New York

A History of New York City

The city we know as New York City is one of the most exciting and vibrant cities in the world. New York is known as a center of finance, entertainment, museums, sports and much more. Most people, however, don't know the history of the "Big Apple".

The first person to visit the area which is now known as New York City was Giovanni da Verrazano who discovered the area in 1524, when he sailed into the area and landed there. The discovery and first settlement of the area occurred in 1609 by Henry Hudson, who found the location while searching for a new route to Asia. The settlement was called New Amsterdam and established as a Dutch trading colony. The name of the settlement would eventually become New York in 1664, when the British took control of the colonies.

New York City became an important city during the Revolutionary War period and for a brief time period, it was Capital of the new United States after the colonies declared their independence. In the 1800's, with the opening of the Erie Canal providing passage to the Great Lakes, New York became one of the most important sea ports on the Atlantic Ocean, and became a center of trade. This lead to a substantial population growth into the largest city in the United States.

New York City also became a destination for immigrants coming in to the country to begin a new life. In the early 1900's millions of people came though Ellis Island seeking citizenship in the United States. A vast majority of these immigrants settled in New York City, which today is still one of the most diverse populations in the world.

Over time the city has grown to be a population center in the United States as well as a center for various activities. New York City is known for Broadway, the fabulous skyline, Central Park, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, top sports venues and teams, and is one of the top destinations for tourists around the world. Below, please find some additional information about the history of New York City.

Early Settlement as New Amsterdam

  • New Amsterdam - Useful page which provides a historical look at the settlement of New Amsterdam.

  • Early Dutch Settlement – Article which provides a look at the initial settlement by the Dutch in New Amsterdam and other colonies.

  • Dutch Colonization – Informative look at the exploration and settlement of the Dutch in the new world.

  • Giovanni da Verrazano – Web page which provides a biographical look at the explorer.

  • Henry Hudson – Information and biography of the explorer who found the settlement of New Amsterdam.

Revolutionary Period

  • The City and the Revolution – Useful information on how New York City played a role in the revolution.

  • New York and the American Revolution – Helpful page providing a look at the role of the city in the American Revolution.

  • City in 1776 – Narrative which provides a look at the city during the Revolutionary War.

  • Role of New York – Article which provides information on the role of New York in the American Revolution.

  • First U.S. Capital - Useful article which shows how New York became the first U.S. Capital after the Revolutionary War.

Early America Period

Ellis Island

  • Ellis Island History – Information on the role and purpose of Ellis Island in immigration to the United States and New York City.

  • History and Culture – Informative page which provides a look at the history of the immigration center.

  • Ellis Island Tour - Educational web page which provides a virtual tour of Ellis Island.

  • The History of Ellis Island – Useful article which provides a look at the Ellis Island area dating back to the Dutch settlement in the 1600's.

Early 20th Century

  • Turn of the Century New York – Information from the Library of Congress on the state of the city during the turn of the century.

  • Early Pictures – Page which provides a look at some of the photos of New York in the early 20th Century.

  • 20th Century Architecture – Web page which provides pictures and information on the skyscrapers which began to appear in the 20th Century.

  • Images of New York – Set of eight images which depicts life in New York City in the early 20th Century.

Modern New York

  • New York City Facts – Web page which provides information and facts on the city.

  • Late 20th Century – Narrative which provides a look at New York City in the late 1900's.

  • 9/11 Memorial - Web site which provides information and serves as a memorial for the events of September 11, 2001.

  • Visitor Information - Official page for visitors going to new York City with information on a variety of topics.