New York Archivist : 

- New York Fast Facts -


The state of New York is located in the northeastern United States and is bounded on the north by Canada, on the east by Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut, on the south by the Atlantic ocean, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and west by Pennsylvania and Canada.

In 1609 Henry Hudson claimed the region for the Dutch and, five years later, Fort Nassau was built where the city of Albany is now. The first Europeans to visit the region were Jesuit missionaries and French colonists who ventured southward from settlements at Montreal.

The first major battle following the Declaration of Independence was fought at the Battle of Long Island in August 1876. It was also the largest battle of the Revolutionary War. Nearly a third of the battles were fought in New York and, following their victory at the Battle of Long Island, the British occupied New York City and made it their base of operations and remained there until 1783. In 1777 the British suffered a major loss when Gen. John Burgoyne surrendered his army at the Battle of Saratoga.

Under the Articles of Confederation, ratified by all thirteen states on March 1, 1781, New York City was the national capital. It was there, on March 4, 1789, that the first session of the new Congress convened, and it was there that General George Washington was inaugurated as the first President on April 30, 1789. In 1790 the capital was moved briefly to Philadelphia and moved to Washington, D. C. later the same year.

New York was admitted to the Union as the 11th state on July 26, 1788. George Clinton took office as New York's first governor on July 30, 1777 and is New York's longest serving governor, having served seven terms in two different periods. In 1817 his nephew, DeWitt Clinton, took office as governor of New York and in July of that year turned the first shovelful of dirt to break ground for the Erie Canal. The canal opened on October 26, 1825 and was originally about 363 miles.

On August 1, 1855 Castle Garden opened as the nation's first immigration station. Located in Battery Park, Manhatten, New York City, The facility was the landing place for more than 8 million immigrants between 1855 and 1890. The heaviest tide of immigration passing through Castle Garden was in 1888 when 419,718 were processed through the facility. Congress appropriated $75,000 to build America's first federal immigration station on Ellis Island in 1890 when the federal government assumed control of immigration. The first building was constructed of wood and was totally destroyed by fire on June 15, 1897. The second building was constructed of red brick and opened on December 17, 1900. Ellis Island closed in 1954 after processing some twelve million immigrants.

New York has sixty-two counties which cover 54,555 square miles. The largest city is New York City. Albany is the capital of New York.


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