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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/91

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AMERICAN ABORIGINAL NAMES.

South America has Pachitae; Georgia has Pachita. Brazil has Paculi, or Pacoolee; South Carolina has Pacola, or, as it is written in the old French idiom, Pacolet, the final letter silent. Illinois has Peoria, an ancient Indian name of a lake; South America has Piura and Peru; while Louisiana has the bayou name Pero, the French idiom rendering the old word as Perot.

It is scarcely reasonable to conclude that all these—and many more that are known to exist in the way of coincidences, identities, and similarities in the prehistoric water nomenclature of the continent—are the result of mere accident, or in conformity to any universal lingual law. The vast array of actual correspondences can be accounted for reasonably or properly only on the theory or hypothesis that one common ancestral tongue was known and understood by the race of peoples who overran and colonized the continent in the remote indeterminate past—a race of peoples who so fixed their speech in the river names of the Western world that the words have survived through all the mutations of governments, and through all the changes incident to the human tongue in the countless ages that have intervened since the beginning when the words were first applied here to the waters. It is a very singular and striking fact in human history that the names of rivers or other waters have outlived all other evidences of the prehistoric human speech. There are yet in existence the names of the waters of the very primitive home of man itself, when all other evidences of the Adamic age and tongue have been swept into utter oblivion. We know that the names of most of the waters of the Old World have origin in indeterminate eras: the old word-landmarks have been preserved and perpetuated through the countless changes in nations and tongues since, with no other variations save those incident to the different idioms in the old and the new, our word Nile being the English idiom rendering the Latin Nilus and the Sanskrit Nali. Rhine is the English of the old Rhenus or the older Rina. The ancestral germs in the respective words are easily determined and read in each idiomatic expression.

We find in great frequency in the prehistoric river names of both North and South America a word or term that is variously written in our geographical literature as augua, agua, aqua, auqua, ogga, occa, and otherwise. Many of the old names have come to us through the early Spanish records, these showing in most instances the Spanish form or idiom in writing the (Spanish) term or word for water or river, augua. But we can not believe, with reason in our favor, that wherever the term appears in the writing of the prehistoric names its presence is wholly due to the Spanish influence on the continent. The term occurs in native names in localities where there is no evidence showing that the