Hispanic Division: Back to Many Lisbons in the United States

New York City or Lisbon, Portugal?

Although New York City, America's largest city, was originally known as "New Amsterdam" and not "Lisbon," it was erroneously portrayed as Lisbon in the late-seventeenth-century map shown here. In 1672, the French publisher C. L. Jollain issued this bird's-eye view of New Amsterdam, which was renamed "New York" after the British took complete control of the Dutch colony in 1674. As if to attest to its geographical accuracy, this representation includes an inset showing the relative location of New Amsterdam within the New Holland colony and applies place names that are an indication of a North American location.

However, this is a fictitious map! In fact, the street pattern and the buildings are those of late sixteenth-century Lisbon. These elements of the map were copied from a popular image of Lisbon that was originally published in Georg Braun and Franz Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum (Cologne, 1572-1618) and republished several times in other atlases during the seventeenth century.

C. L. Jollain. Nowel Amsterdam in l'Amerique. 1672. Engraving. Geography and Map Division, G3804 .N4 1672 .J6 Vault (29).

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Communities in the United States Named Lisbon

Lisbon, Howard County, Maryland

Lisbon, Lisbon Center, and Lisbon Falls, Androscoggin County, Maine

New York City or Lisbon, Portugal?

Late Sixteenth-Century Map of Lisbon, Portugal