - those of St. Petersburg to Petrograd, then to Leningrad, and back to St. Petersburg reflect revolutionary changes within Russia. The ancient city of Byzantium became the site for the Roman Empire's new capital, built by the Emperor Constantine. The new city was called "Constantinople," a name which survived through the restored Byzantine and early Ottoman Empires. After A.D. 1453 it became known as both Constantinople and Istanbul. In revolutionary, modern Turkey, it formally took the name of Istanbul.
As national territorial and administrative structures expand or contract, place-names also evolve. Russia has gone from Kievan Russia to the Duchy of Moscow to Russia to the U.S.S.R., and now back to Russia. In 1958, upon its political union with Syria, Egypt became the United Arab Republic. A federation with Yemen immediately followed, with the name changed to United Arab States. In 1963, Syria withdrew, soon followed by Yemen. Today's official name is the Arab Republic of Egypt, although UAR is still sometimes used.
When new administrative units are created within a state, new names have to be generated and old names often disappear. Sudan had nine provinces until 1980, and then sixteen provinces until 1996. It now has 26 provinces, presenting a challenge in keeping up with the country's geographic names.
Finally, the same place may have competing names. The Persian Gulf is called the Arabian gulf by Arabs. The West Bank of Palestine is called Judea and Samaria by Israelis. Egypt's Lake Nasser is Lake Nubia to Sudanese.
To this welter of old, new, and changed place-names, the Columbia Gazetteer provides a definitive and reliable guide.
Spelling and pronunciation present a complex of choices. The spelling used in the Gazetteer had to take into consideration that English language spellings of foreign or native names vary considerably. While relying heavily on the spellings used by the U.S. Department of Interior's Board of Geographic Names both for places within the United States and for foreign names, the editors have, at times, recommended alternative spellings to reflect native pronunciations of names transliterated from native tongues.
In general, the main headings of entries are the names used by the official national agencies and transliterated into English. Where such names have English versions or alternative local names, these are included and may also appear as cross-references. However, English versions are used as the main headings for famous places widely known in English, with the native terms following. Thus, Rome is the main headline, and Roma follows. Jerusalem is followed by Yerushalayim and Al Quds, Cairo by Al Qahirah, Damascus by Dimashq, and Moscow by Moskva.
Names in many languages, especially those whose accent marks are generally familiar to English speaking readers, are shown fully accented. For others, the accents are indicated once, in italics, at the beginning of each entry, but are not repeated within the article. In the case of foreign languages that do not use the Latin alphabet, such as Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese and Russian, there may be alternative transliterated spellings, as well as the common transliterated spellings and the English language version.
Place-name pronunciation in this Gazetteer represents a break from older approaches, including the one followed by its predecessor. This volume follows the pronunciation guide found in Kenneth G. Wilson's The Columbia Guide to Standard American English, 1993. This pronunciation guide, used by news broadcasters and newspaper editors, is based on a rhyming scheme for words in the English language. Since it makes no provision for the sounds of place-names not common in English, the guide has been augmented by variants developed for the Gazetteer by country specialists. As an example, Prof. Chauncy D. Harris developed unique representations of Russian pronunciations based on his summarization of the principles of the Russian sound system - this takes into account variations in pronunciation of vowels depending on their position in relation to accented syllables. Variations in consonants depend on their relationship to vowels and the position of the consonant in the word.
Developing the systems for pronunciations of transliterated foreign words was a complex process, but the results succeed in striking a balance between the goal of simplicity in English-language soundings and faithfulness to sounds that are not common in English.
Many of the entries are located according to their longitude and latitude. Geographical coordinates are often, but not always, also accompanied by straight-line distances, in miles and kilometers, from a larger feature. Official sources are used to designate descriptions of features such as elevation, area, length of a river, or capacity of a reservoir. When authoritative sources are contradictory, both figures may be given, or the choice has been made by the specialist. When precise figures seem questionable or a rounding off is otherwise called for, circa (c.) is used for the statistics.
Wherever possible, population data are included according to the date of the last official national census or the most recent available figures. When these statistics are greatly out-of-date (for example, Lebanon's last official census was taken in 1943), estimates are offered for the entry, and so noted. Such estimates and their dates are usually available for countries, states or provinces, counties, large cities, and some towns. In most cases the estimates are drawn from local or other authoritative sources. In all such cases, the judgement of the country specialist has been decisive in selecting the estimate to be offered.
Accurate population counts or estimates may not be available for small villages and towns, or they may be available for subdistrict-level forms of government such as municipios, within which the village or town is the center. For example, the figure for a municipio may refer to the population of the entire subdistrict, yet it may be given as the population of the village or town that is its core. Entries indicate this distinction.
The information on agriculture, industry, services, climate, and relief is drawn from official sources, journal and newspaper reports, and field knowledge. Wherever possible, the details of the data are applied to specific towns or features. In addition, this information is generalized in the descriptions of larger places, such as counties and districts, states and provinces, countries and larger regions. Members of the editorial board and editorial researchers have consulted government agencies, libraries, and scholars throughout the world on data acquisitions and reliability. The insightful and cooperative responses to our many inquiries has been of immeasurable help, and also reflects a widespread appreciation for he the need of an up-to-date, comprehensive English-language gazetteer.