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History of New York

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Here is a brief history of the state from its early settlement by the Dutch, to colonial days under British rule, to the 11th state of the United States of America.

Giovanni Da Verrazzano visited New York harbor in 1524 and Henry Hudson explored the Hudson River 1609. However, the Dutch were the first European settlers of New York in 1613. They called it Nieuw Nederland (New Netherland). Fort Nassau was established in 1614 near present-day Albany and abandoned in 1618. About 1624, about thirty families settled on the shores of the Hudson River and on the Delaware River. Fort Oranje, also near present-day Albany, was established in 1624 and Nieuw Amsterdam (New Amsterdam) was established on Manhattan island. Peter Minuit purchased Manhattan Island from the Algonquin Indians in 1625. New Netherland included parts of what are now New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut and Delaware.

In 1664, England took control of the colony and renamed it the Province of New York, after the Duke of York, who later became King James II. In 1683 the colony was divided into twelve counties, subdivided into towns. The territory of New York actually extended all the way to the Pacific Ocean because there wasn't an official western boundary. Cornwall and Dukes, part of New York's eastern coastal counties, later became part of Massachusetts and Maine. Other counties also became part of Vermont.

For over a century, New York existed as a colony of Great Britain. New York declared its independence on July 9, 1776, becoming part of the original 13 states of the Federal Union. About a third of the Revolutionary War's skirmishes and engagements were fought on New York territory. On April 20, 1777, New York adopted its first constitution and on July 9 George Clinton was elected as Governor at Kingston. Albany didn't become the state capital until January 1797. New York City was the first capital of the new nation, where President George Washington was inaugurated as our first president on April 30, 1789.

In the years that followed, New York experienced rapid growth, earning it the nickname of "The Empire State." 1825 saw the completion of the Erie Canal, prompting a population growth in towns and cities across the state which was further enhanced by the establishment of the railroads. During the Civil War, also known as the War of the Rebellion, New York was a Union state. The New York Draft Riots took place in New York City (July 13 - 16, 1863). The riots were violent protests against Abraham Lincoln's Enrollment Act of Conscription - a plan to draft men to fight in the ongoing war. There were thousands of rioters and they were predominantly Irish.

On July 4, 1884, Ferdinand Lesseps formally presented the Statue of Liberty to the U.S. Minister to France, Levi Parsons. When the statue was completely put together on October 28, 1886 in New York harbor, President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty. During the nineteenth century, the United States became a refuge for many oppressed peoples, becoming a "melting pot" with the Statue of Liberty becoming a symbol of their plight.

During the 1900s New York has continued to grow and develop. Many national leaders were born and raised here; it is home to the United Nations and the New York Stock Exchange; and itís become and international center for art, music, and literature.

[This is but a brief history of the State of New York - submitted by Melissa Rodriguez, original source unknown]


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