- 2.1Origin of the Name:
- 2.2Early History:
- 2.1Dutch Rule:
- 2.2English Rule:
- 2.1American Revolution:
- 2.1Nineteenth Century:
- 2.2Modern History:
- 3.1Wall Street:
- 3.1Silicon Alley:
- 3.1Media and Entertainment:
- 4.1Rapid Transit:
- 4.4Taxis, Transport Startups, and Trams:
- 4.1Streets and Highways:
- 4.2River Crossings:
- 5The Flag:
In 1609, the English explorer Henry Hudson rediscovered the New York Harbor while searching for the Northwest Passage to the Orient for the Dutch East India Company. He proceeded to sail up what the Dutch would name the North River (now the Hudson River), named first by Hudson as the Mauritius after Maurice, Prince of Orange. Hudson’s first mate described the harbor as “a very good Harbour for all windes” and the river as “a mile broad” and “full of fish.” Hudson sailed roughly 150 miles north, past the site of the present-day New York State capital city of Albany, in the belief that it might be an oceanic tributary before the river became too shallow to continue. He made a ten-day exploration of the area and claimed the region for the Dutch East India Company. In 1614, the area between Cape Cod and Delaware Bay was claimed by the Netherlands and called Nieuw-Nederland.
The first non-Native American inhabitant of what would eventually become New York City was Juan Rodriguez, a merchant from Santo Domingo. Born in Santo Domingo of Portuguese and African descent, he arrived in Manhattan during the winter of 1613–1614, trapping for pelts and trading with the local population as a representative of the Dutch. Broadway, from 159th Street to 218th Street in Upper Manhattan, is named Juan Rodriguez Way in his honor.
A permanent European presence in New Netherland began in 1624 – making New York the 12th oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement in the continental United States – with the founding of a Dutch fur trading settlement on Governors Island. In 1625, construction was started on a citadel and Fort Amsterdam, later called Nieuw Amsterdam, on present-day Manhattan Island. The colony of New Amsterdam was centered at the site which would eventually become Lower Manhattan. In 1626, the Dutch colonial Director-General Peter Minuit, acting as charged by the Dutch West India Company, purchased the island of Manhattan from the Canarsie, a small Lenape band, for 60 guilders about $1,000 in 2006.
Following the purchase, New Amsterdam grew slowly. To attract settlers, the Dutch instituted the patroon system in 1628, whereby wealthy Dutchmen (patroons, or patrons) who brought 50 colonists to New Netherland would be awarded swathes of land, along with local political autonomy and rights to participate in the lucrative fur trade. This program had little success.
Since 1621, the Dutch West India Company had operated as a monopoly in New Netherland, on authority granted by the Dutch States General. In 1639–1640, in an effort to bolster economic growth, the Dutch West India Company relinquished its monopoly over the fur trade, leading to growth in the production and trade of food, timber, tobacco, and slaves (particularly with the Dutch West Indies).
In 1647, Peter Stuyvesant began his tenure as the last Director-General of New Netherland. During his tenure, the population of New Netherland grew from 2,000 to 8,000. Stuyvesant has been credited with improving law and order in the colony; however, he also earned a reputation as a despotic leader. He instituted regulations on liquor sales, attempted to assert control over the Dutch Reformed Church, and blocked other religious groups (including Quakers, Jews, and Lutherans) from establishing houses of worship. The Dutch West India Company would eventually attempt to ease tensions between Stuyvesant and residents of New Amsterdam.
In 1664, unable to summon any significant resistance, Stuyvesant surrendered New Amsterdam to English troops, led by Colonel Richard Nicolls, without bloodshed. The terms of the surrender permitted Dutch residents to remain in the colony and allowed for religious freedom. The English promptly renamed the fledgling city “New York” after the Duke of York (the future King James II of England). The transfer was confirmed in 1667 by the Treaty of Breda, which concluded the Second Anglo-Dutch War.