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3. History

The Algonquins, an Indian tribe, occupied Long Island, Manhattan and most of the Hudson valley, before White Men set foot on New York soil in 1524, when Giovanni da Verrazano arrived as a representative of the King of France. Despite Verrazano's positive reports, the King of France did not show any signs of interest. In 1609, Henry Hudson undertook a more extensive exploration, including his cruise up the river, which now bears his name. However, the Dutch expressed no enthusiasm for settling and establishing colonies. It was the potential for trade with the Indians that finally encouraged Dutch interest in the region. Even today, towns and cities, not only in New York, but all over the United States, carry Indian names, for instance: Mamaroneck, White Plains, Tuckahoe; others carry names from settlers, or from cities, like Berlin, Vienna, etc. The first settlers arrived on Manhattan in 1624, and established a permanent settlement the year after, named New Netherland. In the same year, Fort Orange,

now Albany, also capital of New York State, was established as the first European settlement. The next year, Governor Peter Minuit, a Dutchman, purchased Manhattan Island from the local Indians for 60 guilders, about $24, thereby founding the Dutch settlement New Amsterdam.

Other settlements were instituted by the Dutch during that time, mainly Queens, Brooklyn and The Bronx. Queens was founded in 1635. Dutch settlers founded Brooklyn one year afterwards, in 1636, naming it after a Dutch town Breuckelen. The Bronx, first settled in 1639, was named after an early settler, Jonas Bronck. It was originally part of Westchester County, a suburb of New York, and was incorporated into New York City, along with Brooklyn and Queens in 1898.

The settlement of Harlem followed in 1658, originally named Nieuw Haalem also by the Dutch. It remained a quiet region of farms until the mid 1800s, when rail travel made it easily accessible from Lower Manhattan. First it became a fashionable summer resort and then the focus of a building boom. African-Americans began living in the area in the early 1900s, and by 1920, Harlem had become the most dominant African-American community in the United States. Despite the overcrowding and poverty that plagued it until World War II, Harlem served as an intellectual and artistic center. After the war, physical deterioration accelerated. It was caused by a rapidly growing population, exasperated by "Anti-Black discrimination" that limited the area's expansion, and the increasing abandonment of residential buildings by their owners. Housing problems were further intensified by the postwar immigration of thousands of Puerto Ricans into the eastern edges of the area, now called Spanish Harlem.

In 1647, Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant paid the colony a visit, and was astonished by its appearance. He surrendered the bankrupt colony of New Netherland to the British, who renamed it New York, in honor of the Duke of York. New Jersey was separated from the rest of the colony shortly afterwards. Peter Stuyvesant was named Governor and under him, the city boomed and grew economically. It developed into a major trade center. New York also became a center of political activity, before and after the American Revolution. George Washington established his headquarters in New York in 1776, however, he was driven out by the British, who retained control until the end of the Revolution. From 1789 to 1797, George Washington served as the first President of the United States, having reestablished his headquarters in New York. Until 1796, New York was the capital of New York State, thereafter Albany served as the State government's seat.

The 1800s were a time of growth and prosperity for New York State, clearly expressed in its nickname The Empire State. New York City became a leading industrial center, noted for its excellent transportation system, and the news capital of the country. In 1784, Alexander Hamilton organized the Bank of New York. By 1790, the population of New York had exceeded 33,000. New roads, schools, newspapers, hospitals, and industries were founded, chiefly resulting in an extension of the city's area. In 1825 the Erie Canal opened, thereby increasing the importance of the city's commerce. By 1830 the population had grown to nearly 200,000.

After the Civil War, the city's economy prospered, partly because of the increasing number of immigrants, who provided a source of inexpensive labor. During the following years, New York's architecture changed rapidly. Skyscrapers towered above the city, the German John Roebling started constructing the Brooklyn Bridge, that was later finished by his son Washington Roebling. As industry developed throughout the country, it evolved particularly in New York, where financial geniuses, like John D. Rockefeller and Cornelius Vanderbilt founded steel, rail and oil empires.

In 1898, New York City became Greater New York City, encompassing the present five boroughs.

The American economy expanded gradually, until disaster struck in the late 1920s. Starting in 1929, stock prices unsteadily held their status, but slid downwards towards the end of the year. By the time the stock markets hit the bottom, the Great Depression started. President Hoover's solutions did not stabilize the country's economy, until the next election took place in 1933. In March, President Roosevelt took office, introducing The New Deal. During his period, the economy recovered slowly, though the Second World War represented the definite end of the Depression.

During that time, the Prohibition was introduced by the 18th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It was strictly forbidden to consume alcoholic beverages or to bargain with them. The Prohibition ended, when in 1933 the 21st Amendment was passed.

During the 1970s, New York City suffered greatly, mainly because of a financial crisis and slowed economic growth. The middle class moved out of the City into the suburbs. Major companies deserted New York as well. Inspite of that, New York remained the country's leader in Banking, Communications and Securities. Poor African-Americans and Hispanics remained in the slums, partly because of the continuing high unemployment rate. Due to rising costs, the city was forced to reduce public services and continued to rely on the federally backed Loan Packages. During that time New York's Vice President was Nelson Rockefeller. However by the late 1980s, New York had regained its financial reputation, although it continued to face serious problems in infrastructure (e.g. bridges and water pipes were decayed). In addition the city was faced with official corruption, environmental and social problems, and crime. In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro took office as Vice President.

Today Governor Mario Cuomo plays a vital role in the federal Democratic Party.