Like a Virgin
The Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, divided between UK and US administration, were named by Christopher Columbus after Saint Ursula and her 11,000 virgins. Columbus discovered the islands, at the eastern extremity of the Greater Antilles, in 1493 on his second voyage to the Americas, on October 21 – the feast of St Ursula, a Christian martyr.
Ursula was believed to have been a princess of Roman Britain who went on a pilgrimage to Rome accompanied by 11,000 virgins. On their return journey they were attacked by Huns near Cologne; Attila offered to spare Ursula's life if she would marry him, but she refused and was put to death and her vast maidenly retinue all massacred. All this is mere conjecture; furthermore, Ursula suffered a greater ignominy when she was deleted from the Catholic Church's official calendar of saints in 1969. It is now thought by some scholars that even the 11,000 is simply a misreading of the name of one of Ursula's companions, Undecimilla, as undecim millia (11,000); or that the abbreviation XI M V for 11 martyred virgins was misunderstood as the Roman numerals for 11,000.
(More information on this topic can be found in Whatever Happened to Tanganyika? The Place Names that History Left Behind by Harry Campbell, Portico, London, 2007.)