In the musical Hamilton, the titular character raps that he's going to "get a scholarship to King's College". Now, there are several King's Colleges around the world, including one in the setting of New York City, but what Hamilton was actually referring to was Columbia College before it changed its name. When the school was established in 1754, it was by royal charter, so it was named King's College. Due to the American war, the school had to shutter for eight years between 1776 and 1784, and, when it reopened, the royalty obviously wasn't too popular, so they renamed it Columbia after the personification of the USA (in case you haven't heard of her, she was replaced by the Statue of Liberty in popular perception around the 1920s), and it later grew into the well-known university it is today. Columbia was used to cartographically refer to North America as early as the 1730s, and is named after the explorer Christopher Columbus.
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Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.