The much-quoted adage that Britain had an "empire on which the sun never sets" is generally attributed to the Scottish author John Wilson - writing for the monthly periodical Blackwood's Magazine in 1829 under the pseudonym "Christopher North”.
It was a statement which chimed with the times, neatly encapsulating the sheer size of a realm that spread its arms all the way west into the open spaces of Canada, all the way south to the furthest peripheries of the African continent, south-east into Australasia, and east into the ports and islands of China, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Keener-eyed readers will note that these words were written eight years before the dawn of what was, until recently, the longest royal reign in British history - but Queen Victoria has nonetheless become seen as the embodiment of this country's imperial pomp. She was the monarch who rarely travelled, but whose kingdom took in half of the world; the empress whose inscrutable gaze seemed to cross mountains and oceans.
All this time later, her presence is still etched onto the map in indelible fashion. The British Empire may be no more, but peer across the globe, and you will spot the name of the woman who wore the crown for almost 64 years. It is there in towns and cities, on small green spaces and giant water features, on crashing rivers and rocky summits.
Today - which marks her 200th birthday (she was born in Kensington on May 24 1819) - is the perfect juncture to examine a few of them.
The following list is, of course, far from exhaustive - you can find a "Victoria" of some sort in almost every corner of the planet. But if you want to tell your Australian state from your Zimbabwean waterfall, and your Canadian city from your Cape Town retail zone, then step this way. You won't be following in her footsteps - but the old girl's ghost lingers all the same...
Victoria is a: State
Nowhere, perhaps, is the 19th century's longest-serving ruler more in evidence than in the Australia that was still being colonised as her reign took flight. She is there, in non-specific fashion, as the inspiration for the word "Queensland" - it was she who signed the letter patent which made what is now the country's northeasternmost state a colony in its own right on June 6 1859. She is there too, less plausibly, in the Great Victoria Desert, whose arid sandhills and salt flats swarm across 134,650 square miles of South Australia and Western Australia. But she is there most notably in the state which directly bears her name. Victoria may be the smallest state on the Australian mainland, but it gleams seductively in its capital Melbourne - a city that makes regular appearances in the lists of the planet's most "liveable" locations. It hasn't, though, forgotten its titular ancestor, amid its coffee shops and hipster vibe. Queen Victoria Market (qvm.com.au) is a contemporary of its namesake, having opened in the autumn glow of March 20 1878 - and remains a fundamental part of the city's life more than a century into its existence.
See it for yourself: Austravel (01293 306 066; austravel.com) offers a 22-day "Australian Escape" which spends its first three days in Melbourne, before exploring the rest of Victoria in detail. From £3,169 per person, including international flights.
Victoria is a: Provincial capital
Careless members of pub-quiz trivia teams frequently trip over the identity of British Columbia's administrative kingpin - assuming that colossal, cosmopolitan Vancouver is capital of the country's great west-coast province. In fact, that role falls to the rather smaller Victoria, which lurks a seaplane hop away, across the Strait of Georgia, at the south-eastern tip of Vancouver Island. It is quaint and pretty - but for all this, it still resembles a nerve centre for a 19th century colonial power, mixing stately grandeur (the British Columbia Parliament Buildings, completed in 1897, could be Blenheim Palace if you squint and ignore the cry of seagulls in the air) with grassy tranquility (the huge lawns in front of said legislative complex are a picture of polite British identity). The association is underlined by The Empress (fairmont.com/empress-victoria), a grand vision of a hotel - which, technically, opened seven years after Queen Victoria's death (on January 25 1908), but does little to disentangle itself from her era in its ballrooms and chandeliers.
See it for yourself: Bon Voyage (0800 316 3012; bon-voyage.co.uk) dispenses a nine-day "Whales, Bears and Vancouver" tour of British Columbia which spends two days in Victoria. From £2,379 per person, including flights, accommodation and car rental.
Victoria is a: National capital
The most beautiful of the Indian Ocean archipelagos probably ranks as the most unlikely setting for a city named in honour of a British queen. Lushly tropical and woozy in the heat haze, the islands look, and feel, a far cry from the UK. They were also only ever a minor concern for the European powers. Their isolated position, roughly midway between Africa and India, meant they lay uninhabited until they were claimed by France in 1756 - and they did not fall into British hands until 1794, during the military back-and-forth of the Napoleonic Wars. But they grew as a settlement in the 19th century - not least on the north-east coast of the biggest island, Mahe, where Victoria gradually developed into a busy port and a capital city. It remains a quixotic place, part African in the commotion of its central market - but oddly and traditionally English too in that said hub of stalls is officially known as the Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market (Sir Percy Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke was the governor of the Seychelles from 1947 to 1951). Of more direct tribute to the former queen is the Victoria Clocktower - a focal point of the city in burnished iron. It is a replica of the timepiece which has stood in central London - close to Victoria Station, where Victoria Street and Vauxhall Bridge Road meet - since 1897. The Seychelles version was installed in Victoria, Mahe in 1903 - two years after its namesake died.
See it for yourself: Just Seychelles (01342 547 001; justseychelles.com) offers a 10-night "Mahé, La Digue and Praslin" island-hopping holiday which spends three days on the main island. From £2,079 per person, including all flights, transfers and ferries.
Victoria is a: Harbour
The most famous member, perhaps, of the Victoria Club. The natural gulf between Hong Kong Island and its mainland counterpart, Kowloon, has long been one of the planet's postcard locations, boats inching across it as the city's massed skyscrapers twinkle behind. Hong Kong was, of course, a British outpost between its seizing from China's Qing dynasty via the First Opium War (and the Treaty of Nanking) in 1842, and its handing back to the modern China in 1997. This century and a half was enough to leave a regal imprint on its main waterway. The harbour was renamed in the wake of the Second Opium War (1856-1860), to reassert its status as a colonial possession where the might of her majesty's navy could be found cooling its boots. These days, the most emblematic ships on the surface of Victoria Harbour are the ferries which make their way to the peninsula - one of the planet's most iconic short journeys (starferry.com.hk).
See it for yourself: A seven-night (room-only) getaway to the five-star (and appropriately named) Hotel VIC on the Harbour, flying from Heathrow on June 15, starts at £1,214 a head via British Airways Holidays (0344 4930787; ba.com/holidays).
Victoria is a: Lake
In Uganda, they call it "Nalubaale". There are other evocative names too for a colossal inland sea whose waves roll onto the sands of three African countries (Tanzania and Kenya, as well as Uganda) - "Nam Lolwe" in the Luo language, "Nyanza" in Kinyarwanda. But in many an atlas, the greatest of the Africa's Great Lakes - it is the continent's biggest lake by area - has been known as "Lake Victoria" since 1858, when the British explorer John Hanning Speke encountered it while searching for the source of the Nile. At 23,146 square miles in surface area, it is larger than 71 individual countries (including Croatia, Costa Rica, Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland), and is, indeed, part of the water cycle that Speke was seeking - the White Nile flows from it.
See it for yourself: Steppes Travel (01285 601 758; steppestravel.com) offers a 14-day "Flying Safari from Bwindi to Lake Victoria" which explores Uganda in detail, going gorilla-trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and enjoying safari game drives in Kidepo Valley National Park - before slipping off its shoes at the Pineapple Bay resort on the edge of Lake Victoria. From £9,645 per person, including all flights.
Victoria is a: Waterfall
There can be no doubt that the Lozi term for it, "Mosi-oa-Tunya" - "The Smoke That Thunders" - is a more romantically persuasive proposition. But many of us still refer to what is considered the planet's largest waterfall using the name given to it by David Livingstone on November 16 1855. In that hour, peering at it from what is now the Zambian side of the currents (the opposite bank belongs to Zimbabwe), the Scottish missionary was the first European to lay eyes on what is a true world wonder - a cascade which sees the River Zambezi plunge 355ft (108m). And even if the word "largest" needs clarification - the combination of its height with its width of 5,604ft (1,708m) gives Victoria this title, even though Iguacu Falls in Argentina and Brazil is wider, and Angel Falls in Venezuela is taller - its magnificence needs no questioning. Livingstone was aware of another local name - "Chongwe", which translates as "Place of the Rainbow", in reference to the effect of sunlight on the waterfall's grand plumes of spray. Victoria may have been quite the royal matriarch, but this description sums up the Zambezi's eternal tussle with gravity in a way her distant authority never could.
See it for yourself: Expert Africa (0203 405 6666; expertafrica.com) sells a 13-day "Nyala Safari" that visits two of Zimbabwe's key national parks (Mana Pools National Park; Hwange National Park) for safari sessions - but also spends three nights at the Old Drift Lodge, on the Zambezi near Victoria Falls. From £7,896 a head, with flights.
Victoria is a: Shopping zone
The gentrification of (parts of) Cape Town since the turn of the millennium has turned what was always a spectacular city at the foot of a continent into a 21st century enclave with attractions to match. One of them is certainly the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront (waterfront.co.za), a retail area along the seafront fitted with shops, restaurants and bars (it also has the ferry pier for departures to Robben Island). It pulls in 23 million visitors every year. Its name is not a mis-spelling. It refers to Victoria's second son (and fourth child) - rather than her husband-consort Prince Albert. Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh, was a navy man, and visited Cape Town in 1860. At the time, he was a 16-year-old midshipman aboard HMS Euryalus - and his first steps ashore made big enough headlines for his (and his mother's) name to linger more than 150 years on.
See it for yourself: Kuoni (0800 240 4805; kuoni.co.uk) runs a regular 11-night "Classic South Africa" escorted tour which spends three nights in Cape Town before venturing to the winelands around Stellenbosch. From £3,135 a head, including flights.
Victoria is a: Memorial
Though she famously never set foot on the sub-continent, it is not hard to find traces of the "Empress of India" in the country which stood as one of the key pieces of her imperial jigsaw. Her name remains in Victoria Public Hall in Chennai, and in the long thoroughfare of Victoria Road in Bengalaru (Bangalore) - and while the main railway station in Mumbai was rechristened the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (in honour of the 17th century Indian warrior-king) in 1996, many still refer to it, simply, as the "VT" ("Victoria Terminus"). But she is there most specifically in Kolkata (Calcutta), in the pale marble and architectural nobility of the Victoria Memorial. Look up at this palatial structure - which is almost a British-built take on the Taj Mahal (crossed with an element of St Paul's Cathedral) - and you can easily forget that it had been eclipsed by circumstance by the time it was finished. It was conceived in 1901, in the immediate aftermath of Victoria's death - but did not open to the public until 1921, nine years after the then-Calcutta had slipped from its plinth via George V's decision to relocate the capital of the British Raj to Delhi. More than a century on, the Memorial (victoriamemorial-cal.org) is still eye-catching - and largely serves as an art museum.
See it for yourself: Cox & Kings (0203 642 0861; coxandkings.co.uk) sells a 12-day "Temples & Nizams" tour that wends its way south-west from Kolkata to Hyderabad, spending two nights in the former en route. From £2,545 per person, including flights.
Victoria is a: Park
If you are a true devotee of geographical Victoriana, you may already be aware that the two key cities of New Zealand's North Island - big beast Auckland, national capital Wellington - can each claim a "Mount Victoria" (although both are hills rather than mountains - and the volcanic outcrop in question in the former is also known as "Takarunga"). Auckland pays quadruple homage, however, serving up both Victoria Street and Queen Street (the city's main commercial thoroughfare) - and the green lung of Victoria Park. This popular space for recreation opened in 1905, taking its name in tribute to the woman who had died four years earlier, and 11,000 miles away.
See it for yourself: Discover The World (01737 888 367; discover-the-world.com) dispenses a comprehensive 20-night "Discover Aotearoa" road-trip which begins its long progress in Auckland. From £3,553 per person, not including international flights.
Victoria is a: Mountain
You can't blame the British mountaineers who scaled it in 1888 and 1889 - and named it in honour of the then-queen - for the fact that Victoria Peak spent more than 100 years being erroneously heralded as Belize’s highest summit. This was a reasonable assumption about what - at 3,670 ft (1,120m) - is a sizeable chunk of the Maya Mountains, yet is still only the second highest bluff in the small Central American country. It was not until the 21st century that new technology and a reassessment of the country's topography spotted that the (relatively) nearby Doyle's Delight was marginally taller, at 3,688 ft (1,124m). The reference here is to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - and his 1912 novel The Lost World, which placed its fantastical encounters with dinosaurs, not specifically in Belize, but in Amazonian South America. Why the local fascination with two important figures of Britain's 19th century? Because - in what is a largely overlooked segment of UK history, and was a rarity for Central America - Belize was a British colony between 1862 and 1981, known until 1973 as "British Honduras".
See it for yourself: Journey Latin America (020 3131 7624; journeylatinamerica.co.uk) sells an 11-day "Active Belize Jungle and Reef Adventure" which explores the country by bike, kayak and stand-up paddle-board - and meanders into the Maya Mountains. From £2,837 per person - not including international flights.