New York City (The City of New York), with an estimated population (2016) of 8,537,673, is the most populous city in the US. The city is one of the most culturally vibrant and historically rich cities in the country. Being a major financial center and trading hub of the word, NYC naturally attracts many immigrants, lending itself to diversity.
When we ask “How old is New York City?” we tend to receive different answers. Let us look at a few of these.
The origins of NYC in terms of the settlement of Native Americans, go back to a time before any records of history were maintained. Before the arrival of the Europeans, the native Lenape tribes had established at least 80 settlements in the region that now forms part of NYC.
Through the 1500s and the early 1600s, Europeans undertook numerous explorations of the region. Giovanni da Verrazzano (1524) and Henry Hudson (1609) were among the earliest Europeans to visit this region, but it was only in 1613 that the Dutch established their first trading post in what is now west Manhattan. In 1624, the Dutch established their settlement here and called it New Amsterdam. If we consider the age of the Big Apple in terms of its settlement by Europeans, this is the date to note.
Twenty-Five years of Dutch administration, New Amsterdam was granted self-government in the year 1652, and the following year (February 2nd, 1653) New Amsterdam was incorporated as an independent city. It would, in later years, grow into one of the largest and most influential cities in the world.
Following almost four decades of Dutch domination, the English managed to conquer the area and gave it its modern name – New York – in 1664. On April 27th, 1686, the devoutly Catholic Governor Thomas Dongan granted the Dongan Charter of the City of New York. This is a very important milestone in the development of New York City since it put the city’s vacant lands all under the ownership of the municipal administration. This year is also sometimes considered when calculating the “age” of New York City.
Most people, however, consider 1624 – the establishment of the Dutch settlement – as the origin of the city.