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Many Lisbons in the United StatesIn contrast to the highly localized distribution of Portuguese-Americans in southern New England and central California, there are at least thirty-seven communities in the United States that bear some form of the name of Lisbon, Portugal's capital city and cultural center. These places are located in twenty-six states, primarily in the eastern half of the country. Ironically, there are no Lisbons located in the four states which have been traditionally associated with Portuguese immigration and settlement--Rhode Island, Massachusetts, California, and Hawaii.
Because the naming process, especially for smaller towns and villages, has not always been well documented, it is not possible to determine the motivation for selecting the name "Lisbon" for each of these places. Immigrants from Portugal may have settled in some of these communities, but in most cases, the residents had very little relation to Portugal. The town fathers often selected the name of a European city (as was a common practice during much of the nineteenth century) in anticipation that their newly founded settlement would emulate the larger namesake. However, none of the American Lisbons rivaled its European counterpart in size or importance.
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