New York City History
||New York City was home to many
Native Americans long before the first Europeans ever set foot
there. In 1524 Florentine Giovanni da Verrazzano explored the
upper bay. Even though Verrazzano didn’t stay, a bridge
was named in his honor. Then in 1609, Henry Hudson stumbled
upon the region while searching for the northwest passage. Hudson
claimed the area for the Dutch East India Company. Obviously,
the Hudson River was named after him. By 1625, Dutch settlers
had established a lucrative fur trade with the natives. The colony
was called New Amsterdam. Peter Minuit, of the West India Company,
bought New Amsterdam from the Native Americans that were living
there for what is believed to be $24. Minuits’s deal has since
become legendary. By the 1650’s, warehouses, workshops, and
great houses had sprung up along the riverside.
English battleships arrived in 1664. The Dutch colony surrendered
to the English without even firing a shot. King Charles II renamed
the colony New York after his brother the Duke of York. The Dutch
and English settlers were able to co-exist peacefully. Trade with
the Caribbean grew to become a prominent business and consequently
New York became highly prosperous. Locals grew bolder and found
that they were able to avoid taxation by hiding their earnings from
the British. It was only a matter of time before the colonials would
be at war with England.
During the Revolutionary War, Gen. George Washington’s campaigns
in New York were primarily met with defeat. The British occupied
New York throughout most of the war, sailing out of New York Harbor
in 1783, some time before the end of the war. After independence
was won, the new government needed to choose a capital for the new
nation. New York was temporarily functioned as the capital before
being moved to Philadelphia and eventually Washington DC.
Mighty public projects such as Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge
helped to bring prosperity back to New York City. By the turn of
the 20th century, elevated trains were transporting 1-million people
in and out of the city daily. At this time, the city’s population
had sky rocketed to nearly 3 million.
New York abolished slavery in 1827. However, the Civil War was strongly
opposed in New York City. There already was a shortage of jobs and
thousands of immigrants where coming of the boats daily. New Yorkers
didn’t want to fight for the emancipation of people that they
beloved would steal their jobs and drive down wages. When news of
Lincoln institution of the draft to replenish his army hit the streets,
riots broke out all over the city. Soldiers had to enter the city
to disperse the mobs.
After the Civil War, wealthy societies grew out of the fortunes
being made off oil, railroads, and steel. Mansions sprung up along
Fifth Avenue and there was a separation of classes.
New York City was hit hard during the Great Depression. Many New
Yorkers were forced to live in shacks within Central Park. Public
projects eventually did helped to bring New York out of the depression.
WWII brought masses of troops to New York City who were willing
to spend every cent they had before being shipped off to Europe.
This also helped to stimulate the economy.
After the war, prosperity returned and there was an explosion in
sky scrappers built throughout the city. Though, the good times
were short lived. By 1958, the Dodgers had left Brooklyn and the
Giants had left upper Manhattan. The city fell back into a recession,
which climaxed in the 1970’s when the city declared bankruptcy.
Wall Street rallied in the 1980’s during the Reagan Years.
In the 1990’s with Rudolph Giuliani as mayor, the city rode
a wave of prosperity. Guiliani left the city safer, cleaner, and
New York City again experienced difficult time after the September
11th, 2001 terrorist attacks that collapsed the World Trade Center.
However, New York City has since rebounded and is again experiencing