Is the word Britain from Brittany, France or is Brittany from Britain?..
I’ve always heard that the British islands were named Britannia Major (Britain) to distinguish from Britannia Minor (Brittany), in France.
I had also assumed that Brittany came first, and that Britain, or Great Britain, came later.
However, I have recently heard that it was the British that gave the ‘Brittany’ name to the area now in France, that was previously called Armorica.
Armorica, (Aremorica) was the Latin name given for the northwestern extremity of Gaul, now called Brittany, and was home to the Veneti tribe, amongst others. During the Roman Empire it was included in the province of Gallia Lugdunensis.
Britannia was the Latin name given for the large islands that made up the current British Isles.
Brittany, as it is now known, received many immigrants (refugees) from the British Isles in the 5th and 6th centuries, during the time of the Saxon invasion. Due to this it became known as a form of “Little Britain” or Britannia Minor, which later became just Brittany.
Brittany came totally under the French crown, and part of France, with the Treaty of Vannes in 1532.
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