Gotham, the Big Apple, the City that Never Sleeps: New York City is the emblem of America, to many, especially as we remember the tragedy of September 11th, 2001.
Over the past three centuries, New York has grown to greatly overshadow its namesake, the city of York in northern England. Before New York was New York, it was a small island called Manna-hata by the local Native American tribe. In the early 1600s, the Dutch West India Company sent Henry Hudson on an expedition to explore the island and the river for a possible trading post. The island had an ideal geographic position for trading with furs with the Native Americans. To establish the Dutch footprint in the New World, they planted a trading post on the southern tip of the island and called it New Amsterdam, after their capital city. New Amsterdam officially became a city in 1625, a year still noted on the flag of New York City. The settlement at New Amsterdam reached from the southern tip of Manhattan to what today is Wall Street. Beyond the northern border of Wall Street, Manhattan was full of farms and orchards.
The trading post thrived and grew until the English decided they wanted a piece of the pie. In 1664, James II of England, the Duke of York, sent four war ships to New Amsterdam to fight for rights to the island. Remarkably, the Dutch did not resist. Rather than fight a losing battle against a superior military, the governor of New Amsterdam (Peter Stuyvesant) and prominent citizens of the colony surrendered without bloodshed.
The Duke renamed the island for his home city of York, and the rest is history. The last sign of Dutch rule in Manhattan remains on the flag of New York City, which still reflects the three stripes of the Dutch flag and the original founding year of the city.
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