Some great moments in early New York City history:
1609 Henry Hudson sails up the river now known as the Hudson River in search of an ocean route to India.
1626 Peter Minuit makes the infamous purchase of Manhattan Island from Native Americans for 60 guilders in trinkets—roughly $24—the first "New York bargain."
1653 New Amsterdam becomes a city. Approximately 800 people reside in the area, mostly concentrated at the southern tip of Manhattan.
1664 Dutch rule ends after the English Duke of York’s fleet seizes the city. New Amsterdam subsequently becomes New York.
1673 A surprise Dutch invasion leads to New York becoming New Orange, after the Prince of Orange; however, the following year, New Orange again becomes New York when the Treaty of Westminster provides for a return to English rule.
1686 New York receives a royal charter.
1697 Trinity Church received its charter and land grant from the English King, William III. The annual rent for the land is "one peppercorne."
1774 The Sons of Liberty, a patriotic resistance group, fight British soldiers.
1776 Various battles take place in New York during the War of Independence; the city is occupied by the British and much of the city lies in ruins.
1789 George Washington is inaugurated as the first President of the United States. New York City serves as both the capital of the United States and New York state.
1790 New York, with a population of 33,000 is the largest city in America; the population nearly doubles in the next ten years.
1863 During the four days of the Civil War Draft Riots in July, thousands of rioters loot, burn and kill. After clashes with the police and national guard and army troops, the dead numbered over 2,000 with 8,000 injured.
1868 Planning for Central Park begins when city commissioners choose the "Greensward Plan" developed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.
1870 The population of New York City is approximately 1,000,000; nearly 4 of every 10 residents is foreign-born.
1882 Thomas Edison's Edison Electric Light company switches on his Pearl Street electical power generating station, supplying 59 customers 110 volts direct current to 59 customers in lower Manhattan for the first time.
1883 The Brooklyn Bridge opens, paving the way for the merger of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
1886 The Statue of Liberty, a gift from the French people to the United States, is dedicated. During successive waves of mass immigration, the Statue becomes the first sight of America seen by arriving immigrants in New York Harbor.
1898 Manhattan, geographically the smallest of the five boroughs, becomes the seat of government for the newly-merged New York City, consisting of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and The Bronx.
1904 On October 4th the first New York city subway opens, with 350,000 people riding the nine miles of tracks.
1939 The 1939-40 New York World's Fair at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens was one of the largest fairs of all time. Many countries participated in it, and over 44 million people attended its exhibits in two seasons and celebrated its "The World of Tomorrow" Theme.
1946 A United Nations committee voted to accept a six-block tract of Manhattan real estate offered as a gift by John D. Rockefeller Jr. to become the site of U.N. headquarters.