Hannibal in Colombia, Catalonia, Missouri

Alright, Hannibal did not actually go to South America and Missouri, in large part because he didn’t know that they existed. 😉

But have you ever wondered why more than a million Colombians on the steamy Caribbean coast live in a city called Cartagena? Because Colombia was Spanish, of course, and there is a city in Spain (Murcia) that is called Cartagena. But why is that city called Cartagena? Because it was founded by Hannibal’s brother-in-law, Hasdrubal (not to be confused with his biological brother, also named Hasdrubal), who made it Carthage’s regional capital. He called it Little Carthage, or Little New City, since Carthage is Punic for New City, as mentioned already.

When the great Scipio, another of my heroes and Hannibal’s eventual nemesis, conquered Spain, he renamed it New Carthage (Carthago Nova), thus inadvertently calling it New New City. Oh well, nobody’s perfect.

Now, how about that fantastic party town with all that great Gaudi architecture, Barcelona? Hannibal’s clan or family name, you recall, was Barca. Sounds suspiciously similar, doesn’t it? Barcelona probably started as the “camp of the Barcas”, when Hamilcar, with his young son Hannibal in tow, showed up in Spain to conquer it. Hannibal later would have passed nearby on his way to the Alps and Italy.

And what about that town in Missouri on the Mississippi, where Mark Twain grew up and had his Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn get into all sorts of trouble? It’s called Hannibal. I must assume that it’s named after my hero/antihero, but I’ve not actually been able to verify that. If anybody knows, please drop me a line below.


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