Why are so many places named after Manchester and why is one in a jungle?

There is a whole network of cities, towns, homesteads and landscape features named after this city. In North America there are more places named after Manchester than after any other British city, with more than fifty locations in the USA sharing the moniker. 

A pretty overseas Manchester is in Maryland one of the safest towns in the USA

There are also Manchesters in Canada, Jamaica, Australia, South Africa, Suriname and most surprisingly of all, Bolivia. All of the above, of course, aside from Bolivia and Suriname, are in the former British Empire. 

There appear to be two main reasons behind naming places after this Lancastrian city, nostalgia and association. Nostalgia in that having crossed half the world people wanted a reminder of their homeland, and association as the place they settled might have been the first in that area to industrialise or to specialise in textiles. 

Aerial Image Of Manchester Central
The original Manchester Image: Andy Mallins

Trade is the reason behind the most surprising Manchester, the one in Bolivia. This is first mentioned in the Manchester Guardian in the 1890s. The Manchester Guardian is now just The Guardian so unlike all these towns and cities the perfidious paper has shed its Manchester connection. 

Anthony James was born in Manchester and arrived in Bolivia in 1885 to make his fortune at the silver mines in Potosi. However, it would be rubber that proved the great success for James. 

Far away from Potosi in the very remote rain forest province of Pando he established a rubber smelter in association with Simon Patino. He named the town that grew up around the smelter Manchester and he married a Spaniard living in Bolivia, Maria de la Inglesia (Mary of the English). They sent their three children to school in the UK. 

One of the prettiest overseas Manchesters is in Maryland. The population here are very proud to be the safest town in the whole state and one of the safest in the USA. Very like Manchester, UK, then...er...something like that. The prettiest Manchester of all is definitely Manchester by the Sea in Massachusetts with its gorgeous natural harbour. Unfortunately, the town has lent its name to a thoroughly depressing movie from 2016. You can’t win them all.

Header image: Manchester by the Sea, Wikimedia

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