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History of New York State

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History. Two of the largest and most powerful Indian groups in North America lived in the New York region before white settlers arrived. One group consisted of tribes of the Algonquian family of Indians. The other was the Iroquois, or Five Nations group.
In 1609, Henry Hudson, an Englishman employed by the Dutch, sailed up the river that now bears his name. His voyage gave the Netherlands a claim to the territory covering much of New York and other eastern states. The territory was later named New Netherland.
The Dutch established trading posts and settlements in the Hudson River Valley soon after Hudson's visit. In 1624, Dutch settlers founded Fort Orange (now Albany), the first permanent white settlement in the colony. The Dutch bought Manhattan from the Indians in 1625 and began to build the city of New Amsterdam, now New York City.
Many English colonists settled on Long Island. They gradually began to oppose the Dutch. In 1664, the English sizeed New Netherland. They renamed the territory New York after the Duke of York.
Soon after the English won control of southern New York, the French began to take great interest in the northern part. Meanwhile, in 1689, war had broken out in Europe between England and France. New York soon became a battleground between the two countries. From 1689 until 1763, the region suffered severely through four wars, known as the French and Indian wars. The wars cost France almost all its North American possessions.
New York was the scene of many battles during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). In 1777, American patriots in New York won two important battles.
In 1779, a military expedition crushed the mighty Iroquois, leaving the Indians' territory open to white settlement. New York became a state of the U.S. in 1788.
War broke out between the United States and Britain in 1812, and fighting took place near the U.S.-Canadian border. After the war, pioneers began to settle in the northern and western sections of the state.
In 1825, the Erie Canal was completed, linking the Hudson River and the Great Lakes and greatly expanding trade with the West (see Erie Canal). The development of railways soon followed. By 1850, New York led the nation in population, in manufacturing, and in commerce.
After the American Civil War (1861-1865) ended, new manufacturing centres grew up in various parts of New York. New York City, already the nation's industrial and financial capital, also became a cultural centre. Employment opportunities brought new waves of immigrants.
In 1901, an assassin killed President William McKinley in Buffalo. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt, a former governor of New York, became President.
New York became a centre of the U.S. defence industry in the mid-1900's. The St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959, allowing ocean-going ships to sail to ports on the Great Lakes.
During the early 1970ts, many manufacturing plants in New York closed. But after the mid-1970s, the economy experienced a healthy recovery, mainly because of tremendous growth in service industries and electronics manufacturing. In 1986, New York voters approved a bond act to finance environmental projects, especially the cleaning up of hazardous waste sites.


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