Our guide was written by Anjeeta Nayar and last published on Wednesday 16th September 2009.
The history of New York City can be traced back to the early years of 16th century when lower Manhattan was settled by Dutch settlers. In 1626, Governor Peter Minuet then purchased New York from the Native Americans for only $24 worth of trinkets. New York was later on seized by the English who established a colony here.
Under the British, the population of the city grew, but towards the end of the 17th Century the city was affected by the wars between the English and French in Europe. The city also featured prominently during the American Revolutionary War which lasted from 1776 to 1781, as General George Washington was defeated in a number of battles in New York by the English. At the end of the war, George Washington was sworn in as the first President at New York City’s Federal Hall.
The growth and development of New York actually took off in 1825 with the opening of the Erie Canal which linked New York City to the Great Lakes. During this time many of the landmarks of the city like Central Park were established. In 1898, the city was made a metropolis of five boroughs and in the late nineteenth century it also received huge waves of immigration from Europe. These immigrants, who were admitted through a facility on Ellis Island located in New York Harbor, were mainly German, Italian and Eastern Europeans who worked long hours and lived in horrible conditions in areas of lower Manhattan.