New York History Facts

The history of New York state spans several centuries and is steeped in the history of the colonization of North America. These facts about New York history will give you a brief overview of the state.

  1. First Settlers

    • New York was settled in the early 1600s after Henry Hudson explored the area now known as New Jersey and New York for the Dutch East India Co. Dutch settlers arrived and began settling the area in 1613.

    Native Americans

    • As the Dutch lay claims to the land, they displaced and ultimately killed many Native Americans in the New York area. Tribes including the Mohawk clashed with Dutch over land, trade and more.

    British Rule

    • In 1664, England pushed forward laying claim to the area now known as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware, thanks to the earlier discoveries in North America by explorer John Cabot. The Duke of York, James, sent a ship to claim the land from the Dutch. The exchange was made without a battle.


    • After the Revolutionary War, New York became a state on July 26, 1788. The capital is Albany. Construction on the Capitol was completed in 1899 after 32 years.

    New York and the U.S. Government

    • When the Constitution was ratified in June 1788, the U.S. capital was New York City, though it was soon moved to Philadelphia. New York has produced four U.S. presidents: Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.


    • New York City has been the site of two major terrorist attacks. On Feb. 26, 1993, a bomb was set off in the lower level parking area beneath the North Tower of the World Trade Center. It had been smuggled in using a rental truck. The explosion killed six people and wounded more than 1,000. The second attack occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, when two airplanes were flown into the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center, killing more than 2,800 people. A portion of lower Manhattan remained closed to non-emergency personnel for about 10 days, but some residents and businesses chose to stay away from the area known as Ground Zero for longer because of poor air quality. Schools in the area slowly reopened, with the last two opening five months after the attacks. It was two years before the PATH trains began running again to the stop at Ground Zero.

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