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Norumbega (nôrəmbĕgˈə) [key], name vaguely used, especially on European maps of the 16th and 17th cent., to indicate a region, a river, or a city on the east coast of North America. Fabulous tales were told of the city, but its location and its identity are uncertain. Probably the word is a Native American version of the old form of Norway. In the late 19th cent., Professor E. N. Horsford revived interest in the matter by identifying Norumbega as the site of a Norse settlement in America, claiming to have discovered its position on the Charles River at Watertown, Mass. No conclusive results have been reached on the matter, and it is generally considered that Norumbega is purely mythical.

See R. H. Ramsay, No Longer on the Map (1972).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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