Istanbul (not Constantinople)

Istanbul (not Constantinople)

Even old New York is not old New York in this map. It appears to be old Lisbon:

This map is doubly strange. It simultaneously depicts the wrong city, and under a previous name — the former error committed on purpose, the latter possibly unwittingly.


[T]he main map — one of the first bird’s eye views of a North American city — is not of New Amsterdam. This depiction of a hilly metropolis, densely packed with churches and palaces, bears no resemblance to the fledgling city then clinging to Manhattan’s southern tip. It is an almost identical copy of a popular map of Lisbon, the Portuguese capital.

Was it the windmills on the horizon of the original that gave Jollain [the cartographer] the idea to transmogrify Old Lisbon into New Amsterdam? The street grid, buildings and topography are copied fairly exactly and in great detail; but however blatant the forgery is, Jollain took pains to infuse it with a Dutch atmosphere.

Over at Strangemaps, the question is, simply: why was this blatant act of forgery committed (see the original Lisbon map)? Perhaps Jollain was trying to infuse the new culture with a culture he knew by visual association. It’s curious indeed. One thing is certain: he could have used some advice.

[Image: Nowel Amsterdam (but not quite), 1672. via]