The Bronx at 100: How the Borough Got its Name

by Blaine Kaniewski
A A
aerial view of the Bronx

Gryffindor, Wikimedia Commons

It's a long story dating back centuries.

The road to how the Bronx got its name snakes all the way back to the 1600s, and a man named Jonas Bronck.

"Jonas Bronck was a Swedish merchant.  He sailed for the Dutch.  He came from small village called Smaland in Sweden," says Angel Hernandez with the Bronx County Historical Society.

Herndandez says Bronck established a farm in the area now known as Mott Haven.  But, he was only there for four years before he died.  After that a big family called the Morris'  moved into the area, and they essentially gave the Bronx its name. 

'When the Morris family movied from the Island of Barbados they started referring to that piece of the Bronx, what is now called the Bronx, as Bronck's land."

And Hernandez says the name stuck.  But that doesn't explain everything.  Where does the X in the Bronx come from?  Hernandez has his own theory.

"I believe that it was a misspelling or it was just corruption on the name to make it more pronounceable by the English."

But, Hernandez stresses that's just his own theory, and he's always open to debate.

Listen

Share

Tags

WFUV News and Public Affairs

From interviews with newsmakers to features about local issues, the WFUV News team keeps listeners informed about the Tri-State area. Learn more.
How are we doing? Take our WFUV News survey.