There is a small area on the Warta plains, where, until recently, you could see New York, Pensylvania and Philadelphia in one day. Until the change of borders in 1945, some hamlets bore names such as Jamaica (presently: Jamno), Ceylon (presently: Czaplin), Hampshire (today, Budzigniew), or Pennsylvania (today, Polne). The reasons for giving them these names is not clear, however, there are some speculations. According to some, in the late 18th century, the Prussian Friedrich II, who was implementing a policy of populating the freshly meliorated flood terrain recovered from the river, intended to get some press. This was important to the king for several reasons: his wish was to be known as an investor in gigantic melioration works, but also to promote an Enlightenment ideology he was trying to implement there. This applied e.g. to changing serfdom into a rental system. For propaganda purposes, he was using slogans of discovery or conquest of new lands in a peaceful way. He stressed that he had extended his territory without violence, “discovering” a new land for his people. Perhaps this was the reason behind calling this area a “New America”. Friedrich II was introducing a new social order on the new land, and in an attempt to attract the people’s attention to this fact, he gave the new settlements exotic names.
What makes the area different? The landscape is dominated by vast meadows and fields cut by straight, long roads and balks lined with the only trees in the area – usually, charming knotted willows. Some villages are typical, extending along one main street, while others have very relaxed, scattered structure. These have a characteristic architecture as well, as unlike the other surrounding villages they were not founded in the Middle Ages, but simultaneously and as late as the 18th century.