The region around the modern New York was originally inhabited by the Lenape Native Americans. Florentine explorer Giovanni da Verrazano, in the service of the French crown, assigned by King Francis I, was the first European that landed in New York Bay in 1524. Verrazzano discovered the region of Manhattan, which the natives called "Manahatta", but also the river that was later named Hudson River, in the honour of the explorer Henry Hudson.
European colonization began on the 3rd of September 1609, when the Englishman Henry Hudson, in the service of the Dutch West Indian Company, sailed here for the first time. In 1613, the Dutch West Indian Company founded here the colony Nieuw Nederland and in 1626, Minnewit Peter, a German in the service of the same company was responsible for establishing a new trading colony on the southern part of the Manhattan Island, called Nieuw Amsterdam. Around this first establishment, new settlements emerged thanks to the rapid development of this new commercial centre. After the 17th century, these settlements are known as the small towns of Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. In 1664, Peter Stuyvesant, governor of the colony, surrendered to the British, who renamed the city to New York in honor of the Duke of York. Five years later, the Dutch retook the colony. But in the end, came under permanent British rule in 1674. The first written testimony of New York City dates from 1683.
In 1754, Columbia University was founded by George II of Great Britain as King's College in Lower Manhattan.
With a prime coastal location, New York has developed rapidly. Many immigrants began arriving here from all over the world, and the population grew rapidly, reaching about 100,000 in the early 19th century. Also, in the 19th century, New York was not only the largest city in the United States, but also a symbol of growth and prosperity, but at that time 1 in 7 people in the city were living in poverty. Because of the rapid growth it was necessary to elaborate an ambitious urban expansion plan, the Commissioners' Plan of 1811, which expanded the network of city streets to cover all of Manhattan. In 1857 works and planning were completed for the Central Park, the first landscaped park in an American city.
In the first half of the 20th century, the city became a world centre for industry, commerce and communications. In 1904, the first transportation company operated underground. In 1925, New York became the world's most populous city, overtaking London. In the 30's, despite the Great Depression, in New York numerous skyscrapers were built. In the period before and after the Second World War, in the area were built bridges, parks and promenades. New York emerged intact from the Second World War and became the most important city in the world.
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