Oldest entity still referred primarily to as "New [type of entity]"?
August 28, 2018 4:16 AM   Subscribe

What is the oldest entity still referred primarily to as "New [type of entity]"? This question is inspired by the New Forest (named around 1079 or 1086) and New College, Oxford (named around 1386). Not interested in things that are now usually referred to by other names, such as New Rome or New Spain.
posted by grouse to Grab Bag (19 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure if this counts, but Newcastle upon Tyne was known as "New Castle" from 1080. From Wikipedia:
Robert Curthose, son of William the Conqueror, erected a wooden castle there in the year 1080. The town was henceforth known as Novum Castellum or New Castle.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:28 AM on August 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

Naples' name in Italian, Napoli, is an Italization of the Greek Νεάπολις, Neapolis, which means "new city." Naples was founded in the 500s BC.
posted by Oxydude at 4:34 AM on August 28, 2018 [23 favorites]

The New River, which flows through Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina, is one of the oldest rivers in the world when age is reckoned geologically, as it bisects the Appalachians, which existed before the Atlantic.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:37 AM on August 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

There's the New Testament
posted by dbx at 4:53 AM on August 28, 2018 [16 favorites]

Well, there's the New Kingdom period of Egypt, from about 1550-1077 BC and featuring most of the pharaohs you will have heard of, but I don't think they called it that at the time, and they're not still around.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:16 AM on August 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

Carthage originally means "New City" from Punic.

If modern ruins don't count, then Carthage gave its name to Cartagena Spain, which was originally named by a Roman general in 209 BC as Carthago Nova or "New New city"
posted by vacapinta at 5:29 AM on August 28, 2018 [7 favorites]

Neither of them beat your record, but, both from Wikipedia:

“the settlement of ‘Newport’ [in Wales] is first mentioned as novo burgus established by Robert, Earl of Gloucester in 1126.”
“1200: Newmarket's name was recorded as Novum Forum, a Latin phrase meaning "new market", and the English translation was later applied to give the town its present name.”
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 6:28 AM on August 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Neufchâteau, Vosges: “One of the oldest towns in Grand Est, Neufchâteau was known as Noviomagus during the Roman period, when it was a market town along the Pretorian road connecting Lyon with Trier. Other names from this period include Noviomagus and Neomagus, which had mutated to Novum Castrum by 1094 when Thierry, son of the Duke Gérard I constructed a castle here.”

Neuchâtel, Switzerland: “In 1011, Rudolph III of Burgundy presented a Novum castellum or new castle (Old French neu, now neuf and Old French châtel, now château, in antiquated German: Welschen Nüwenburg or Newenburg am See) on the lake shore to his wife Irmengarde.”
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 6:36 AM on August 28, 2018

Nijmegen in the Netherlands: “In 104 Emperor Trajan renamed the town, which now became known as Ulpia Noviomagus Batavorum, Noviomagus for short (the origin of the current name Nijmegen).” Nij seems to mean ‘new’ in Dutch, I don’t know if ‘megen’ means anything coherent.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 6:52 AM on August 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

BTW, I just checked the French Wikipedia page for Neufchâteau in Vosges, bc it seemed fishy, and it is sceptical of the claim that it derives from Noviomagus; it probably got the name in 1094 when Thierry built his castle, logically enough.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 6:57 AM on August 28, 2018

Anyone interested in medieval music still refers to one period of it around 1300 as the Ars Nova.
posted by Smearcase at 6:59 AM on August 28, 2018

The Pont Neuf is now the oldest bridge in Paris, paradoxically. Completed in 1607. It was entirely new in style (no houses or shops lining the edges, raised sidewalks, and unobstructed views of the river) and construction materials (stone) at the time.
posted by Liesl at 7:20 AM on August 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Shingū (新宮, "new shrine") is a city in Japan whose name refers to Kumano Hayatama Taisha, a Shinto shrine that dates back to at least the 12th century C.E. and has been a site of worship since the 3rd century C.E. or earlier.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:09 AM on August 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Except neuf in french is nine, not new.

edit: oops, I guess it's old French or something, so it does mean "new bridge". My bad.

Neuf still means "new" in modern French: une voiture toute neuve is a "completely new car." Neuf is "new" in the sense of "newly made/constructed" while nouveau is "new to the owner."
posted by andrewesque at 9:41 AM on August 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

Newfoundland—from the Portuguese Terra Nova—which has been inhabited for over 9,000 years.
posted by standardasparagus at 10:01 AM on August 28, 2018

Thanks for all the great answers. It looks like I was unclear—please date entities from the time they were named "New X", not the time they were created.
posted by grouse at 11:02 AM on August 28, 2018

I'm sure there's gotta be something in China.

The Chinese province on Xinjiang ("New frontier" or "New borderland" according to wikipedia) was named during the 1800s, so too late to beat your records.

This list of Chinese city names has over 200 names of places whose names contain the character xin (新), but only a few purport to date early enough to be interesting, including Xin'an (新安府) and Xinping (新平府) which are listed under the Ming dynasty. The wiki for the short-lived Jiaozhi province says it was established when the Ming empire invaded Vietnam, which means those names probably aren't in use today.

Xinxiang says it was founded during the Sui dynasty (581-618) but I'm still trying to find confirmation that a) that's the original name and b) I'm translating it properly (my Chinese is not good).

There's also Fuxin but that probably wasn't named before 1896.
posted by quaking fajita at 12:58 PM on August 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Ok, this site claims that "Xinxiang got its name in AD586 during the Sui Dynasty, when Sui Wendi set up Xinxiang County in the region."

This travel guide says the same thing.
posted by quaking fajita at 1:04 PM on August 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

Thanks again! I'm marking these as best answers:

Naples: oldest entity with its current name derived from a previous name with "new" in it
Nijmegen: oldest entity with "new" in the prevailing language of the area in the name
New Testament: oldest entity with "new" in English in the name
posted by grouse at 8:18 AM on August 30, 2018

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