SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Although Sacramento is known as the capital of the Golden State, founded in 1848 by John Sutter, its definition has a religious meaning.  

Like many cities in California, Sacramento’s name is Spanish. 

Sacramento translates to Sacrament in English.

A sacrament is a religious ceremony or ritual, such as a baptism, held to be a means of divine grace or to be a sign or symbol of a spiritual reality, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. 

The origin of Sacramento’s name

After the city was founded following the California Gold Rush, the origin of Sacramento’s name comes from the Sacramento River.

The river’s name was given by Spanish expeditionary Gabriel Moraga, according to the California State Association of Counties.

Before Moraga gave the river its name, it was known as the Feather River, according to “California Place Names” by Erwin Gustav Gudde. 

The city of Sacramento isn’t the only place with that name in the world, as there is a Sacramento in Kentucky, Nebraska, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. 

It’s unclear if those places were named after the word sacrament, but a Sacramento in Mexico is believed to be connected with the English translation. 

Possible religious connection to a Mexico city name Sacramento

The northern Mexican state of Coahuila is the home of a city name Sacramento, which was founded in 1842 as Villa Nueva (meaning new villa). 

There’s no clear answer to why this city was renamed Sacramento, but it’s believed the name change happened after an officiated mass by Miguel Hidalgo, a catholic priest who was a leader during the Mexican War of Independence. 

 The Mexican city is the municipal seat of Sacramento Municipality, which had a population of 2,063 as of 2005.