Brief History and Major Facts About New York City
Talk of the USA, and your mind will quickly tune you to New York City. The city is famous for many right reasons; no American city is popular and densely-populated as compared to New York City (NYC). Springing up in Northeastern US, the city is situated in the state of New York, right on the coastal regions of the Atlantic. Such is the reputation of New York City that its influence can be felt in any part of America and in the world at large.
The following presents a historical overview of America’s largest city and some jaw-dropping facts about NYC.
New York history stretches far back as the 1620s when colonists from the Netherlands established a trading post at Lower Manhattan. In 1626, the trade station was named, New Amsterdam. Years later (in 1664), the British drove away the Dutch people (Netherlands) and exercised dominion over New Amsterdam and its neighborhood. They then renamed the city as New York. The new name had its origins from Duke of York, England. The English King at that time, Charles II, had given control of the land to his blood relation James II who was then the Duke of York in England.
Several thousand years ago, during the Wisconsin glaciation era, the New York area was covered within a sheet of ice with a depth measuring up to 2000 ft (610 meters). As time went on, the ice sheet melted and eroded away, leaving behind a hardened bedrock at relatively shallower depths. The strong bedrock is the great land feature that makes possible the erection of New York’s skyscrapers.
Prior to the arrival of the British colonists, it was the Algonquins and the Lenape North American natives that occupied New York City area. These indigenes were largely farmers and fishermen. All that while, the British had their eyes fixed everywhere. They were ready to travel far to claim any beautiful resource.
Then in 1524, New York’s port received its first European intruder. In fact, he was a sailor by name Giovanni da Verrazzano. His arrival was followed by a series of explorations, discoveries, purchases and takeovers of New York island by various powers, mainly the Dutch and the British. Finally, in 1664, the Dutch lost the New York territory to the British. The city grew larger as more immigrants from England, France, Germany, and the Netherlands thronged into the new home.
In the 1600s, the European presence brought intertribal conflicts among the indigenous settlers; between 1660-70, the conflict had annihilated most of the Lenape people. By 1700, an epidemic outbreak had wiped out close to 10% of the New York population. Around the same time, the city and its ports became the hub for African slavery. By 1730, 42% of New York homes owned slaves. Their economy thrived on the business of slavery.
In the late 1770s, Americans began to rise up against British colonialism. This ushered in the American Revolution. In 1776, the Battle of Long Island broke out in Brooklyn, but it ended in American defeat. More than 10k slaves escaped.
By 1783, the Revolutionary wars had died down, resulting in an American victory. The 13 colonies were freed from British rule. From 1785-1790, New York held the singular honor of being the capital of the United States of America. Since then, the city has evolved in diverse ways through the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries before attaining its modern magnificent form.
Interesting Facts about New York City
The evolutionary phases of New York through colonialism, slavery, wars, immigration, and diseases have made it a mixed geographical region with diverse cultures. Now, it stands tall in the world with might and splendor. Here are some amazing facts you would love to hear about New York City.
- 5 Counties Combined to Form It
When the 20th century rolled in, 4 neighborhoods namely Queens, Bronx, Staten Island, and Brooklyn held a voting to combine themselves with Manhattan to form a 5-borough New York, also known as the Greater New York. The combination was completed in January 1898. New York area expanded to about 300 sq. miles, with over 3.3 million inhabitants.
- Most Densely Populated American City
With an area of roughly 300 sq. miles (784 sq. km) and a 2018 population estimate of 8.3 million, New York beats all the other states with its population density. About 1 out of 38 Americans reside in New York.
Another very interesting fact about New York City is that: studies have shown that in about every 4 minutes, a baby gets born in New York. Shockingly, in every 9 minutes, a death is recorded.
- The city is alluring to foreigners
More than 3 million New Yorkers are foreign-born. More than a quarter of those foreigners arrived not earlier than the year 2000. The number of spoken languages in New York is more than 800. Here is a break down of the race population: 26% (Blacks), 26% (Hispanics), 13% (Asians). Whites constitute the majority.
- The Statue of Liberty
Standing at Liberty Islands in New York, the statue symbolizes American freedom, governance, and opportunities. It was gifted to Americans by France after their alliance in the Revolution.
- Hudson River is in New York City
The river is a conspicuous water landmark of New York. Its mouth is just at New York as it empties its waters into the Atlantic. The river took its name from Henry Hudson, a sailor. It will amaze you to learn that Hudson flows back and forth, as a result of the ocean tides.
- Home to some of the tallest buildings
New Yorkers are known to be big dreamers. This is evident in their tall buildings, which have broken and held height records for years. It’s where you can find skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building, World Trade Centers of the UN(United Nations), Chrysler Building, etc.
- The city abounds with wealth
The populous nature of the city is well defended by its host of wealth. For more than 200 years, American wealth has been highly concentrated in New York. Over half of American goods and enterers pass through New York.
- Tourists simply love the city
Due to its attractiveness, New York is perhaps the most photographed city in America. Millions of tourists troop in yearly to catch a glimpse of the city’s popular tourist sites such as Central Park, Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Times Square, etc.