Today, we celebrate our independence from Britain. But hints of our colonial past are still all around us. Hundreds of cities and towns across the country borrow their names from places in the United Kingdom. That’s no accident — early settlers were often homesick or hoping to curry favor with wealthy Brits back home. But don’t worry, the plagiarism goes both ways. A visitor to Britain can drop by New York (there’s even a takeout place called The Bronx), Philadelphia (named after the American city) and Hollywood (named in 1250 for the abundance of local holly bushes). Below, we’ve mapped some of the most popular borrowed names on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Manchester, England, was one of the first industrialized cities in the world. The founder of Manchester, N.H., chose the name because he hoped to mirror that British city’s success.
When the Pilgrims landed in the New World, they were probably exhausted. Rather than get creative, they named this second permanent English settlement after their port of departure.
In the days before the Revolutionary War, Oxford, Md., was an international shipping center. Famous residents included Col. Tench Tilghman, an aide-de-camp to Gen. George Washington.
The town of Bristol, R.I., hosted America’s first-ever Fourth of July celebration in 1785. Two dozen people attended the subdued affair, which included prayers, speeches and singing.
Chester, England, has a fierce history; it was established under Emperor Vespasian in 79 A.D. as a Roman fort. Its residents bravely fought the Normans. William the Conquerer even ordered a castle built here.
Dover, England, is a coastal town. It was established in the Middle Ages to repel invasions from continental Europe.
SOURCES: Staff research, U.S. Census, Boston Globe, Manchester.com, Mental Floss, BBC NOTE: Maps include cities, towns, villages and census-designated places. All population numbers are drawn from 2013 Census data