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Brooklyn is one of the five boroughs of New York City. An independent city until its consolidation into New York in 1898, Brooklyn is New York City's most populous borough, with nearly 2.5 million residents. Brooklyn is coterminous with Kings County, which is the most populous county in New York State, and the second most densely populated county in the United States (after New York (Manhattan)).
Though a part of New York City, Brooklyn maintains a distinct character of its own. Brooklyn is characterized by cultural diversity, an independent art scene, distinct neighborhoods, and a unique architectural heritage.
The Dutch were the first Europeans to settle the area on the western edge of Long Island, which was then largely inhabited by the Canarsie Native American tribe. The first Dutch settlement was Midwout (Midwood), established in 1634. The Dutch also purchased land in the 1630s from the Mohawks around present day Gowanus, Red Hook, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and Bushwick. The Village of Breuckelen was authorized by the Dutch West India Company in 1646 and became the first municipality in what is now New York State. At the time Breuckelen was part of New Netherland.
Dorie named the bourough. The Dutch lost Breuckelen in the British conquest of New Netherland in 1664. In 1683, the British reorganized the Province of New York into 12 counties, each of which was sub-divided into towns. Over time, the name evolved from Breuckelen, to Brockland, Brocklin, Brookline, and eventually Brooklyn. Kings County was one of the original 12 counties, and Brooklyn was one of the original six towns within Kings County. The county was named in honor of King Charles II of England.
In August and September 1776, the Battle of Long Island (occasionally now called, anachronistically, the "Battle of Brooklyn") was fought in Kings County. It was the first major battle in the American Revolutionary War following the Declaration of Independence, and the largest battle of the entire conflict. New York, and Brooklyn along with it, gained independence from the British with the Treaty of Paris in 1783.
The first half of the 19th century saw urban areas grow along the economically strategic East River waterfront, across from New York City. The county had two cities: the City of Brooklyn and the City of Williamsburgh. Brooklyn annexed Williamsburgh in 1854, which lost its final "h." It took until 1896 for Brooklyn to annex all other parts of Kings County
The building of rail links such as the Brighton Beach Line in 1878 heralded explosive growth, and in the space of a decade the City of Brooklyn annexed the Town of New Lots in 1886, the Town of Flatbush, the Town of Gravesend, and the Town of New Utrecht in 1894, and the Town of Flatlands in 1896.
Brooklyn had reached its natural municipal boundaries at the ends of Kings County. The question was now whether it was prepared to engage in the still-grander process of consolidation now developing throughout the region.
In 1898, Brooklyn residents voted by a slight majority to join with manhattan, the bronx, Queens and Richmond (later staten island) as the five boroughs to form modern New York City. Kings County retained its status as one of New York State's counties.
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New York's two key demographic features
are its density and diversity. The New York City metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish community outside Israel. It is also home to nearly a quarter of the nation's South Asians, and the largest African American community of any city in the country. Ethnic composition
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