Check Out This Incredible Map of New Amsterdam From 1664

A description of the towne of Mannados or New Amsterdam, circa 1664
A description of the towne of Mannados or New Amsterdam, circa 1664

This is one of the oldest maps of what is now known as New York City. The town of Mannados, aka New Amsterdam, was a tiny community on the southern tip of Manhattan island in 1664, and this map reflects that. The streets and buildings aren't listed in much detail, but there are some interesting bits on the map, such as "Hudson's River" and "Longe Isle Land".

The map is now in the possession of the British Library as part of the King's Topographical Collection, where it has the following description:

This anonymous plan is . . . likely . . . an English copy of a map made for the Dutch authorities in 1661 by Jacques Cortelyou which may have been handed over to the English by the last Dutch governor, Pieter Stuyvesant following his surrender of the town in September 1664.

This map of New York may well have been created from the original Dutch map by one of several draughtsmen living in alleys in the docklands east of the Tower of London who specialised in decorative chart-making. English ships can be clearly seen in the harbour emphasisng their victory over the Dutch.

The town wall, that was to give its name to Wall Street and the Battery (or fortification), the site of which is now covered by Battery Park, can also be identified. The map's name recalls its presentation to the Duke of York, the future James II, at the time when he was being asked for permission for the town to be renamed after him. The map formed part of the royal map collection from then on, eventually being incorporated into the geographical collections assembled by George III. These were presented to the British Museum, with George III's library, in the course of the 1820s.

The Boston Public Library has an extremely high resolution digital scan you can download for free.

Matt Coneybeare

Matt Coneybeare

Editor in Chief

Matt enjoys exploring the City's with his partner and son. He is an avid marathon runner, and spends most of his time eating, running, and working on cool stuff.

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