Where does the word Yankee come from?

yankee heritage

With the nickname “Yankee”, which is not exactly flattering, US-Americans are often thought of abroad. However, many Europeans who use this pejorative name are not aware that it probably originally referred only to a certain group of settlers, namely the Dutch. The word “Yankee” probably comes from “Janke”, a diminutive of Jan, and corresponds to the German “Hänschen”. This nickname was first used in the 18th century to refer to the Dutch settlers in New England, but already during the War of Secession (1861-1865), Yankees were used to refer to all Americans originating from the northern states. Nowadays, the word Yankee competes with the at best neutral name Ami, a short form of American, which was first used for the US occupying soldiers in Germany and now colloquially means “US citizens”. In Mexico and other American states south of the USA, however, the term gringo (probably derived from griego “Greek”) is used when referring to a (light-skinned) citizen of the USA.

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