By Eric ShackleEveryone knows a city that's usually called LA, but there are scads of places around the world with even shorter names.
Incidentally, Los Angeles is really an abbreviation of its full name: El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula (The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of the River Porciuncula).
Here's a list of places with single-letter names:
Å, a village in Andøy municipality, Nordland, Norway
Å, a village in Moskenes municipality, Nordland, Norway
Å, a village in Meldal municipality, Sør-Trøndelag, Norway
Å, a village in Åfjord municipality, Sør-Trøndelag, Norway
Å, a village in Ibestad municipality, Troms, Norway
Å, a village in Lavangen municipality, Troms, Norway
Å, a village in Tranøy municipality, Troms, Norway
Å, a place in Funen, Denmark.
Å, a village in Norrköping municipality, Östergötland, Sweden
B, a village in central Ohio, United States
D, a river in Oregon, United States
Ά, an ecologic hippie community in Buenos Aires, Argentina
E, a mountain in Hokkaidō, Japan
E, a river in the Highlands of Scotland
I, a town in Shandong Sheng, Dongshan county of Fujian province, China
O, several farms in Norway
Ô, a castle near Mortrée, France
O, a river in Devon, England
Ö, a village in Sweden.
Ø, a hill in Jutland, Denmark.
Q, a village in Massachusetts, United States
U, a place in Panama
Ú, a place in Madagascar
Y, a settlement in Alaska, United States
Y, a commune in the department of Somme, France
And here's a story about just one of those places, a tiny village in France, not far from Paris, that's called Y (its 86 inhabitants pronounce it as E, and call themselves Ypsiloniens or Ypsiloniennes).
Y is near the township of Ham ans Athies in the department of Somme, in Picardy. In World War I (1914-18), the Somme, on the Western Front, was a bloody battefield, where more than a million British, French and German troops were killed in two horrific encounters.
Famous German flying ace Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron) mentioned Y in his book Der Rote Kampfflieger, published in 1917. An English language version was published in 1918 as The Red Battle Flyer, and today he's remembered as the Red Baron.
"We went on a shooting expedition on the twentieth of April," he wrote. "We came home very late and lost Schäfer on the way. Of course everyone hoped that he would come to land before dark. It struck nine, it struck ten, but no Schäfer was visible.
"His benzine could not last so long. Consequently, he had landed somewhere, for no one was willing to admit that he had been shot down. No one dared to mention the possibility. Still, everyone was afraid for him.
"The ubiquitous telephone was set in motion in order to find out whether a flying man had come down anywhere. Nobody could give us information. No Division and no Brigade had seen anything of him. We felt very uncomfortable. At last we went to bed. All of us were perfectly convinced that he would turn up in the end.
"At two o'clock, after midnight, I was suddenly awakened. The telephone orderly, beaming with pleasure, reported to me: 'Schäfer is in the Village of Y, and would like to be fetched home.'"
Pictures of A and Y.
Posted From Sydney, Australia, at 16:00 Thursday, 12 January 2012