CHRONOLOGY OF NEW YORK CITY'S FACTUAL "FIRST" 1524-1999
Researched and Compiled by Miriam Medina

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*Please note this is a work in progress. New researched information will be added periodically.

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Probably the first European to visit the vicinity of New York was Giovanni Verrazano, who came in 1524;

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1) In the year after Verrazano touched at New York, the Spanish King sent a Portuguese navigator to explore the eastern shores of America. This man was a negro named Esteban Gomez. He reached the site of New York City on January 17, 1526. * (eonyc)

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1) The Haughwout family belongs to the early Dutch settlers in the New World. The first ancestor who emigrated to America was Pieter Janse Hagawout or Hagewout who arrived with his family at New Amsterdam from the Netherlands about 1600. * (Hollanders)


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1) In September, Henry Hudson (q.v.) explored the harbor and the river. Stepped ashore on Coney Island.

2) The first white man's habitation in what is now New York was a grave; for the crew of Hudson's Half Moon, after their fight with the aborigines on the mainland above Spuyten Duyvil Creek, in September, 1609, buried their dead before sailing homeward from their voyage of discovery up the great river named for their commander. * (Historic Towns)

3) In 1609 John Colman was killed by an arrow shot in his throat. He was the first European to die on the shore of New York. * (eonyc)

4) The Half Moon was the first ship ever to leave N.Y. directly for Europe. * (eonyc)

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1) It is said that the first "few rude hovels on Manhattan Island, the origen of New York City, was built in 1610, as a temporary shelter for the sailors. See Belfort's History of the United States. * (NYS History)

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1) Dutch explorer-navigator Adrien Block, circumnavigated Manhattan Island, passed through "Hell Gate" and discovered Long Island Sound . * (beatl)

2) In 1611, the merchants of Amsterdam opened a trade with the Indians.

3) The first trading ships between Manhattan, or New Amsterdam, and Holland were the "Little Fox'' and the "Little Crane," which were brought here in 1611 upon a speculating trading voyage, and spent a, considerable time in bartering the trinkets and
other trifies, so much coveted by the Indians for beaver and peltry, of which the country afforded a bountiful supply at the time. The adventure was a great success for the promoters, and we .find the "Little Fox" making several voyages to the river at later dates. This vessel was the first one built at New Amsterdam, was 44 1-2 feet long, 16 1-2 feet wide and 16 tons burden and named "Onrest." She was used in exploring the coast for a distance to the north of Long Island Sound, and it was in this vessel that Capt. Block was the first, it is thought, of any Europeans, to have visited Block Island, that lies at the entrance of Long Island Sound. * (honysy)

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1) Adrian Block opens the "New World's" first brewery in New Amsterdam. * (mcny.org)


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1) Four trading houses were built on Manhattan Island---Manhatanis" (meaning "those who dwell upon an island") being the name applied to the aboriginal Delaware inhabitants. *NYS History

2) Shipbuilding may be described as the first industry, after agriculture and hut building to be developed in New York. The burning of Adriaen Block's "Tiger" off Manhattan in 1613 and the building of the "Onrust" to replace it may be said to mark the beginning of the industry. * (NYS History)

3) In 1613, the Dutch, reinforced from Europe, erected a fort and refused to submit to the English. 

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1) Adriaan Block who sailed in "The Tiger." It is likely that he was the first man who intended to make the Hudson River the headquarters for the trade, for he had been guided in his sailing by Hudson's directions. Block, then, may well have been the first to realize the importance of the place, the first to conceive the idea of New York. We know that he was the first ship-builder on the river. Kindly assisted by the Indians, he built a small bark to supplant his own ship which had caught fire, and used this bark in
exploring the coast near the New York Harbor. In 1614 other Dutch skippers found him and rescued him, and from this moment on a regular trade in the Hudson Valley began. Small posts sprang up along the river, at Fort Nassau, and at Manhattan, and another was set up on the South River.

2) The coast of Manhattan is mapped by Dutch navigator Adriaen Block.

3) Block became the first white man to sail up the East River and stagger through Hellegat, now known as Hell Gate, the narrow and treacherous channel between Wards Island and Queens County.

4) As early as 1614 the first street mentioned is Pearl street, which was near the south walls of Fort Amsterdam and under command of its guns. It was so located to protect its inhabitants from the savages. Other streets were soon after formed in the vicinity, withy a similar precaution in view.

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1) A fort was erected on Manhattan in the year 1615. * (NYS History)

2) In 1615, the Dutch sailed up North or Hudson River, and erected Fort Orange, at Albany, on the spot, it is supposed, where the mansion house formerly occupied by Simeon DeWitt, the Surveyor General of the State of New York, now stands.

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1) Peter Minuit assigned to New Amsterdam as Dutch governor; secures deed to Manhattan from resident Indians. *MaritimeNY

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1) In the year 1617, a formal treaty of peace and alliance was concluded between the Dutch and the powerful nation of the Iroquois. This treaty, as may readily be imagined, greatly increased the prosperity of the Dutch traders, who had hitherto occupied Manhattan merely by the sufferance of the Indians. * (honycdtp)

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1) The English were exploring the coast and laying claim to all the country between Canada and Virginia and the Dutch began to realize the importance of planting colonies in the New Province. In 1620 Captain Thomas Durmer an Englishman in the service of Sir Fernando Gorges touched at Manhattan on his way to Neww Wngland, and warned the traders not to continue on English Territory to which they replied that it belonged to them of right as the first discoverers and occupiers. * (hocny)

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1) On the 3d of June, 1621, a charter was granted to the "West India Company," conferring on them for a period of twenty-one years, the exclusive jurisdiction over the province of New Netherland. The powers thus conferred upon this new association were as extensive as those enjoyed by the East India Company. * (hocny)


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1) In 1623, the first party of colonists came the Walloons, crossing in the good ship "New Netherland," commanded by Cornelius Jacobsen May (Mey) of Hoorn who was also to be first director. * (NYS History)

2) In the year 1623, "The Privileged West India Company" under its new charter of 1621 began its operations along the Hudson for the first time, with a direct view of colonization. *(A&C)

3) In the first emigration of Hollanders to New Netherland in 1623 came Pieter Casparszen Van Naarden (from Naarden) who was probably a trader for the Dutch West Indian Company and engaged in buying furs from the Indians. In 1626 his home was at "The Ferry" (Brooklyn) where his Kinsmans, Claes (Nicholas) Van Naarden owned land. * (Hollanders)

4) The first progenitor of the Wiltsee family to come to America was Philippe Maton Wiltsee who arrived from the Netherlands in New Amsterdam in May, 1623 sailing on the ship "New Netherlands". * (Hollanders)

5)  In 1623 the first colonists came to the new territory. The greater part of these settlers were Walloons, some of whom, under George Jansen de Rapalje, settled on the shores of Long Island at Waalbogt (Walloon's bay), now called Wallabout. The most powerful and extensive tribe of Indians inhabiting western Long Island at this time were the Canarsees. They were the first inhabitants of the New World to welcome Hendrik Hudson. * (b.d.e. 10/1/1892)

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1) As far as the East is concerned the first Dutch settlement was made in 1624. A Dutch settlement of thirty families established a trading post of New Amsterdam on southern tip of Manhattan Island. *Hollanders

2) First Director-General of New Newtherland was Cornelis Jacobsen May 1624-25

3) The first Christian religion in New York that of the Dutch Reform Church came with the earliest settlers in 1624. The colonists had regular services under the direction of an official known as "Comforter of the Sick". The first comforter was Jansz Sebastian Krol. * (NYS History) Vol: V

D) Andries de Graef of the Dutch East India Co. about 1624 he set sail in his ship "Claas Aaron" for New Amsterdam, settling there. * (Hollanders)

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1) Sarah the first girl of European Parents born in New Netherland, the daughter of Simon de Rapallo or Rapalje was born on June 6, 1625 at the Wallabout i.e., the Waalen Boght, or Walloon Bay now part of Brooklyn. * (NYS History)

2) The Dutch commenced their settlements on Long Island at the West End as early as 1625. * (A&C)

3) In 1625, three ships and a yacht, bringing a number of families, with their furniture, farming implements, and a hundred and three head of cattle, arrived at manhattan. Fearing lest the cattle might stray away into the forests, the settlers landed them on Nutten's, now Governor's Island, until further provision could be made for them; but finding the island destitute of water, they were compelled at once to carry them in boats to Manhattan. Two more vessels soon arrived, and the colony now numbered some two hundred persons. * (hocny)

4) Under Governor May the fur trade prospered, while the settlers eked out an existence from Indian supplies and the Company's stores. In 1625 the Company dispatched three vessels with horses, cattle, farming implements and seed, along with several families of emigrants. The animals were landed first at Nutten (Governor's) Island; but on account of the lack of pasture they were carried to Manhattan, where they throve on grass "as beautiful and long as one could wish." The goodly herbage for the beast had its counterpart in rich refreshment for man, since we are reliably informed that strawberries were so plentiful that people were accustomed "to lie down among them to eat them." (42)


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1) Peter Minuit buys Manhattan Island from chiefs of the Canarsie tribe for 60 guilders ($24) worth of gadgets and trinkets. Dutch settlers called their settlement New Amsterdam.

2) In May, 1626, the director, Peter Minuit, a Westphalian, appointed by the company as first governor of the colony, arrived in the harbor in his ship the Sea-Mew, leading a band of true colonists,—men who brought with them their wives and little ones, their cattle and their house-hold goods, and who settled down in the land *( Bartleby)

3) 1626 First shipments of furs from New Amsterdam to Holland * (MaritimeNY)

4) On July 27, 1626, a vessel named "The Arms of Amsterdam" arrived to Manhattan Island. Her passengers were Isaac de Rasieres the secretary of the colonial government, her captain Adriaen Joris. * (NYS History)

5) The Van Dusens descend from Abraham Pietersen Van Deursen or Van Dusen of Haarlem, the Netherlands, who emigrated from that city to the New Orl about 1626. Settled at New Amsterdam and later became its Burgomaster. * (Hollanders)

6) Under Minuet in 1626, the Provincial Government was organized. It was liberal and republican. No one was ostracized in consequence of his religious belief. Hither came the persecuted of all crimes. The Quakers fled from Massachusetts and Puritan bigotry to find a happy home among the Dutch. The liberal spirit manifested and the wise rules and regulations adopted by the early settlers for the government of the New Netherlands were the germ from which the immortal Jefferson caught his idea and received the inspiration to draw up and present to a waiting people the grandest document ever penned y human hand, the glorious Declaration of Independence. * (b.d.e. 10/5/1879)

7) The earliest known manifest of a vessel clearing from the port of New Earliest York is in a report made November 4, 1626, to the States-General of Known the arrival in Amsterdam of the ship Arms of Amsterdam, which sailed Manifest from New Netherland out of the river Mauritius on the 23d of September from the Port .. Her cargo comprised 7,246 beaver skins, a mixed lot of about of New York 1,000 skins,—otter, mink, wildcat, and muskrat,—and considerable oak timber and hickory. The value of the cargo was between $25,000 and $50,000 of our money. * (honysy)

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1) Dutch in New Amsterdam open trade with Plymouth Colony. *(MaritimeNY)

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1) The first ordained minister in New Amsterdam, the Rev. Jonas Michaelius reached the colony in 1628. He formally organized a church later known as "The Collegiate Church of New York of which Peter Minuit became the first elder. *NYS History

2) The Huguenot Church on Manhattan island: This Church was established in 1628, and has been in continuous service ever since. It is now known as Eglise Francaise du Saint Esprit. The close affinity of Walloon and French, was responsible for the founding of New Netherlands and the beginning of New York. The early Church was of stone and stood on The Broadway, bounded by Nassau, Maiden lane, and Pine Streets. The burial ground, containing the mortal remains of the most important Walloons and Huguenots, has long since disappeared in the March of Progress.

In 1628, the first minister arrived, Jonas Michaelius from Dieppe. Pierre Minnet arrived three years before, also a Huguenot from Wesel, in the Duchy of Cleves, on the Rhine. The two men coming from the same general background, exercised fine teamwork. A trading post was now to become an agricultural settlement. Manhattan island was purchased from the Indians for 24 dollars. Church services were held in a horse mill on Williams Street near Pearl. The millstones are still in the Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas, the mother church of old New York. Michaelius preached long sermons in Dutch, as difficult to digest as Krol's crullers. The first erected church building was at 39 Pearl Street, built of lumber, it was a barn-like structure. *(Huguenot migration)

3) In 1628, for the purpose of promoting immigration, an act was passed granting to any man who should bring over a colony of fifty souls a large tract of land and various privileges, with the title of “Patroon.” These patroons were really great feudal lords, who farmed out their vast estates to tenants who held the ground on various conditions. The introduction of this very aristocratic system was another evidence of the unwisdom of the governing powers.* (Bartleby)

4) The first religious services on Manhattan island, which in 1628 resulted in the organization of a church, were held in the upper room of the mill which ground the colonists' grain. It was not a wind mill and the machinery on the lower floor was propelled by horse power. On the upper floor the mill of God ground slowly, and on but one day in the week, while the wheels on the lower floor turned six days out of seven. The mill was prophetic and new York became not the city of churches, but the city of Commerce. The church in New York remains on the second floor of the mill. In Brooklyn the situation was different and the prophecy for the church was better. (b.d.e. 1/2/1898)

5) Early in the history of the colony the patroon system was introduced. By an act passed in 1628 it was provided that any man bringing out fifty souls should receive a grant of land and the hereditary title of patroon. (38)

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1) The West India Company published a charter under which private persons were offered as much land as they could adequately cultivate by immigrants. This charter was the origin of the well known patroonships.

2) Cornelius Walinie one of the earliest Dutch settlers in the New World, who came to America in 1629 and became the first patentee of Staten Island. * (Hollanders)

3)  In 1629, being resolved to establish a colony at New Amsterdam, as New York was then called, they appointed Walter Van Twiller governor, who held the office nine years.

4)Thomas Willett, Mayor in 1665-7.Captain Willett, the first Mayor of New York, was an Englishman, who emigrated to America with the Pilgrims, and arrived at Plymouth in 1629. He soon after engaged in trade with neighboring settlements, and was one of the pioneers of the carrying trade on the Sound, between this city (then New Amsterdam) and the English settlements. He is found to have acquired landed interests as early as the year 1645, and probably had a temporary residence established here, at that period. * (man1853)

5) The first governor of this colony was Wouter Van Twiller, who entered on the duties of his office in June, 1629, and continued in office nine years. (39)

6) The fortification erected at New York was called Fort Amsterdam, and the original name of New York was New Amsterdam. The first governor of this colony was Wouter Van Twiller, who entered on the duties of his office in June, 1629, and continued in office nine years.* (39)

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1) Staten Island was the favorite spot of the primitive Dutch settlers. It was first bought from the Indians for Micheal Pauw, a deed on record dated August 10, 1630. * (A&C)

2) Richmond: (Municipal ferry from foot of Whitehall Street every ten or fifteen minutes during the day time). This borough consists of Staten Island which was formerly occupied by the Hackensack and Raritan Indians. It was Henry Hudson who gave the name "Staaten Eylandt" (Island of the States) in honor of the States-General of the Netherlands. The Indians first sold the island to Peter Minuit in 1630. The first active colonizer was Cornelis Melyn who received the land as a patroonship in 1640. Melyn and his colonists were always quarreling with Stuyvesant and they suffered terribly at the hands of the Indians in 1655. In the days of the English the question arose as to what province Staten island belonged. It was decided by the Duke of York that "all islands in the harbor that could be circumnavigated in twenty-four hours should belong to New York". Sailing around the island in that short time was not easily done in the 17th century, but it was finally accomplished by Captain Christopher Billopp and the island allotted to new York. The Captain's reward was a grant of 1163 acres in the southern part of the island. This included the area now known as Tottenville. The island was made into Richmond County in 1683; in 1688 it was divided into the towns of Northfield, Southfield, Westfield and Castleton. Middletown was established in 1860. In 1898 Richmond became one of the five boroughs of Greater New York.* (historical handbook 1934)

3) 1630 John Bud (perhaps more properly Budd) and family came from London in the America in 1636. He was at New Haven in 1639, where he was tried for harboring Quakers. Thence he emigrated to Southold, L.I.

4) The first Episcopal Church erected on the Island was built in Brookhaven in 1630, and was known as St. Caroline's Church.* (b.d.e. 8//8/1886).

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