3. The Hudson River is Labeled the North River on Old Nautical Maps

North_River_Hagstrom_Map_of_Manhattan_1997-NYC-Untapped-CitiesImage via Wikimedia: public domain

The Hudson River has had several names over the years: the Mohicans called it “Mahicannittuck (place of the Mohicans)”, the Dutch referred to it as “Mauritius,” in honor of Prince Maurice of Nassau, and the Iroquois called it “Cahohatatea” (the river). The southernmost portion of the Hudson River also has a nickname: the North River, which refers to the vicinity around New York City and northeastern New Jersey.

If you ask locals about the “North River” today, they’d probably cock their heads in confusion. While the term still retains currency for local mariners, it has fallen out of general use. However, on some nautical charts and maps from the 17th through 19th centuries (and even into the 20th century), what we know as the Hudson is actually labeled as the “North River.” The Hagstrom map, seen above, was published in the 1990s.

A 1909 guidebook to the Hudson Fulton Celebration attributes the origin of the nickname to the English, writing that ” … [they] more often gave it the name of the ‘North River’ … But the popular sense of justice came to call it ‘Hudson’s River,’ and that finally settled down to the ‘Hudson River.’”

As Ephemeral New York notes, however, other sources have also claimed that the Dutch were the ones who called it the North River (the Delaware being the South River).