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American Revolution History by ColonialAmerica.com
American Revolution History by ColonialAmerica.com
Legend: Selected Site Area Merchant Site Historic Site Historic Marker Historic Shipwreck
Marker data courtesy of hmdb.org   Some map icons courtesy of Map Icons Collection



1776 Mayflower : A Story of Courage, Community, and War
The Federalist Papers Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution
Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West John Adams
Benjamin Franklin : An American Life The Bloody & Brave History of Native American Warriors & the Women Who Supported Them
Click here for additional books


We the Kids : The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States The New Americans : Colonial Times: 1620-1689 (The American Story)
The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery A History of US: Vol 3, From Colonies to Country (A History of Us)
Let It Begin Here!: Lexington & Concord: First Battles of the American Revolution George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War
They Called Her Molly Pitcher Now &  Ben : The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin


Pirates and Traders: Gold! Hidden Treasures Hidden Object
Dedaloop (Kindle Fire Edition) Word Treasure
Treasure Island, The Experience Robinson Crusoe
The Patriots Hero Tales from American History - AudioBook

Selected Site

Fraunces Tavern

54 Pearl Street
New York, NY, 10004




Click on heading to visit the website (excludes markers).

Nearby Historic Sites

Federal Hall National Memorial



26 Wall Street
New York, NY, 10005

Saint Paul's Chapel



209 Broadway
New York, NY, 10007

Seaport Museum New York



12 Fulton Street
New York, NY, 10038

South Street Seaport Museum



12 Fulton Street
New York, NY, 10038

Click on any heading to visit the website.

Nearby Historical Markers

"Sankofa"



New York, NY, 10007

[On the marker is the Adinkra symbol 'Sankofa,' a symbol for the importance of learning from the past]

For all those who were lost,
        For all those who were stolen,
For all those who were left behind,
        For all those who were not forgotten.

Adriaen van der Donck’s Home



New York, NY, 10004


ADRIAEN VAN DER DONCK’S HOME
Location:
  Marketfield Street at Broad Street
Dutch Name:   Het Marckvelt Steegie

In a house that stood a few feet from here lived lawyer Adriaen van der Donck (c. 1620 - c. 1655), author of the Remonstrance of New Netherland (1649). He wanted to persuade officials in the Dutch Republic to take over the Nieuw Nederland colony from the Dutch West India Company. Like other settlers, he also wanted Nieuw Amsterdam to have its own city government.

Many townspeople were frustrated with the Company. They were furious about a disastrous Indian war they blamed on Company blundering. In the Netherlands, people were used to having city governments to protect their rights, something they lacked on Manhattan.

Van der Donck failed in his efforts to get the Dutch government to assume control of the colony. But Director-General Stuyvesant and his council agreed to establish a municipality. In 1653, two burgomasters and five magistrates started running "this new and growing city of Nieuw Amsterdam" from the Stadt Huys (City Hall) on Pearl Street. By adapting Dutch institutions to life in the New World, colonists planted the roots of New York City’s government.

American Merchant Mariners' Memorial



New York, NY, 10004

Dedicated to all merchant mariners who have served America from the Revolutionary War through present day. In the prosecution of war and in pursuit of peaceful commerce, unrecognized thousands have lost their lives at sea. Their sacrifices have helped secure America's liberty and prosperity. The sculpture was inspired by a photograph of the victims of a submarine attack on an American merchant ship during World War II. Left to the perils of the sea, the survivors later perished.

This memorial serves as a marker for America's merchant mariners resting in the unmarked ocean depths.

Marisol, Sculptor

In recognition and appreciation:

U.S. Senator John B. Breaux; U.S. Representative Walter B. Jones; U.S. Representative Helen Delich Bentley; U.S. Maritime Administrator Captain Warren G. Leback; America's Maritime Labor; America's Merchant Mariners; America's Maritime Industry; Battery Park City Authority

American Merchant Mariners' Memorial Incorporated; Lane Kirkland, Chairman; Read Admiral Thomas A. King, USMS (Ret), President; Board of Director & Members

Governor Mario M. Cuomo, State of New York; Mayor David N. Dinkins, City of New York

Asser Levy’s Home



New York, NY, 10004


ASSER LEVY’S HOME
Location:
  Stone Street at Mill Lane
Dutch Name:   Hoogh Straet (High Street)

In a house on this site lived the Jewish trader and butcher Asser Levy. Possibly born in Lithuania, Levy probably came here from Amsterdam in 1654, the same year 23 other Jews fleeing Portuguese persecution arrived from Brazil. Director-General Stuyvesant and the town’s Dutch clergy wanted to expel them from the colony. But the Dutch West India Company insisted that Stuyvesant let the Jews stay, and allow them to worship privately. They held Sabbath services in their homes, signaling the start of the Jewish communal life in North America.

Levy petitioned to serve in the militia which patrolled the town. Once again, Company officials in the Dutch Republic affirmed his right to be treated equally. Levy took part alongside his Christian neighbors. He remained a townsman and landowner after the English conquest of 1664.

Shearith Israel, the Jewish congregation founded by early colonists, built its first synagogue on the site of 20-24 South William Street in 1730. This Jewish community marked the beginnings of New York’s role as home to the world’s emigrants seeking freedom from oppression.

Beaver’s Path



New York, NY, 10004


BEAVER’S PATH
Location:
  Battery Place at Greenwich Street
Dutch Name:   Bever Straet

Here, on a sandy shore, Lenape Indians beached their canoes to trade beaver and otter pelts for Dutch cloth, kettles, and metal tools. To the Lenape, this was Manahatt, a word perhaps meaning "island of many hills." Native peoples had lived in the region for some ten thousand years. Here they camped, hunted, fished, and farmed. Their footpaths crisscrossed the island, and some became Dutch roads and streets.

Following Hudson’s voyage, the Dutch West India Company placed settlers here in 1625-26 to exploit the region’s bounty of furs. Skins trapped by the Lenape and Iroquois were shipped to Europe for the market in expensive fur hats and garments.

Despite trade, Europeans and Indians fought a series of bloody wars between 1640 and 1663, and the Lenape lost control of their land. But the natives influenced the Europeans. Colonists used Indian sewant (carved seashell bits) as money, adopted their food sappaen (cornmeal porridge), and used Indian place names. Today, from Canarsie and Gowanus to Rockaway and Maspeth, the words of the Lenape people, recorded by Dutch settlers, still mark the cityscape.

Bowling Green



New York, NY, 10004

The first public park to be established in New York March 12, 1733

"Resolved that the Corporation will Lease a Piece of Land lying at the lower End of Broadway fronting to the Fort to some of the inhabitants of the Said Broadway in Order to be Inclosed to make a Bowling Green there of with Walks therein, for the Beauty and Ornament of the Said Street as well as for the Recreation & Delight of the Inhabitants of This City."
From the minutes of the Common Council
Reconstructed 1938


Bowling Green Fence



New York, NY, 10004

Erected by the Common Council in 1771, this fence surrounds New York’s earliest park. The park was leased in 1733 for use as a bowling green at a rental of one peppercorn a year. Patriots, who in 1776 destroyed an equestrian statue of George III which stood here, are said to have removed the crowns which capped the fence posts but the fence itself remains.

First Church on Manhattan Island



New York, NY, 10004

1633
The site of the
first church built on
Manhattan Island
Evaradus Bogardus, Dominie

This tablet erected by the
Daughters of Holland Dames
1933


First Presidential Mansion



New York, NY, 10038

Occupied by
George Washington
from April 26 1789
to February 25 1790.


Fort Jay



New York, NY, 10004


This important example of military architecture is a dramatic reminder of the early defenses erected in New York Harbor to protect the City from invasion by sea. Like so many other early fortifications in this country, its star-shaped plan was inspired by the designs of Sebastien de Vauban, the great French military architect. The fort was completed in 1798 and named after John Jay, then Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Strengthened in 1806-1808, the massive walls, bristling with a hundred guns, helped to deter the British from attacking the City during the War of 1812. Today, it is under the jurisdiction of the United States Coast Guard.

Francis Makemie



New York, NY, 10004


Near this site in 1707 Francis Makemie, a native of Ireland and Father of American Presbyterianism, challenged the edict of Lord Cornbury, Governor of the colony, forbidding him from preaching here. The services he conducted in William Jackson’s home resulted in his being indicted for preaching a "Pernicious Doctrine." His spirited court appearance resulted in his acquittal. It was the first great victory here for religious liberty.

July 27, 1982
Irish Institute of New York


Fraunces Tavern



New York, NY, 10004

After the American Revolutionary War, on December 4, 1783, General George Washington bade an emotional farewell to his officers at a banquet held in the Long Room, located on the second floor of this tavern. Samuel Fraunces, a West Indian innkeeper, was the proprietor; he later became Washington’s chief steward. Fraunces, also an American patriot, was host to secret meetings of the Sons of Liberty and gave aid to American prisoners of war. The present building, purchased by the Sons of the Revolution in 1904, was restored by them on this site and has since been maintained by them.

Plaque provided by the New York Community Trust, 1976

Fraunces Tavern Block Historic District



New York, NY, 10004

Samuel Fraunces in 1762 named his Queen’s Head tavern after Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III. His politics, however, were strictly patriotic, and his tavern hosted meetings of the radical Sons of Liberty and, later, the New York Provincial Congress. Washington’s farewell to his officers at the end of the Revolutionary War, on December 4, 1783 in the Long Room of the renamed Fraunces Tavern, made this building one of New York’s great patriotic shrines.

Famous for his cooking, especially desserts, Fraunces advertised "Cakes, Tarts, Jellies, Whip Syllabubs, Blaumage Sweet-Meats, &c. in any quantity; cold Meat in small Quantities, Beef Stakes, &c at any Hour; Pickled Oysters for the West Indies or elsewhere." After the war, which ruined him financially, Fraunces entered Washington’s service as steward and chef, and Congress rented his tavern to house the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Treasury and War.

Threatened with replacement by a skyscraper in 1902, the much altered Tavern was rescued by the Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York, under the direction of architect William Mersereau. Today’s Long Room, remodeled in the 1960s after period prints and paintings, recreates a typical 18th century tavern room of the kind in which Washington made his famous farewell.

Governors Island



New York, NY, 10004

Called by the Indians "Pagganck,"
was purchased from two members
of the Indian tribe of Manahatas
named Carapetayne and Pehiwas by
Wouter Van Twiller, a Governor and
Director General of New Nether-
land - June 16, 1637; The price paid
was two axe heads, a string of
beads and a handful of nails.


Governors Island



Fort Jay (historical), NY, 10038


In August 1776 island cannons were a key factor in keeping the British Navy out of the East River, allowing General Washington’s army to escape to Manhattan and fight another day.

Revolutionary War Heritage Trail


History of the Battery



New York, NY, 10004

This map, dated 1695, shows a wall with batteries built to the south and west of Fort George, located at the tip of Manhattan. It was likely constructed of wood and stone. Additional works were added throughout the early to mid-18th century.

The final and strongest outwork is thought to have been constructed in 1766 or 1767. Called the "Grand Battery", it was built of stone and accommodated one hundred cannon. It was from this battery that Alexander Hamilton and Captain John Lamb removed eleven artillery pieces at the beginning of the American Revolution in 1775.

The Grand Battery was the target of naval gunfire from the British warships HMS Phoenix and HMS Rose as they sailed up the Hudson River on July 12, 1776. Following the seizure of New York in September, 1776, Fort George and the Battery again became the headquarters of the British Army in New York. In 1790, following the American Revolution, the City of New York demolished Fort George and leveled the Grand Battery to use the materials to fill in the pier line along the shore.

History of the Battery Wall



New York, NY, 10004

This map, dated 1695, shows a wall with batteries built to the south and west of Fort George, located at the tip of Manhattan. It was likely constructed of wood and stone. Additional works were added throughout the early to mid-18th century.

The final and strongest outwork is thought to have been constructed in 1766 or 1767. Called the "Grand Battery", it was built of stone and accommodated one hundred cannon. It was from this battery that Alexander Hamilton and Captain John Lamb removed eleven artillery pieces at the beginning of the American Revolution in 1775.

The Grand Battery was the target of naval gunfire from the British warships HMS Phoenix and HMS Rose as they sailed up the Hudson River on July 12, 1776. Following the seizure of New York in September, 1776, Fort George and the Battery again became the headquarters of the British Army in New York. In 1790, following the American Revolution, the City of New York demolished Fort George and leveled the Grand Battery to use the materials to fill in the pier line along the shore.

In Honor of Evacuation Day



New York, NY, 10004


On November 25, 1783, at 1PM, the last British flag still flying in the newly Independent American colonies, near this site at Fort George, was removed by John Van Arsdale, who climbed the flag pole which had been greased by the British, removed their flag and replaced it with the Stars & Stripes, formally ending British occupation of these United States.

General George Washington led these ceremonies that took place that day at Bowling Green to mark this historic occasion. In the 200 years since, the British have become our strongest allies.

Plaque a gift of Heine Geduld, Inc.
March 28, 1996


John Street Church



New York, NY, 10038

The oldest continuous Methodist congregation in America, founded by Philip Embury and Barbara Heck in 1766, has served on this site since 1768. The present building, erected in 1841 and restored in 1965, is the successor to the original building erected in 1818.

Marinus Willett



New York, NY, 10004

Born, July, 1740. Marinus Willett. Died, Aug. 1830.
Officer of New York Militia 1775-78.
Sheriff of New York, 1784-92.
Mayor of New York 1807-08.
President of Electoral College, 1824.

To commemorate the gallant and patriotic act of Marinus Willett in here seizing, June 6th, 1775, from British forces the muskets with which he armed his troops. This tablet is erected by the Society of the Sons of the Revolution, New York. Nov. 1892.
-------------------------
Daniel Butterfield, Floyd Clarkson, Morgan Dix, John Austin Stevens, David Wolfe Bishop. - - Committee.

Pace College



New York, NY, 10007

On this site from 1766 to 1856 stood the Brick Presbyterian Church used during the American Revolution as both a prison and hospital for American prisoners. This present structure was built by the New York Times beginning with a building five stories in height in 1858. Reconstructed and enlarged in 1888 and again in 1905. Pace College has occupied the building since 1952. Other owners and occupants of this site over the years:
Cornelius Van Tienhoven 1646
Governor Thomas Donagan 1686
Engine Company No. 4 1802
Kins Pox Institute 1802
White Lecture Room 1810
Baker and Scribner Publishers 1852

Petrus Stuyvesant’s Great House



New York, NY, 10004


PETRUS STUYVESANT'S GREAT HOUSE
Location:
Whitehall Street between Pearl & State Streets
Dutch Name: Opt Waeter

Near this site stood the "Great House" of Petrus Stuyvesant (c. 1612-1672), Nieuw Nederland’s last director. A colonial administrator who had lost his right leg to a Spanish cannonball in the Caribbean, Stuyvesant arrived on Manhattan in 1647 to impose order on the Dutch West India Company’s diverse and outspoken colonists.

Stuyvesant encouraged the trade in enslaved Africans, and opposed giving rights to Jews, Lutherans, and Quakers. But under his capable rule, the town of Nieuw Amsterdam began to acquire the trappings of a city. Stuyvesant reluctantly surrendered the colony to an invading English fleet in 1664. He retired to his farm, or Bouwerie, in the country (today’s East Village.)

Stuyvesant’s mansion was built here in 1658 close to the shore. The house was located near the town’s first wharf (1648), at what is now the corner of Pearl and Broad Streets. Later generations of New Yorkers added new land and pushed the waterfront out to South Street. An archeological dig on Pearl Street in 1983 unearthed Dutch artifacts, including imported pottery and glassware.

Richard Montgomery



New York, NY, 10007

This Monument is erected by the order of CONGRESS 25th Janry 1776, to transmit to Posterity a grateful remembrance of the patriotism conduct enterprize & perseverance of Major General RICHARD MONTGOMERY, Who after a series of successes amidst the most discouraging Difficulties Fell in the attack on QUEBEC, 31st Decbr 1775. Aged 37 Years.

INVENIT ET SCULPSIT. PARISIIS. J.J. CAFFIERI SCULPTOR. REGIUS ANNO DOMINI. MDCCLXXVII.

Site of the Wall of New Amsterdam



New York, NY, 10005

In 1653 the City of New Amsterdam erected a wall along the northern edge of town to protect the inhabitants from attack. This wall, five to six feet high, was constructed of heavy planks laid horizontally, and ran from the Hudson River to the East River on the line of present-day Wall Street. Frequently in need of repair, the wall had been abandoned by 1699.

St. Paul's Chapel



New York, NY, 10038

This famous example of Georgian architecture built 1764-1766, with spire and portico added 1794-1796, is the only church structure surviving the colonial era of New York City. The design by Thomas McBean closely followed that of St. Martin-in-the-Fields by James Gibbs. President Washington was a regular attendant following his inauguration in 1789 when New York was the national capital.

Stream for Washing Laundry



New York, NY, 10007


STREAM FOR WASHING LAUNDRY
Location:
  Maiden Lane
Dutch Name:   ‘t Maagde Paatje

Here, in the 1600’s, a stream ran into the East River, along the course of what is now Maiden Lane. A footpath brought Dutch "maidens" to wash laundry in the stream’s fresh water. By 1658 this was known as ‘t Maagde Paatje, the maidens’ path. After the English took over in 1664, it became "Maiden Lane." When New York City expanded northward above Wall Street and the stream was covered over, the name stayed when the path became an urban street.

Cleanliness was a central value in Dutch culture. In the Netherlands, rich merchants hired poor and peasant women as servants to do the wash and other household work. Some young women emigrated to Nieuw Amsterdam after signing contracts to work as family servants. Dutch settlers also used enslaved Africans as domestic laborers. In many cases, family members shared household toil. Though the Dutch allowed females legal and economic rights denied them elsewhere in Europe, gender roles still dictated that women and girls perform most domestic labor. So Nieuw Amsterdam’s "maidens" found themselves here, doing the family laundry.

The Governors House



New York, NY, 10004

Believed to have been erected before 1708
Was used for many years as the home of
the Provincial Governors of New York
On this island was organized on
December 25, 1757
the Loyal American Regiment 60th Foot
commanded by
Lord Jeffrey Amherst
This Regiment subsequently became the present King’s Royal Rifle Corps of the British Army.


The Governor’s House



New York, NY, 10004

Erected as a home for the British Colonial governors in pre-Revolutionary New York, this Georgian style residence is one of the very few 18th-century mansions to have survived in the City. It is thought to have been built for Lord Cornbury in 1708 and was often referred to as "The Smiling Garden of the Sovereigns of the Province." According to legend, the house had an underground tunnel built during the Revolutionary War for escape in case of American invasion of the island. Today, the Governor’s House is under the jurisdiction of the United States Coast Guard.

The South Battery



New York, NY, 10004

Erected during the War of 1812 to guard Buttermilk Channel. Used as a barracks for the fife and drum corps of the garrison from 1836 until the first officers’ mess was established here June 20, 1879.
Reorganized as the Officers’ Club
February 3, 1881
This tablet
presented December 1, 1951 by
the Veteran Corps of Artillery, S.N.Y.
constituting
The Society of the War of 1812
            Colonel Francis F. Steers
            Commandant - President


The Wall



New York, NY, 10005


THE WALL
Location:
Wall Street
Dutch Name: Langs de Wal

Here, in 1653, Nieuw Amsterdam’s settlers built a wall running from the Hudson River to the East River to defend their town against attack. They feared invasion by England and her New England colonists. Later, they also worried about raids by Lenape Indians. Townsmen armed themselves and formed a militia to patrol the wall and guard their homes.

The wood-planked wall stood 9 feet high, and allowed soldiers to fire at invaders attacking from the northern countryside (today’s uptown). Two bastions were later topped with cannon to hold enemies at bay. Two gates, one here at De Heere Straet (Broadway) and one on the East River shore (Pearle Street), enabled settlers to enter and leave the town.

The street running along the wall’s south side was called Langs de Wal (Along the Wall). The wall stood until 1699, long after the English conquest of 1664. By its final years, the wall had fallen into disrepair, and townspeople had stripped it of many planks to use as firewood. Langs de Wal took a new name: Wall Street.

Trinity Church



New York, NY, 10005

Designed by Richard Upjohn and completed in 1846, this Gothic Revival building is the third Trinity Church on this site. The first, erected in 1693 under the royal charter of King William III, was destroyed in the great fire of 1776. The second was built in 1790 and demolished in 1839.

Walloon Settlers



New York, NY, 10004

Presented to the City
of New York by the
Conseil Provincial Du Hainaut
in memory of the Walloon settlers
who came over to American in the
Nieu Nederland under the
inspiration of
Jesse de Forest of
Avesnes then county of Hainaut,
one of the XVII Provinces.


Community Histories


New York

New York

Archaeological excavations indicate that the first humans settled the area as early as 9,000 years ago. These early inhabitants left behind hunting implements and bone heaps. The area was abandoned, however, possibly because the warming climate of the region lead to the local extinction of many larger game species upon which the early inhabitants depended for food. A second wave of inhabitants entered the region approximately 3,000 years ago and left behind more advanced hunting implements such as bows and arrows. The remains of approximately 80 such early encampments have been found throughout the city. The region has probably remained continually inhabited from that time.

Giovanni da Verrazzano visited this place in 1524 and named it New Angoulême in honour of his employer the French king Francis I. Although Verrazzano sailed into the harbor, he is not thought to have traveled farther than the present site of the bridge that bears his name, and instead sailed back into the Atlantic. It was not until the voyage of Henry Hudson, an Englishman who worked for the Dutch East India Company, that the area was more extensively mapped. He arrived at the island, which would later be known as Manhattan Island on September 12, 1609, continued up the river that bears his name, the Hudson River, and finally reached the site where New York State's capital city, Albany, now stands.

In 1613, the Dutch established a trading post on the western shore of Manhattan Island in the area of present Church Street where the WTC was located; this is the beginning of a global financial center, obtaining thus a commercial spirit from its very humble beginnings.

Among its first settlers were Christiaan Hendriksen (who could be considered as a founder of New York City) and Jan Rodrigues the first black man to live in the city.

In 1614 the New Netherland company was established and consequently they settled a second fur trading post in what is today Albany, called Fort Nassau. This is considered one of the oldest capital cities in the US. In 1616 they also settled a trading post in the Kingston area.

It was not until 1623, however, that the Dutch interests in the area were other than commercial and under the auspices of the newly formed Dutch West India Company they built Fort Amsterdam in 1624, a crude fortification that stood on the location of the present Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House on Bowling Green. The fort was designed mainly to protect the company's trading operations further upriver from attack by other European powers. Within a year, a small settlement, called New Amsterdam had grown around the fort, with a population that included mostly the garrison of company troops, as well as a contingent of Walloon, French and Flemish huguenot families who were brought in primarily to farm the nearby land of lower Manhattan and supply the company operations with food. Sarah Rapalje (b.1625) was the first European born in the future New York City. Later in 1626, Peter Minuit purchased Manhattan Island and Staten Island from native people in exchange for trade goods.

The Dutch took heavy advantage of the Native American reliance on wampum as a trading medium by exchanging cheap European-made metal tools for beaver pelts. By using such tools, the Natives greatly increased the rate of production of wampum, debasing its value for trade. Lenape men abandoned hunting and fishing for food in favor of beaver trapping. Moreover, the Dutch themselves began manufacturing their own wampum with superior tools in order to further dominate the trading network among themselves and the Natives (a practice undertaken by the settlers in New England as well). As a result of this increase, beavers were largely trapped out in the Five Boroughs within two decades, leaving the Lenape largely dependent on the Dutch. As a result, the Native population declined drastically throughout the 17th century through a combination of disease, starvation, and outward migration.

As the beaver trade increasingly shifted to Upstate New York, New Amsterdam became an increasingly important trading hub for the coast of North America. Since New Netherland was a trading operation, and not viewed as colonization enterprise for transplanting Dutch culture, the directors of New Netherland were largely unconcerned with the ethnic and racial balance of the community. The economic activity brought in a wide variety of ethnic groups to the fledging city during the 17th century, including Spanish, Jews, and Africans, some of them as slaves.

The Dutch origins can still be seen in many names in New York City, such as Coney Island (from "Konijnen Eiland" - Dutch for "Rabbit Island"), Bowery from Bouwerij, Brooklyn (from Breukelen), Harlem from Haarlem (formalized in 1658 as Nieuw Haarlem), Greenwich Village (from Greenwijck), Flushing (from Vlissingen) and Staten Island (from "Staaten Eylandt").

Willem Kieft became director general in 1638, but five years later was embroiled in Kieft's War against the Native Americans. The Pavonia Massacre, across the Hudson River in present day Jersey City resulted in the death of eighty natives in February 1643. Following the massacre, eleven Algonquian tribes joined forces and nearly defeated the Dutch. Holland sent additional forces to the aid of Kieft, which took part in the overwhelming defeat of the Native Americans, leading to a peace treaty on August 29, 1645 to end the war.

The island of Manhattan was in some measure self-selected as a future metropolis by its extraordinary natural harbor formed by New York Bay (actually the drowned lower river valley of the Hudson River, enclosed by glacial moraines), the East River (actually a tidal strait) and the Hudson River, all of which are confluent at the southern tip, from which all later development spread. Also of prime importance was the presence of deep fresh water aquifers near the southern tip, especially the Collect Pond, and an unusually varied geography ranging from marshland to large outcrops of Manhattan schist, an extremely hard metamorphic rock that is ideal as an anchor for the foundations of large buildings.

In 1664, English ships entered Gravesend Bay, in modern Brooklyn and troops marched to capture the ferry across the East River to the city, with minimal resistance: the governor at the time, Peter Stuyvesant, was unpopular with the residents of the city. Articles of Capitulation were drawn up, the Dutch West India Company's colors were struck on September 8, 1664, and the soldiers of the garrison marched to the East River for the trip home to the Netherlands. The date of 1664 appeared on New York City's corporate seal until 1975, when the date was changed to 1625 to reflect the year of Dutch incorporation as a city and to incidentally allow New York to celebrate its 350th anniversary just 11 years after its 300th.

The English renamed the colony New York, after the king's brother James, Duke of York and on June 12, 1665 appointed Thomas Willett the first of the mayors of New York. The city grew northward, remaining the largest and most important city in the colony of New York.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_New_York_City_(prehistory%E2%80%931664)", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0

The English had renamed the colony the Province of New York, after the king's brother James, Duke of York and on June 12, 1665 appointed Thomas Willett the first of the mayors of New York. The city grew northward, and remained the largest and most important city in the Province of New York. The Dutch regained the colony briefly in 1673, renaming it "New Orange", then ceded it permanently to the English in 1674 after the Third Anglo-Dutch War.

Leisler's Rebellion, an uprising in which militia captain Jacob Leisler seized control of lower New York from 1689 to 1691, occurred in the midst of England's "Glorious Revolution" and reflected colonial resentment against King James II, who in the 1680s decreed the formation of New York, New Jersey and the Dominion of New England as royal colonies, with New York City designated as the capital. This unilateral union was highly unpopular among the colonists. Royal authority was restored in 1691 by English troops sent by James' successor, William III. The event introduced the principle that the people could replace a ruler they deemed unsuitable; uprisings against royal governors sprouted throughout the colonies.

New York was cosmopolitan from the beginning, established and governed largely as a strategic trading post. One visitor during the early revolutionary period wrote that "the inhabitants are in general brisk and lively," the women were "handsome," he recorded—as did others new to the city—though, he added, "it rather hurts a European eye to see so many Negro slaves upon the streets." There were numerous ethnic groups but they generally stuck together and rarely intermarried. Freedom of worship was part of the city's foundation, and the trial for libel in 1735 of John Peter Zenger, editor of the New-York Weekly Journal established the principle of freedom of the press in the British colonies. Sephardic Jews expelled from Dutch Brazil were welcome in New York.

The New York Slave Insurrection of 1741 raised accusations of arson and conspiracy. Many slaves were executed on unclear charges. The Irish celebrated St. Patrick's Day at the Crown and Thistle Tavern as early as 1756. This holiday has since become a yearly city-wide celebration that is famous around the world as the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

The city was the base for British operations in the French and Indian War (the North American theater of the Seven Years' War) from 1754-1763. That conflict united the colonies for the first time in common defense, and moreover eliminated the main military threat that the colonists had relied upon Britain to defend them from. When two years after the conclusion of that war in 1765, the British Parliament imposed a Stamp Act to help finance the cost of defending the colonies, delegates from nine colonies met to protest at what would later be known as Federal Hall on Manhattan for the Stamp Act Congress.

The Sons of Liberty, a secretive and sometimes violent revolutionary group, was founded in the city, and in Boston immediately thereafter. The Sons engaged in a running conflict with British authority in the City over the raising of liberty poles in prominent public locations (see Battle of Golden Hill), from the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1766 until rebel control of the city in 1775. The poles, often when a signal device such as a red cap was placed atop the pole, served as rallying points for public assemblies to protest against the colonial government. The city was the main location of organized political resistance in the form of the Committee of Sixty and then later the New York Provincial Congress. Though the Sons of Liberty were active in the city and the lead statue of George III in Bowling Green was torn down and melted into musket balls in a celebration of the United States Declaration of Independence, the city probably held a larger proportion of Tories than any other place in the colonies before hostilities - though likely still short of a majority.

Washington and his men moved in to defend Manhattan in 1776, and their letters provide a rare behind the scenes look at the city during the revolution. Prior to roughly 1/3 of New York City's population fleeing the expected combat, the Continental soldiers came upon a grand city of wealth, a bustling center of commerce, shipbuilding and maritime trade. This was a city built for seafaring transit and trade, Manhattan's only connection to the mainland was the narrow, wooden King's bridge over the Harlem river, nearly 11 miles north of the city; most of its population of 20,000 was crowded into an area of less than a square mile near the East River wharves and the sprawling natural New York harbor.

The city's sharp-elbowed traders, stock brokers, and mariners brought with them great wealth. Henry Knox wrote his wife admiring New Yorkers' "magnificent" horse carriages and fine furniture, but condemning their "want of principle," "pride and conceit," "profaneness," and "insufferable" Toryism. Manhattan's free-wheeling ways did create an environment of loose tongues and loose women. A young Presbyterian chaplain "worried what the consequences might be to the American cause of so many of all ranks so habitually taking the name of the Lord in vain." "But alas, swearing abounds, all classes swear," he lamented.

The abundance of prostitutes in New York City—an estimated at 500 women plying "their trade" in 1776—was particularly distressing for many of the Continental soldiers of a puritan-bent, George Washington included. From Lieutenant Isaac Bangs of Massachusetts comes one of the most complete accounts of prostitution in revolutionary America; he had a medical degree from Harvard, and took it upon himself to tour the brothel district to inspect the health conditions of the neighborhood and investigate the seedy side of the city that so worried General Washington. He was absolutely appalled by the women of the bawdy houses, who, he thought, "nothing could exceed them in impudence and immodesty," but "the more I became acquainted with them, the more they excelled in their brutality."

April 22, barely a week after the Continentals arrived in the city, two soldiers were found dead hidden in a bordello, one corpse "castrated in a barbarous manner," Bangs reported. Soldiers went on a rampage in the brothel district "in furious retaliation." General Washington condemned all such "riotous behavior" and ordered military patrols in the district, a strict curfew, and other restrictions. General Washington understood the crucial strategic importance of New York and its waterways to the war effort, but "...had seen enough of New York on prior visits to dislike and distrust the city as the most sinful place in America, a not uncommon view."

General Washington correctly surmised that after their defeat at the Siege of Boston the British strategy would be to divide the colonies by capturing the strategic port and waterways of New York City. He then began to fortify the city and took personal command of the Continental Army at New York in the summer of 1776.

Five battles comprising the New York Campaign were fought around the city's then limits in late 1776, beginning with the Battle of Long Island in Brooklyn on August 27—the largest battle of the entire war. A quarter of the city structures were destroyed in the Great Fire on September 21, a few days after the British Landing at Kip's Bay and the Battle of Harlem Heights. Following the highly suspicious fire, British authorities apprehended dozens of people for questioning, including Nathan Hale, who was executed a day later for unrelated charges of espionage. The British conquest of Manhattan was completed with the fall of Fort Washington on November 16, 1776, and thereafter they held the city without challenge until 1783. Major General James Robertson, commandant in charge of the city confiscated houses of rebels who had left and distributed them to British officers.

Early British military success resulted in military occupation of the city, and the exodus of any remaining Patriots combined with a large influx of Loyalist refugees from throughout the former colonies, making the city solidly Loyalist for the remainder of the British occupation. The city became the British political and military center of operations for the rest of the conflict. For this purpose the map now known as the British Headquarters Map was drawn in 1782, the best map of Manhattan Island's largely natural, unengineered condition.

The city's status as the British nexus made it the center of attention for Washington's intelligence network. American prisoners were held under deliberately inhumane conditions on rotting British prison ships in nearby Wallabout Bay for much of the war. The policy of making prison conditions unbearable was ostensibly to encourage the soldiers to volunteer to join the British navy as an alternative. More American soldiers and sailors died on these ships from deliberate neglect than in every battle of the Revolution, combined.

The anniversary of Evacuation Day, in which the last British troops and many Tory supporters and collaborators departed in November 1783, was long celebrated in New York.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_New_York_City_(1665-1783)", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0

With the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783 and the resulting withdrawal of British troops from the city in that year, led to the Congress of the Confederation moving to Federal Hall on Wall Street in 1785. The first government of the United States, operating under the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union since its ratification in 1781, was soon found inadequate for the needs of the new nation. However, certain successes were achieved while in New York, including the passage of the Northwest Ordinance, which laid the framework for the addition of new states into the Union.

A call for revision to the Articles was led by New Yorker Alexander Hamilton, and the Annapolis Convention was convened with representatives from the states to discuss the necessary changes. Lacking representation from all of the states, the Convention made no suggestions for changing the Articles but instead drafted a report that led to the creation of a Constitutional Convention the following year to create an entirely new governing document.

The city's and state's status within the new union under the United States Constitution written in 1787 was under question when the Governor George Clinton proved reluctant to submit state power to a strong national government, and was opposed to ratification. Some New York City businessmen proposed New York City secession as an alternative to join the union separately, but Alexander Hamilton and others argued persuasively in the Federalist Papers published in city newspapers for state ratification, which after much dispute finally passed in 1788. George Washington was inaugurated as the first President on the balcony of Federal Hall in 1789, and the United States Bill of Rights drafted in the city. The Supreme Court of the United States sat for the first time in New York. After 1790, Congress left for Philadelphia.

In 1792, a group of merchants made the "Buttonwood Agreement" and began meeting under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street, beginning the New York Stock Exchange, while a yellow fever epidemic that summer sent New Yorkers fleeing (north) to nearby healthful Greenwich Village. In 1797, Hamilton's great rival, Aaron Burr, became head of Tammany Hall and turned it increasingly toward politics to support him in the 1800 presidential election.

In 1807, Robert Fulton initiated a steamboat line from New York City to Albany.

New York remained a cosmopolitan enclave within America. The new French consul gave a report in 1810 that remains perfectly familiar: "its inhabitants, who are for the most part foreigners and made up of every nation except Americans so to speak, have in general no mind for anything but business. New York might be described as a permanent fair in which two-thirds of the population is always being replaced; where huge business deals are being made, almost always with fictitious capital, and where luxury has reached alarming heights... It is in the countryside and in the inland towns that one must look for the American population of New York State." (quoted by Fernand Braudel, The Perspective of the World, 1984 p 406).

The French consul's "fictitious capital" betokens the world of credit, on which New Yorkers' confidence has been based. The Commissioners' Plan of 1811 imposed a surveyed grid upon all of Manhattan's varied terrain, in a far-reaching though perhaps topographically insensitive vision. On September 3, 1821 the Norfolk and Long Island Hurricane caused a storm surge of 13 ft in one hour, leading to widespread flooding south of Canal Street, but few deaths were reported. The hurricane is estimated to have been a Category 3 event and to have made landfall at Jamaica Bay, making it the only hurricane in recorded history to directly strike what is now New York City.

In 1824, a riot occurred in Greenwich Village between Irish Anglicans and Catholics, after a parade by members of the Orange Order. This was a precursor of the Orange Riots of the 1870s. On October 26, 1825 the Erie Canal was completed, forming a continuous water route from the western Great Lakes to the Atlantic and north to Lake Champlain; it helped the city grow further by increasing river traffic upstate and to the Midwest.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_New_York_City_(1784-1854)", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0