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The Early Days
Giovanni da Verrazano
Although the Algonquin Indians probably got there first, it all really started when Giovanni da Verrazano sailed into the bay in 1524.

Then almost a century later, according to the famous story, Peter Minuit, on behalf of the Dutch, swapped beads and trinkets worth about 60 Guilders, for the big island which the Indians called Man-a-Hatt-ta - 'Island of the Hills'. Not a bad price even in 1626!

A trading post was set up called New Amsterdam, and everything was fine for a while... until the British arrived!

Rather than risk bloodshed, the Dutch surrendered the city to the British in 1664 and it was immediately renamed New York, not after the city of York in England, as you may think, but after the Duke of York, who was the brother of King Charles II.

George Washington

More than a century later, George Washington marched into New York, the last British enclave to fall in the War of Independence, and created America's first capital city in 1783.

In the 1800s, New York became a major shipping destination and Ellis Island played host to masses of immigrants from all over the world, mainly Italians, Chinese, Jews, Germans, Russians and of course the Irish, without whom the New York Police Department would not be what it is today.

New York City was born in 1898 from a decision known as 'The Great Mistake', which referred to the bringing together of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and The Bronx.

This effectively created the world's second largest city at the time. And the rest, as they say, is history!

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