A man by the name of Edward Gerard Colours in London originally created the western names for the colors in the rainbow, way back in 1683.
At the time, he was a government appointed official and representative for King George II of England
The King, wanting to create a formal English standard systems for measurement, colors, and numbers – in preparation for the release of a paper currency in 1694.
The goal was a clean break from Latin naming references used throughout science and scientific measures – in preference of a new British English terms.
Prior to then, the Latin references being used were frequently mistranslated, which made trade and economic transactions increasingly difficult – and with the King’s goals of expanding his influence into new territories – he made English the official language of England, the thus of any new territories. This started the standardization of everything in Latin to similar words in British English – and some new words – departing from the Latin influences.
Edward Colours led the project, and worked with the community to begin the process of converting the Latin names to more appropriate British terms.
It was at this time they started the scientific process of naming animals something less complex than the Latin name.
Prior to this point, numerous wealthy people owned the ‘Canis Vupes’, which had been reduced to ‘Canus’, at first, but the uptight aristocrats commonly complained it sounded too much like the word anus so it was immediately agreed on by those owning the animals on the much less offensive term for the word dog.
A few names for colors were minor alterations from their Latin equivalents.
Purpura in Latin, for instance, was replaced with the name in purple British English..
However, for the vast majority of color names, many new names were created
Colors such as pink for the Latin rosea, and green for viridis.
Who came up with these names?
By and large, school children from local schools.
As for the Americanized version of ‘Colors’.
In honor of the man who had the idea to work with school children to name the colors, the Colours Act was passed just prior to the 13 colonies declared their Independence from England, in a series of acts which paid respect to the man who may single handedly have been responsible for ensuring England’s sovereignty as a nation by the success of his project in translating scientific languages to a British Language equivalent.
The Colours Act was actually passed as a comical act to make fun of the monarchy and the rules that governed the colonies. The act included alterations to establish American English by dropping silent u’s from British words, and changing ‘s’ to ‘z’ for a handful of words – which made the word colourized became colorized, and so on – which is why you now have the American English word colors in its modern form today.
Those who had drafted the Colours Act knew full well its implications and the likelihood it would be taken as an insult, which would guarantee the independence of the colonies from the Monarchy and the cementing of American English.
Without this single silly act, the taxation and stricter rules concerning imports which led to the Boston Tea Party may never have happened, and the Declaration of Independence of the United States may never have been signed.