A Straight Dope Classic from Cecil's Storehouse of Human Knowledge

Most towns beginning with "Santa" are named after saints. So who was Fe?

October 9, 1998

Dear Cecil:

Santa Barbara I understand. Santa Clara, Santa Rosa, sure. But who was Fe?

Cecil replies:

I used to wondered about this myself. Saint Fe? Patron saint of truck-stop waitresses? But I suppressed this unworthy thought. "Santa" can also mean holy, and "fe" means faith, so Santa Fe = holy faith.  The full name of the New Mexico state capital is "Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis," or "Royal Village of the Holy Faith of St. Francis of Assisi." One sees why they shortened it to Santa Fe. 

Incidentally, there is a Saint Fe, more commonly known as Saint Faith. Read all about her at www.stfaith.com/saint%20faith.htm.   

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