Times Square, 1954. Photo credit: @ UmarHistory
Manhattan is one of the 5 Boroughs of New York City. The magical city of Manhattan is arguably the most recognized city in the entire world. It is known for countless attractions. Manhattan (also called by New Yorkers as The City, NYC, NYC Manhattan and Manhattan NYC) is the most populated city in America with an estimated 1.63 million people, all living in an area of just 23 square miles.
Manhattan has many nicknames including "The Big Apple," "The City that Never Sleeps," and "The City So Nice, They Named it Twice." It has the most National Historic Landmarks of any city in America with over 115.
Manhattan is also home to America's most skyscrapers including the tallest building. It is the most visited city in America, including the world's most visited spot, Times Square. It is home to the most filmed location in the world, Central Park. Manhattan hosts the largest parade in the world, the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. There is also Broadway, one of the world’s best-known streets as well as the United Nations headquarters. Midtown Manhattan is the largest central business district in the world.
Downtown Manhattan is where the worst attack in American history took place back on Sept 11, 2001. The downtown Manhattan area is also home to the world's largest and most active financial district, Wall Street. Manhattan is also home to Ellis Island where from 1892 to 1924 the island was America's largest and most active immigration station, where over 12 million legal immigrants were strictly processed.
But did you know Manhattan is also one of America's most historic cities? The history of the city is nothing short of fascinating. It is host to some of America's oldest places like the oldest hospital, oldest traffic circle, oldest bank, oldest competition and several other oldest places in America.
Manhattan is home to Federal Hall which now stands where the first ever American law was written, first US Congress, and first oath of office of the President of the United States when George Washington was sworn in 1789.
The first native New Yorkers were the Lenape, an Algonquin people who hunted, fished and farmed in the area between the Delaware and Hudson rivers. Europeans began to explore the region at the beginning of the 16th century–among the first was Giovanni da Verrazzano, an Italian who sailed up and down the Atlantic coast in search of a route to Asia–but none settled there until 1624. That year, the Dutch West India Company sent some 30 families to live and work in a tiny settlement on “Nutten Island” (today’s Governors Island) that they called New Amsterdam.
In 1626, the settlement’s governor general, Peter Minuit, purchased the much larger Manhattan Island from the natives for 60 guilders in trade goods such as tools, farming equipment, cloth and wampum (shell beads).
Fewer than 300 people lived in New Amsterdam when the settlement moved to Manhattan. But it grew quickly, and in 1760 the city (now called New York City; population 18,000) surpassed Boston to become the second-largest city in the American colonies. Fifty years later, with a population 202,589, it became the largest city in the Western hemisphere. Manhattan, New York City served as the nation’s capital from 1785 to 1790