Woher kommt der Name “Manhattan”?

Zeichnung eines Dorfes der Lenape-Indianer auf Manhattan – Credit: Lenape Lifeways Inc

Die Lenape-Indianer, die auf der Insel lebten, nannten sie ‘Mannahata’, was soviel wie ‘Insel der vielen Berge’ bedeutet. Der Name passte, denn es gab mindestens 600 Berge von recht unterschiedlicher Höhe. Später wurde aus dem Wort dann ‘Manhattan’. ‘Mannahatta’ kennt man heute vor allem noch als Titel eines berühmten Gedichts, das einer der wichtigsten Poeten der USA, Walt Whitman, über ‘seine’ Stadt schrieb. Hier finden Sie es.

‘Mannahatta’ von Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

I was asking for something specific and perfect for my city,
Whereupon lo! upsprang the aboriginal name.
Now I see what there is in a name, a word, liquid, sane,
unruly, musical, self-sufficient,
I see that the word of my city is that word from of old,
Because I see that word nested in nests of water-bays,
Rich, hemm’d thick all around with sailships and
steamships, an island sixteen miles long, solid-founded,
Numberless crowded streets, high growths of iron, slender,
strong, light, splendidly uprising toward clear skies,
Tides swift and ample, well-loved by me, toward sundown,
The flowing sea-currents, the little islands, larger adjoining
islands, the heights, the villas,
The countless masts, the white shore-steamers, the lighters,
the ferry-boats, the black sea-steamers well-model’d,
The down-town streets, the jobbers’ houses of business, the
houses of business of the ship-merchants and money-
brokers, the river-streets,
Immigrants arriving, fifteen or twenty thousand in a week,
The carts hauling goods, the manly race of drivers of horses,
the brown-faced sailors,
The summer air, the bright sun shining, and the sailing
clouds aloft,
The winter snows, the sleigh-bells, the broken ice in the
river, passing along up or down with the flood-tide or
The mechanics of the city, the masters, well-form’d,
beautiful-faced, looking you straight in the eyes,
Trottoirs throng’d, vehicles, Broadway, the women, the
shops and shows,
A million people–manners free and superb–open voices–
hospitality–the most courageous and friendly young
City of hurried and sparkling waters! city of spires and masts!
City nested in bays! my city!

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