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New York (NY) Fast Facts
Location and Geography: New York is considered to be one of the major states forming the geography and culture of the Northeastern area of the United States, also known as the East Coast or the Eastern Seaboard. It is bordered by several other US states as well as Canada, some of the Great Lakes, and the Atlantic Ocean.
Counties and Regions: New York is organized into 62 administrative counties, but it has also been divided into eleven larger and more recognizable general regions, as follows:
- Chautauqua/ Allegheny
- Greater Niagara/ Niagara Frontier
- Finger Lakes
- Thousand Islands/ Seaway
- Central-Leatherstocking/ Central Region
- Adirondack Mountains
- Catskill Mountains
- Hudson Valley
- Saratoga/ Capital District
- New York City
- Long Island
Major Cities: The most famous city in New York is, of course, New York City itself. This world-famous city is the most populated city in the country, not to mention the state.
Population: As previously mentioned, New York City is home to the state’s most concentrated population, with more than 8 million people making their homes there. New York State as a whole has a population well upwards of 19 million.
Story Behind the Name: Like many places in the Eastern United States, New York State has a British origin to its name. It was originally colonized by the Dutch and referred to as New Netherland, but this changed when it was annexed to the English in 1664. New York, along with many other places in the world that share the name, was named after the British Duke of York, James Stuart.
History and Colonization: New York was one of the thirteen original colonies from which the United States would later grow. The area had been populated by Native American tribes for thousands of years, but began to suffer European colonization as early as the sixteenth century. In the 1760s, about a century after the British acquired it from the previous Dutch settlers, New York would become one of the major staging grounds of the American Revolution.
The struggle between the Patriots and the Crown was a heated and bloody one in New York, and New York City was captured and retaken several times. New York submitted a Constitution in 1777 that declared independence from British rule, and would prove to be a source of many ideas for the later United States Constitution, which New York would be the eleventh state to ratify.
The 19th century saw New York become a center of industrialization, immigration, and innovation, most notably in the region of New York City. Millions of immigrants poured into New York from Europe and elsewhere, creating the legendary “melting pot” that would become a mainstay of American identity. The Erie Canal, completed in 1825, was an innovative project that connected the Hudson River to Lake Erie, meaning that there was now a navigable water route between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. Railways and other new forms of transportation sprung up all over the state, leading up to the creation of the landmark New York City subways in the early twentieth century. New York became known around the world for its symbolic landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty and the famous New York City skyline.
By the 1900s, New York State (and New York City in particular) had cemented its place as a hub of American culture and commerce. During the Roaring Twenties, New York went through a period of sharp growth, giving rise to much of New York City’s unique architecture and the influential financial district of Wall Street. Even after so many years, New York maintains its place as one of the major gateways to the United States. Though industrial development has declined, it is known today as a center of the media and arts industries, in addition to simply being one of the most dynamic places in the country.