The Pioneering Danites
From Wake Up! January 1980
Dan was the pioneering clan (Deuteronomy 33, 22), and the great rivers and waterways of Europe bear witness to the tribal habit of naming places ‘after their father DAN’ (Judges 18, 29).
The following are a few examples of this custom culled from Dan: Lost and Found by the late H. H. Pain.
In Europe, there are the DANube, the DANaster (D’Niester), the DANapris (D’Nieper), the Russian DON, the RhoDAN (now the Rhone), DANzig on the Co-DAN Gulf (now the Baltic), and DENmark or DANmark (DAN’S Land). There is a River DON in Aberdeenshire and another in Yorkshire. On the latter stands DONcaster which, on an old map, is spelt DONcastre. Devonshire, again, is the modern name for DANnonia.
In Ireland there are, among many others: DUNdalk, DONegal and DONaghadee -- the last-named, translated, becoming ‘DAN my witness’.
Dan, noted its maritime activities (Judges 5, 17), also left its name along the Mediterranean coast. The three outstanding examples are MauriTANia (the northern African coast of Algeria) which, in the HEBREW, means a settlement or colony of DAN; and SarDINia (Sar-DON-i) meaning emigrant, dispersed or detached DANITES.
Keating, in his History of Ireland, tells us that:
“The Dan-ans were a people of great learning and wealth: they left Greece after a battle with the Assyrians and went to Ireland and also to Danmark, and called it DANmares, Dan's country.”
A bold, seafaring people, they had to fight their way into the Isles of Britain against the strenuous opposition of their kinsmen, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes. They came across the North Sea, during the ninth and tenth centuries, from Denmark and ScanDINavia. Both these place names contain the appellative ‘DAN’. It is highly probable that many of these DANES were DANITES, who were in the habit of naming places “after the name of Dan, their father”.
After a long struggle with the Saxon kingdom, which was predominant under Alfred the Great, the Danes under Canute gained the upper hand and the kingdom became gradually welded together -- ready for the final consolidation under William the Conqueror when the rearguard of wandering ISRAEL arrived in the Appointed Place.