In a map of 1529 it appears as the name of a river. Pierre Crignon, a Frenchman, however, thought it was a territory and it appears as a country or region in a globe of 1542. In the Cartier expedition of 1541-2, the chronicler, Alfonce, identified Cape Cod as the Cape of Norumbega and the River of Norumbega as the Narraganssett. He furthermore mentioned a city of Norumbega by which he seems to have meant a place of considerable size.
Mercator, in his map of 1569, made it a city of protected by towers, conferring on it a status far above anything in the area of which archaeology is aware.
Champlain, however, failed to find Norumbega and eventually identified merely as the Penobscot River. The thriving city with its towers seems to have been wholly chimerical.
In the 19th Century one Eben N. Horsford tried to show that Norumbega had indeed existed and had been a Norse colony in Massachussetts. At Weston he erected a structure called the Norumbega Tower which he believed to have been the site of the original Norse fort. Horsford's speculations do not find favor with modern scholars.
Bangor (Maine) seems to have had some pretensions to being the site of Norumbega. This has resulted in there being a Norumbega Mall and a Norumbega Hall in the modern city.
A place called Norumbega Castle has been erected at Camden (Maine).
The mysterious land seems in origin to have been a Native American name for some river, perhaps misheard by a European. It just shows you how a story can grow.
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