Where Cape May Got It’s Name

Are you anything like us and wondered where Cape May got it’s name?
It’s the kind of question that had me digging deep into the history books to find.

Just think about this, Manhattan was first mapped in 1609 by Henry Hudson. He set up the lower region of the island as a trading post by colonists of the Dutch Republic. At the time Manhattan was named New Amsterdam. While searching for another route for the Northwest Passage, Henry Hudson navigated passed Cape May and up the Delaware Bay. 

Hudson had marked the Cape on the map but never fully mapped out the entire area or even stopped his boat on the Cape. After traveling several miles up the bay their boat was forced to turn around.

Henry Hudson shared his news with the Dutch East India Company when he arrived back in Holland. This new discovery intrigued them as they were looking for new places in the new land to set up a new fur trading post.

Blyde Broodschap” (Glad Tidings)

Blyde Broodschap (Glad Tidings)

In 1621, Captain Cornelius Jacobsen Mey, was hired by the Dutch East India Company to sail the ship “Blyde Broodschap” (Glad Tidings) to set up a new trade post at the Cape. Captain Mey arrived at the Cape in mid 1623 and started mapping the area. It was during this voyage that Caption Mey gave the Cape his name and christened it  Cape de Maye “Cape Mey.”

This is where the history books get a little fuzzy. I have read about three different versions on how “Mey” was changed to “May” and this is the one that seemed to make more sense.

May of Cape May 1776

Map of Cape May 1776

Over time other settlers from Sweden and England would come to Cape Mey to trade and make a new life there. According to a few sources it was changed from Mey to May due to an English translation on a British map from the late 1600s. As time went on this mistake was taken as fact.

So there you go. I want to know how you feel about this? Feel free to comment below!

Also, While you’re here, check out our article about finding Cape May’s Concrete Ship’s Bell. CLICK BELOW

Cape May’s Concrete Ship’s Bell Found



About The Author

My name is Joey Contino. I am a big lover of anything Wildwood. I have lived and worked in Wildwood my whole life. I worked jobs from working on the beach renting umbrellas and chairs to being a supervisor at Morey’s Piers. Wildwood is my life and my home!

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