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Revised 27 December 2010


New York was explored by Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524. He sailed into New York Bay, but did not remain.  In 1609, Henry Hudson traveled up the Hudson River in 1906.  Hudson believed that he had finally found the Northwest Passage to the Orient and he sailed his ship, the Half Moon, 150 miles inland before the river was discovered to be too shallow to navigate.  Hudson considered his voyage a failure, but his employers, the Dutch East India company considered this voyage significant.   Samuel de Champlain explored the area which he later named for himself--Lake Champlain.   New York was colonized by the Dutch in 1624 when the New Netherlands colony was established at Albany.  The Dutch increased the number of settlers in its colony by encouraging people to come from Scandinavia, Great Britain and Germany.  The town of New Amsterdam was founded in 1625.  In 1626, the Dutch bought the rights to Manhattan from the Manhattan Indians and held this area until it was captured from them by the British in 1664 and renamed New York City.   

Puritan families from Massachusetts and Connecticut began moving into the area around 1640.  By 1700, German families began moving into the Mohawk Valley.  The French moved southward from Canada and other French families along with Spaniards and Portuguese came to the area from the West Indies following uprisings in that area.  

In 1735, the first major victory for freedom of the press occurred when John P. Zenger, publisher, was cleared of libel charges.  This issue became a consideration in the American Constitution and continues to raise political issues even today.

Around 1740, settlers began arriving from Connecticut, migrating across the sound and settling in Long island.  Dutchess, Westchester and Orange counties began seeing an influx of people.  By the Revolutionary War, settlers were living on Long Island, the banks of the Hudson River, there were Palatine German settlements along the Mohawk River and some New Englanders had moved into the extreme south-eastern part of the state.

New York hosted a congress in 1765 over the issue of the Stamp Act.  This unfair taxation became a major issue in the ultimate war for independence.  

New York broke ties with England in 1776 and joined the fight for freedom and independence..  The Hudson River played a role in the history of America that goes unparalleled.  It was used by the Algonquin and Iroquois Indians to travel around the state.  Settlers closely followed the river's northward course, spreading out along its fertile valleys.  During the Revolutionary War, the Hudson served as a natural barrier, separating the free colonies of New England from British-held New York City.  With control of the Hudson River and the military installation situated on this river at West Point, the American armies were able to throttle the British supply lines while keeping their own moving.

New York ratified the United States Constitution in 1788 and on 26 July 1788, became the 11th state of the Union.  In 1789, General George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States.  New York continued host significant events throughout its history.  In 1825, the Erie Canal opened linking the Atlantic Ocean with the Great Lakes, and then the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, with the Hudson-Mohawk-Erie waterway serving as the gateway to the west for thousands of pioneer families.  In 1830, New York was the founding state of the Church of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) which was founded at Fayette.  In 1848, New York hosted the first Women's Rights convention at Seneca Falls.  In 1863, during the Civil War, anti-draft riots caused 1,000 casualties.  In 1886, the Statue of Liberty, one of the foremost symbols of American Freedom, was dedicated in New York Harbor.  In 1901 President William McKinley was assassinated in Buffalo.  In 1911, a major fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York city killed 145 poor souls and led to the enactment of major labor reforms.  In 1929, the New York stock market crashed leading to one of the worst depressions in our economic history.  The worlds fair was hosted by New York in 1939 and in 1946, New York City was chosen as the host site for United Nations headquarters.  One cannot consider New York City without mention of the tragic event of September 11 and the bombing of the World Trade Center.  New York continues to be a herald for freedom and the American way of life and the courage of its people gives the new generations a path upon which to set their feet.

Name Date formed Parent County County Seat
Albany 1683 Original County Albany
Allegany 1806 Genessee Belmont
Bronx 1914 New York Bronx
Broome 1806 Tioga Binghamton
Cattaraugus 1808 Genessee Little Valley
Cayuga 1799 Onondaga Auburn
Charlotte 1772 Renamed Washington County in 1784  
Chautauqua 1808 Gennessee Mayville
Chemung 1836 Tioga Elmira
Chenango 1798 Herkimer, Tioga Norwich
Clinton 1788 Washington Plattsburg
Columbia 1786 Albany Hudson
Cortland 1808 Onondaga Cortland
Delaware 1797 Ulster, Otsego Delhi
Dutchess 1683 Original County Poughkeepsie
Erie 1821 Niagara Buffalo
Essex 1799 Clinton Elizabethtown
Franklin 1808 Clinton Malone
Fulton 1838 Montgomery Johnstown
Genesee 1802 Ontario Batavia
Greene 1800 Ulster, Albany Catskill
Hamilton 1816 Montgomery Lake Pleasant
Herkimer 1791 Montgomery Herkimer
Jefferson 1805 Oneida Watertown
Kings 1683 Original County Brooklyn
Lewis 1805 Chenango Lowville
Livingston 1821 Genesee, Ontario Genesee
Madison 1806 Chenango Wampsville
Monroe 1821 Genessee, Ontario Rochester
Montgomery 1772 Albany (known as Tryon until 1784) Fonda
Nassua 1899 Queens Mineola
New York 1683 Original County New York
Niagara 1808 Genesee Lockport
Oneida 1798 Herkimer (See Jefferson--some records may be housed there) Utica
Ontario 1789 Montgomery Canandaigua
Orange 1683 Original County Goshen
Orleans 1824 Genesee Albion
Oswego 1816 Oneida, Onondaga Oswego, Pulaski
Otsego 1791 Montgomery Cooperstown
Putnam 1812 Dutchess Carmel
Queens 1683 Original County Jamaica
Rensselaer 1791 Albany Troy
Richmond 1683 Original County St. George
Rockland 1798 Orange New City
St. Lawrence 1802 Clinton, Herkimer, Montgomery Canton
Saratoga 1791 Albany Ballston Spa
Schenectady 1809 Albany Schenectady
Schoharie 1795 Albany Otsego Schoharie
Schuyler 1854 Tompkins, Steuben, Chemung Watkins Glen
Seneca 1804 Cayuga Ovid, Waterloo
Steuben 1796 Ontario Bath
Suffolk 1683 Original County Riverhead
Sullivan 1809 Ulster Monticello
Tioga 1791 Montgomery Owego
Tompkins 1817 Cayuga, Seneca Ithaca
Tryon 1772 Name changed to Montgomery in 1784  
Ulster 1683 Original County Kingston
Warren 1813 Washington Lake George
Washington 1772 Albany (See Charlotte, old county name) Hudson Falls
Wayne 1823 Ontario, Seneca Lyons
Westchester 1683 Original County White Plains
Wyoming 1841 Genesee Warsaw
Yates 1823 Ontario, Steuben Penn Yan