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History of NYC, New York, USA

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NYC History

NYC History : Prehistory - 1664 | 1665 - 1783 | 1784-1854 | 1855-1897 | 1898-1945 | 1946-1977 | 1978-Present

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Lenape and New Netherland: prehistory - 1664

Prehistory in the area began with the geological formation of the peculiar territory of what is today New York City. The area was long inhabited by the Lenape; Lenape in canoes met Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first European explorer to enter New York Harbour, in 1524. Giovanni da Verrazzano named this place New Angoulême in the honour of the French king Francis I. Although Verrazano sailed into New York Harbour, he is not thought to have travelled further than the present site of the bridge that bears his name, and instead sailed back into the Atlantic. It was not until the voyage of Henry Hudson, an Englishman who worked for the Dutch East India Company, that the area was mapped. He discovered Manhattan Island on September 11, 1609, and continued up the river that bears his name, the Hudson River, until he arrived at the site where New York State's capital city, Albany, now stands.
European settlement began with the founding of a Dutch fur trading settlement in Lower Manhattan in 1613 later called New Amsterdam (Nieuw Amsterdam) in the southern tip of Manhattan in 1624. Later in 1626, Peter Minuit established a long tradition of shrewd real estate investing when he purchased Manhattan Island and Staten Island from native people in exchange for trade goods. (Legend, now long disproved, has it that the island was purchased for $24 worth of glass beads.) Minuit's settlement was also a haven for Huguenots seeking religious liberty.
Willem Kieft became director general in 1638, but five years later was embroiled in Kieft's War against the Native Americans. The Pavonia Massacre, across the Hudson River in present day Jersey City resulted in the death of eighty natives in February 1643. Following the massacre, eleven Algonquin tribes joined forces and nearly defeated the Dutch. Holland sent additional forces to the aid of Kieft, which took part the overwhelming defeat of the Native Americans, leading to a peace treaty on August 29, 1645 to end the war.
On May 27, 1647, Peter Stuyvesant was inaugurated as director general upon his arrival, and ruled as a member of the Dutch Reformed Church. He curtailed the city's religious freedoms and closed all of the city's taverns. The colony was granted self-government in 1652 and New Amsterdam was formally incorporated as a city February 2, 1653. In 1664, the British conquered the area and renamed it "New York" after the English Duke of York and Albany. The Dutch briefly regained it in 1673, renaming the city "New Orange", before permanently ceding the colony of New Netherland to the British for what is now Surinam in November 1674.

This is NYC

New York City Neighborhoods

NYC has a rich history in diversity and the city as a whole is nothing more than many small neighborhoods. Explore it with us..

NYC Neighborhoods
Manhattan Island

NYC Waterfronts & Beaches

NYC's waterfront is roughly 600 miles long and the overall form of the Harbor has remained unchanged from the time of Giovanni da Verrazzano. Learn more about the harbor, its shores and its waterways.

NYC Waterfronts
New York City Beaches

History and Politics of NYC

Did you know that New York City was briefly the U.S. capital during 1789-90 and was state capital until 1797?

New York City History
Tammany Hall and Politics
New York City Politicians

Culture of Gotham City

The culture of NYC is shaped by centuries of immigration, the city's size and variety, and its status as the cultural capital of the United States.

Culture of the city
Cultural diversity
City in popular culture

Travel & Transportation

The dominant mode of transportation in New York City is mass transit - Subways and Buses. However, it is the Taxicabs that are real New York icons!

Safety & Security

How safe is New York City? Contrary to popular belief, the City consistantly ranks in the top ten safest large cities in the United States. The NYPD is the largest municipal police force in the world and has it's own Movie/TV Unit.

New York Climate

New York has a humid continental climate resulting from prevailing wind patterns that bring cool air from the interior of the North American continent. New York winters are typically cold with moderate snowfall.
New York Weather Forecast


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

New York Newspapers

Niagara Falls Express: Overnight Tour from New York Romance Over Manhattan Private Helicopter Flight

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