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Duke’s plan of New York

Image from Duke’s plan of New York

The Duke's plan of New York
British Library K. Top. cxxv - 35
Copyright © The British Library Board
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This anonymous plan is entitled 'A description of the towne of Mannados or New Amsterdam as it was in September 1661'. It is likely that it is 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 King's Topographical Collection, comprising over 10,000 maps and images covering the whole world, is a centrepiece of the British Library's map collections.

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