What’s In a Name: Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island has become a world-renowned beach town and still remains a local gem. You may have lived here for many years, or have made visiting AMI a family tradition.

You might think you know the place like the back of your hand, but do you know what gave Anna Maria its name? Our team at Anna Maria Island Resorts at Cedar Cove did a little research to get to know our beloved island a little better!

First, we checked the Hebrew origin of each name. Which proved to show the names Anna and Maria being a little contradictory in meaning. Anna meaning “full of grace” and Maria meaning “sea of bitterness”. A beautiful-sounding but interesting combination.

Now, let’s look at some legends.

One that traces back to our area’s history of Spanish settlers claims that a Spanish explorer found the island and called it "Ana Maria Cay" in honor of the Virgin Mary and her mother, Ann. However, this is mostly dispelled as a myth because they can’t find any records dating back to that reference.

A common myth claims that Ponce de Leon named the island for the queen of Charles II of Spain, Maria Anna von Der Pfalz-Neuberg, who “sponsored his expedition” to what would become Florida. However, Ponce de Leon died in 1521 and Maria Anna von der Pfalz-Neuburg wasn’t even born until 1667. So while that myth sounds intriguing, it is quite impossible considering their years don’t even nearly overlap.

The noted history most widely claimed is, Anna Maria Island was first settled in the beginning of the 20th century by Tampa Mayor Madison Post. Post decided to name the island for his wife Maria and sister-in-law Anna.

Whether you live here, vacation here, or just wish you did - now you know (maybe) what gave Anna Maria Island its beautiful name.

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Anna Maria Island

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