New York became the 11th of the original 13 colonies to ratify the Constitution on July 26, 1788 by a vote of 30 to
The year 2000 Census ranks New York 3rd by population with 18,976,457 residents. Today, New York has an estimated
New York Facts
July 26, 1788
Voting Results: 30 to 27
2000 Population: 18,976,457 2005 Population
Native American Population: 82,461
Highest Elevation: Mount Marcy at 5,344 ft.
Atlantic Ocean at 0 ft. Area: 47,214 sq miles
Avg Annual Rain: 39 in.
Location: the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions
Bird: Bluebird State Flower: Rose State Gem: Garnet State Tree: Sugar Maple State Animal: Beaver State
Insect: Ladybug State Fish: Brook Trout State Reptile: Snapping Turtle
State Fossil: Sea Scorpion
State Colors: Blue & Gold
Song: I Love New York
The indigenous people of New York did not just spring from the earth; they came here from someplace else. That someplace else
was probably Asia. There is no archaeological evidence of habitation in New York prior to the end of the last ice age, some
10,000 - 15,000 years ago (Pleistocene Epic). The melting ice opened up a path leading from Asia across to Alaska across
the Bering Stratit, down through Canada, and into the southwestern United States. Wandering peoples from Asia followed
the big game herds that migrated through the newly melted ice path. They in fact eventually wandered all the way to the southern
tip of South America. The eastward migration to the eastern seaboard of the U.S. occurred much later than the southern migration,
making the eastern U.S. among the last places to be settled by these wandering tribes. There were most likely millions of inhabitants
in the western United States before they began their slow migration to the east coast.
The Early Migrations
The first definite occupation of New York was by people related to the Eskimo, or Algonquian, and Iroquoian-speaking Native Americans.
Wave after wave of Algonquian occupants passed over New York, lasting scores of generations and thousands of years, occupying every
corner of the state.
The Algonquians, including the Mohegan, Lenni Lenape, and Wappinger tribes, lived chiefly in the Hudson
valley and on Long Island. The Iroquoian stock, which includes the Cherokee, the Wyandot-Huron, the confederated Five Nations, the
Erie, the Neuter, the Tuscarora and other smaller tribes, wedged itself into the lands of the eastern shores of lakes Ontario, and
Erie, the southern tip of Lake Huron and part of Indiana. The Iroquois tribes spread over all of northern Ohio and all of New York,
except the triangle running from Lake George to the Delaware River, and occupied all of Pennsylvania, except for a small
strip on the eastern border. The Iroquoian stock was also to be found in parts of Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Alabama
The Iroquoian culture lasted several hundred years and was an important part of colonial history.
Giovanni da Verrazano, an Italian-born navigator sailing for France, discovered New York Bay in 1524. However, it wasn't until after
Henry Hudson's visit in 1609 that settlements were established in the area.
After several failed attempts to find the Northeast
Passage to Asia, Hudson received funding from the Dutch East India Company, a popular tea corporation, to explore the world in 1609.
Hudson, an Englishman, explored the Hudson River to a point north of Albany and set the stage for the Dutch colonization.
That same year northern New York was explored, and claimed for France, by Samuel de Champlain.
Dutch forts were established near
the site of the present-day capital of Albany in 1614. In 1624 the first permanent Dutch settlement was established at Fort
Orange (now Albany). In 1625 Peter Minuit purchased Manhattan Island from the Lenape Indians for trinkets worth about 60 Dutch
guilders (actual amount is highly disputed) and founded the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (now New York City), which was primarily
a fur trading settlement.
The American Revolution
War of Independence
For 40 years the dutch ruled over the territory of New Netherland. With the Dutch in the south, and the French in
the north, and the British on the sidelines, the area was primed for conflict.
In 1664 the Duke of York equipped an armed expedition, and
took possession of New Amsterdam, which was then renamed Province of New York. Thus began the English intrusion into New York
state. The Dutch responded by sending a fleet to recapture New York, In February of 1674 the matter was settled by
the treaty of Westminister which gave ownership of the colony (and the right to colonize eastward into the state) to England.
days after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, on July 9, 1776, New York declared itself an independent state. On
April 20, 1777 the state constitution was adopted, and On July 30, 1777, George Clinton was inaugurated as the first Governor of New
York at the city of Kingston.
Native American Tribes: Fourteen tribes on 8 reservations including: Onondaga, Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, St. Regis, Tuscarora,
The Iroquois Confederacy, thought to have been founded in the late 16th century, originally consisted of five tribes—the Mohawk, Onondaga,
Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca—in what is now central New York State. The confederacy came to be known among Europeans as the League of
Five Nations. In the early 18th century the Tuscarora, an Iroquoian people of present-day North Carolina, migrated to New York and,
in 1722, were formally admitted to the alliance; the confederacy then became known as the League of Six Nations, or simply the Six
Until about 1755--the Iroquois Five Nations exercised dominance among tribes of the East, and were the buffer states that
protected the Dutch and English colonies from French attack. With the passing of the French, the ascendancy of the Iroquois as a dictatory
power came to an end.
During the French and Indian War, the Iroquois sided with the British against the French and their Algonquin
allies, both traditional enemies of the Iroquois. At the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775, the league council declared
for neutrality but allowed each of the Six Nations to take sides as it saw fit. The Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca joined the
British; the Oneida and Tuscarora sided with the rebels. After the revolution ended in 1783, many Iroquois settled in Canada under
the Mohawk chief Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea), who had led Iroquois and British in battle.
Manhattan, New York City
The Europeans Arrive
The colonists were generally unhappy with their treatment by the English king and rebellion in all thirteen colonies grew stronger
in the 1700’s. In 1775, Revolutionaries seized control of the colonial governments and set up the Second Continental Congess, which
then formed a Continental Army with George Washington as Commander in Chief . In May of 1776, Washington moved his army down to New
York from Boston, and on July 4, 1776 congress declared independence from England.
The war lasted eight years, with about one-third of
all battles fought in New York state.
The fighting began with "the shot heard around the world on" April 19, 1775. On the
night of April 18, 1775, British General Gage sent 700 men to seize munitions stored by the colonial militia at Concord Massacusetts.
On arriving in Lexington on the following morning, the British troops were met by a small force of militiamen. A skirmish ensued
killing eight militiamen. The British marched on to Concord where, at the Concord Bridge, they were met by a larger force
of nearly 500 militiamen. The militia returned fire killing several British regulars. The British retreated all the way
back to Boston, harrassed the entire way by pursuing militia. The militia converged on Boston bottling up the British.
The British received reinforcements and this was soon followed by the Battle of Bunker Hill. The war was on.