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The story behind the word 'delta'

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Dear Editor:

Several generations of my family have lived in Delta and Delta County. While reading an old history book I recently discovered the origin of Delta's name. Having studied Greek I already knew that delta is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet. But here's how it gained its broader meaning. Alexander the Great granted the Jews of Alexandria, Egypt, the same rights as its Greek inhabitants. At the time of Philo they numbered at least one million and occupied two out of the five quarters of the city. Each quarter was called by one of the first five letters of the Greek alphabet. The wealthiest Jews lived in the quarter near the seashore where the Nile River empties into the Mediterranean Sea. This became known as the Nile Delta, and is still known by that name today. The term "delta" was then adopted for the union of other bodies of water, such as that in Delta, Colo. So you have Alexander the Great to thank for your name.

Steven Hagerman
Grand Junction

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