New York Colony

Founding, Facts, and Significance

James, Duke of York
King James II, circa 1690. As the Duke of York, he founded New York. Print Collector / Getty Images

Year Founded:

1664. 

New York was originally part of New Netherland. This Dutch colony had been founded after the area had first been explored by Henry Hudson in 1609. He had sailed up the Hudson River. By the following year, the Dutch began trading with the Native Americans. They created Fort Orange located at present-day Albany, New York, to take increase profit and take greater part of this lucrative fur trade with the Iroquois Indians.

 

Between 1611 and 1614, further explorations were explored and mapped in the New World. The resulting map was given the name, "New Netherland." New Amsterdam was formed from the core of Manhattan which had been purchased from the Native Americans by Peter Minuit for trinkets. This soon became the capital of New Netherland. 

Founded By:

James, Duke of York

Motivation for Founding:

In August 1664, New Amsterdam was threatened with the arrival of four English warships. Their goal was to take over the town. However, New Amsterdam was known for its heterogeneous population and many of its inhabitants were not even Dutch. The English made them a promise to let them keep their commercial rights. Due to this, they surrendered the town without a fight. The English government renamed the town New York, after James, Duke of York. He was given control of the colony of New Netherland. 

New York and the American Revolution: 

New York did not sign the Declaration of Independence until July 9, 1776 as they were waiting for approval from their colony.

However, when George Washington read the Declaration of Independence in front of City Hall in New York City where he was leading his troops, a riot occurred. The Statue of George III was ripped down. However, the British took control of the city with the arrival General Howe and his forces in September, 1776.

 

New York was one of the three colonies that saw the most fighting during the War. In fact, the Battles of Fort Ticonderoga on May 10, 1775 and the Battle of Saratoga on October 7, 1777 were both fought in New York. New York served as the major base of operations for the British for most of the war. 

The war finally ended in 1782 after the British defeat at the Battle of Yorktown. However, the war did not end formally until the signing of the Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783. The British troops finally left New York City on November 25, 1783. 

Significant Events:

  • The Albany Congress occurred at Albany, New York in 1754 to help unite the colonies for defense against the Iroquois Confederacy.
  • The Federalist Papers were published in New York newspapers to sway voters to accept the new constitution.
  • New York was the eleventh state to ratify the Constitution.

Important People: