The Cover

NYC 99

An Historical Atlas of New York City

New York City began as the Lenape hunting grounds of Mannahatta. Mannahatta became the Dutch trading post of New Amsterdam. New Amsterdam became the English settlement of New York. New York became the the first capitol of America and in time the world's first supercity.

Along the way it’s original landscape of marshes, woodlands and hills has been transformed into a cartesian grid of asphalt, cement and glass. The city has been razed and rebuilt so many times that it now shows very few traces of its past. There is perhaps no other place on earth that has been so completely and relentlessly transformed.

The only real way to see this past is through historic maps and fortunately, with a cartographic heritage that stretches back to the 15th century, there is no shortage of those.

So this is the history of the city in maps.

Right now there are three things you can do here:

– You can start at the beginning and follow the narrative in historic order.
– You can go to the abbreviated Timeline and look at any map you want.
– You can, I suppose, look at the About page.

There are currently
maps in the timeline

The first map is Frederick Merrill’s Geologic Atlas. The most recent map – from 7 Jul 2015 – is the 1755 Maerschalck Map.