What part of South America was described by some of its first explorers as a country of big-footed giants?
#101766. Asked by flem-ish. (Dec 17 08 8:57 PM)
According to Antonio Pigafetta, one of the Magellan expedition's few survivors and its published chronicler, Magellan bestowed the name "Patagão" (or Patagón) on the inhabitants they encountered there, and the name "Patagonia" for the region. Although Pigafetta's account does not describe how this name came about, subsequent popular interpretations gave credence to a derivation meaning 'land of the big feet'. However, this etymology is questionable. The term is most likely derived from an actual character name, "Patagón", a savage creature confronted by Primaleón of Greece, the hero in the homonymous Spanish chivalry novel (or knight-errantry tale) by Francisco Vázquez.
The way I speak Spanish, "Patagonia" could very well mean "big feet," though "Patonia," a word I just this second made up, would be more accurate.
"Pata" means foot, either of an animal, or in a derogatory sense, and the ending "-on[a]" is an augmentative.
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