New York History

Colonial times

Lower Manhattan in 1660, then part of New Amsterdam.

View of “Nieuw Amsterdam orte Nue New Iorx opt’ t.Eylant Man”, about 1665.

The lower Hudson River, where New York is located, was inhabited by about 5,000 Lenape Indians when it was discovered by Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524. Da Verrazzano, who sailed in the service of the French crown, called the area “Nouvelle Angoul√™me “. He probably sailed no further than The Narrows strait, where a bridge named after him now lies. With the journey of Henry Hudson, an Englishman in the service of the Dutch VOC, the area was effectively mapped. Hudson discovered Manhattan on September 11, 1609 and carried up the current now bearing his name, the Hudson, to present-day Albany.

According to lawschoolsinusa, Hudson quickly discovered that the fur trade to Europe was a lucrative source of income. Hudson led Dutch merchant ships to the area months later. Trade between the Netherlands and the indigenous population flourished but did not lead to permanent settlements.

In 1624, a group of Protestant Walloon families founded a first settlement in Manhattan and named it “Neuf-Avesnes” (Nieuw-Avenne). Neighbors and families of German, Dutch and British descent followed. The area was called New Netherland, in Latin at the time: Nova Belgica or Novum Belgium. In May 1626, Peter Minuit was appointed the colony’s first governor. The settlement was later named New Amsterdam.

In 1626 Minuit bought Manhattan from the Indians for trinkets worth 60 guilders, now about 700 euros or a thousand dollars. Leading up to the Second Anglo-Dutch War in 1664, New Amsterdam was conquered by the English, who named the settlement New York after the Duke of York. In 1673, the Netherlands briefly possessed it again. After the name was changed to “New Orange”, it became definitively British at the Peace of Westminster in 1674. In exchange, the British definitively renounced Suriname by this treaty. Under the Britishadministration grew the importance of the trading post. Columbia University was founded in 1754 at the direction of George II of Great Britain.

Battles took place around the city during the American Revolutionary War. They became known as the New York Campaign. After the Battle of Fort Washington in Upper Manhattan in 1776, the city became a British military and political base until the end of the war in 1783.

18th and 19th century

Mulberry Street, on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, circa 1900

Five years after the end of the Revolutionary War in 1788, New York became the capital of the United States. George Washington was proclaimed first president in the Federal Hall in 1789. It was also in that building that the first meeting of the United States Congress was held in the same year and the Bill of Rights was written. In 1790, New York surpassed Philadelphia as the largest city in the United States. However, Philadelphia became the new capital in that year.

On May 17, 1792, 24 stock traders under a Buttonwood boom on Wall Street signed the Buttonwood Agreement. This made the New York Stock Exchange a fact, although the name was New York Stock & Exchange Board until 1863.

The city changed a lot in the 19th century due to large-scale immigration and expansion of the infrastructure. Examples include the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 to project Manhattan’s streets in a checkerboard pattern and the opening of the Erie Canal in 1819, linking the Atlantic harbor to the agricultural markets of the North American interior. Members of the old merchant aristocracy lobbied for the creation of Central Park, which in 1857 became the first designed park in an American city.

Discontent with the conscription during the American Civil War (1861-1865) led to the Conscription Riots in 1863. The riots lasted only a few days, but at least a hundred civilians were killed.

At the end of the 19th century, the first elevated underground metro lines were built. Together with the railway lines and tram networks, the city was able to attract commuters from far outside the city and the entire agglomeration around the city grew rapidly. In 1898, present-day New York was formed by the merger of Brooklyn (then an independent city), New York counties (including parts of the Bronx), Richmond, and western County Queens. The opening of New York’s Underground Subway six years later, in 1904, contributed to the unification of the new city.

20th century

The Manhattan borough in 1931

In the 1920s, New York was a major destination for African Americans who left the south of the country during the Great Migration . Economic growth was accompanied by the development of the skyline through the construction of competing skyscrapers. New York became the most urbanized area in the world in the early 1920s. In the early 1930s, the population of 10 million was reached, making New York the first megacity in the history of mankind.

The return of World War II veterans and new immigrants from Europe created post-war economic growth and stimulated the development of neighborhoods in eastern Queens. In the 1960s, New York City was hit by economic hardship, rising crime and racial tensions that peaked in the 1970s.

In the 1980s the financial sector flourished and the city took part in this development. By the 1990s, racial tensions eased, crime dropped, and many immigrants arrived from Asia and Latin America.

21st century

On September 11, 2001, New York City was hit by a double terrorist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, including both the Twin Towers and the original 7 World Trade Center. Officially there were 2750 deaths; 24 missing persons are believed to have perished.

Construction began on the 1st World Trade Center on the site of the old WTC in 2006, which opened on November 3, 2014. Since 2002, two floodlights have been shining into the sky every night on the site of the Twin Towers. This is called the Tribute in Light. A monument was also dedicated to the old WTC and three other office buildings.

In the early 21st century, New York is seeing progress in the environment and education. Many companies are establishing themselves, the population is growing, tourism is reviving and crime is falling.

New York History