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New York City


New York, 1838
catalog record

Map of New York, 1778.
catalog record

This very small map from London Magazine, March 1778, has remarkable detail, showing the built city at the southern tip of Manhattan Island. The Hudson River is shown; its alternate name, the North River, is also provided. We can see the Bronx region under its earlier political identity as part of Westchester County. The boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, not yet developed but now located on the western end of Long Island, are labelled here as Nassau County.


New York City and the surrounding countryside, including New Jersey, Connecticut, and Long Island, were first settled by various Native American groups, from the Lenni Lenape in New Jersey to the Shinnecock on eastern Long Island. The Dutch explored the area via Henry Hudson, who, while English, worked for the Dutch. Hudson produced no maps of the area, but his pilot, Robert Juet’s journal, published in 1625, provides evocative descriptive information about the plant and animal life of the region before European settlement changed it all forever. New Amsterdam was the Dutch settlement at the south end of Manhattan, below what is now Wall Street. When the city was captured by the English, it was renamed New York.

The first capital of the United States under the Constitution, in 1789-90, and the new nation's largest
city at that time, New York City was well placed on the Atlantic seaboard for trade and communication. The creation of the Erie Canal turned New York into an international trade center, connecting it directly to Great Lakes area agricultural products. With the opening of the Erie Canal in 1827, New York City became the major entrepot for trade goods between the interior
of America and European and Caribbean markets.


To read more about the mapping of New York City, please consult:

Manhattan in maps, 1527-1995, Cohen, Paul E. and Robert T. Augustyn. New York : Rizzoli International Publications, 1997. catalog record

"The Montresor-Ratzer-Sauthier series of maps of New York City.", Cumming, W. P.
in Imago Mundi, v. 31 (1979), pp. 55-65. catalog record

Manhattan maps; a co-operative list., Haskell, Daniel Carl. New York: The New York Public Library, 1931. Reprinted from the Bulletin of The New York Public Library of April-May & July-October 1930. catalog record

"Manhattan on Paper: The mapping of property and environment in Manhattan since the 1600s, with a check list of property maps and atlases.", Hudson, Alice C. In Biblion, the bulletin of the New York Public Library, vol. I, number 2, Spring 1993, pp. 39-70.
A copy of this article is located at the reference desk in the Map Division

The iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909, compiled from original sources and illustrated by photo-intaglio reproductions of important maps, plans, views and documents in public and private map collections., Stokes, I. N. Phelps. New York: Robert H. Dodd, 1915-1928. 6v. catalog record

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