Finding America

Me and Tarah

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They say that the United States is a nation of immigrants. Of course, historically, a good percentage of these immigrants came from the fair shores of England and, whether they came here on the Mayflower or on later expeditions, there was something these colonialists liked to do a lot: name towns and cities after places back home.
Of course, things have changed a great deal over the centuries, to the point that some of these American places have eclipsed their British counterparts in both size and influence.

Here is a list, in alphabetical order, of 8 places and their U.S. namesakes.

1. Birmingham, West Midlands
As the second most populous city in England, Birmingham remains one of the leading locations for industry, having emerged as a thriving city during the industrial revolution. With a metro population of 3.6 million people, Birmingham, UK, is one of the more cosmopolitan cities in England - comprising of white (57.9%), South Asian (25.4%), black (8.9%), mixed race (4.4%), Chinese (1.2%) and other (2%). 

Birmingham, Alabama
Much like its British namesake, Birmingham, AL, is a major industrial city and was founded as a place where cheap, African-American labour could be employed as a means of out-producing competitors up and down the country. With a metro population of 1.1 million people, Birmingham, AL, is home to the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

2. Boston, Lincolnshire
Located in the county of Lincolnshire, the small town of Boston is home to some 64,600 residents and is notable for landmarks such as St. Botolph's Church and the River Witham. The town is also famous for its 17th century emigrants, who left Britain's fair shores for the New World in order to escape what they perceived to be religious persecution.

Boston, Massachusetts 
The 10th largest metropolitan area in the United States, Boston, MA, is home to almost 4.6 million people. The city was named thus by the very Puritan colonists who had abandoned England. It would play a crucial role in many key moments in U.S. history, including the Boston Massacre and Paul Revere's midnight ride. Today, it is known internationally as the home of the baseball team, the Boston Red Sox and houses Boston University.

3. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Known for its university and subsequent print publishers, Cambridge, UK, was founded in the first century and is known to possess archeological settlements from the Bronze Age and the Roman era. Though it has a relatively small population (122,700), the city is home to some 22,153 students who are among England's elite learners.  

Cambridge, Massachusetts
With a population (105,162) not dissimilar to its British namesake, Cambridge, MA, is also notable for housing one of the world's most famous universities: Harvard. Located north of Boston across the Charles River, Cambridge, MA, was named thus by puritan settlers who had been widely influenced by the theology they practiced at Cambridge University, UK.

4. Dover, Kent
Known for its beautiful white cliffs, the port town of Dover, UK, is the first destination for many travelers leaving France for England by sea. Archeological excavations have dated the town back as far as the Stone Age and it is understood to have been used by seafaring travelers for thousands of years. The White Cliffs of Dover were referenced in Vera Lynn's wartime song of the same name, though interestingly "bluebirds" (as referenced in the song) exist only in the United States.  

Dover, Delaware
As the state capital of Delaware, Dover is aptly located in Kent County (as opposed to the county of Kent) and is also situated near to a mass body of water (the Atlantic). With a population of just 36,047, it is the smallest place on this list. It is home to Delaware State University.

Greenwich, South-East London
The original Greenwich is notable for two very important measurements: the Greenwich Meridian Line (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time. Famously it was the birthplace of many Royal family members from the House of Tudor - including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Among the notable landmarks existing in Greenwich today is the Royal Observatory, which was once one of the world's leading centres for astronomy and navigation. Today it mostly exists as a tourist attraction.

Greenwich, Connecticut
Located on the very south-western tip of Connecticut, Greenwich, CT, has been ranked as the most affluent town in the United States. In fact, not only did Money Magazine rank it #1 in the "Biggest Earner" category in 2005, but the same magazine deemed it the best place to live in America. Geographically it is situated just 40 minutes from Grand Central Station in New York City.

Lancaster, Lancashire
Notable for housing a top 10 university and for its location near to the stunning Lake District, Lancaster boasts a relatively big student population - with 17,415 registered students helping to make up the town's 46,000 population. One of its enduring landmarks - located high on a hill overlooking nearby Morecambe - is Ashton Memorial.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania
With a metro-population of 507,766, Lancaster, PA, is the second most populous city in the South Central Pennsylvania area. Interestingly, the city possesses more CCTV cameras per capita than any other U.S. city - a fact with which most British residents would be able to sympathise. Historically, it was the home of 15th President of the United States, James Buchanan.

York, Yorkshire
The city so good, they named it twice! And with good reason. At roughly 2,000 years old, York possesses a rich history that tops just about anywhere in England, evidence of which can be seen all around the town, as York Minster - completed in 1472 - towers high above the city. But it is not just the Minster that takes you back in time: York is replete with Roman, Norman and Viking-era architecture - including the unmissable Clifford's Tower, as well as the York City Walls.
New York City, New York
It is a little known fact that New York - both the city and the state - were not technically named after the English city, but rather in tribute to the Duke of York. What is known is that New York City, NY, is one of the most famous cities in the world and boasts a metro population of around 18.9 million people. Famous for its many landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Central Park, New York is also home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, the New York Yankees and, well, a stupid amount of other things.

Plymouth, Devon
This is where it all began. In 1620, the Pilgrim Fathers set sail from Plymouth docks for what would eventually become the United States of America. Dating back to the Bronze and Roman period, the city is now among the top 20 most populous in the country. Like many British ports, Plymouth was heavily bombed by the Nazis during World War II, and much of the Luftwaffe's attack on the city is still in evidence today.

Plymouth, MA
Known as "America's Hometown", Plymouth was the site of the colony founded by the aforementioned Pilgrim Fathers, following their arduous journey across the Atlantic on the Mayflower. Since that day, the town is famous for several firsts, including America's first Thanksgiving feast, and is notable for the being the place where New England was started.

This article was written by Laurence Brown. Laurence is a British expat living in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a contributor for BBC America and has written for Anglotopia. He is Editor-in-chief of Lost in the Pond and loves nothing more than to share these articles with anglophiles, expats, and other interested parties on social media. Follow Lost in the Pond on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.


  1. I know a Cheltenham and a Norfolk both in Virginia :)

  2. Nice feature. Though I think the Lancaster and Greenwich (UK) photos make 'em look slightly better than the reality?

  3. Beautiful Images and Post...... I Like Your Post.....


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