New York History Timeline

By | May 12, 2022

Bounded by two of the Great Lakes, two Canadian provinces, five US states, the Atlantic Ocean, and anchored by New York State, New York is, frankly, the most breathtaking place.

Long ancestral home to Algonquian and Iroquois Indians, it was an English explorer, Henry Hudson, who opened the interior of this promising land to Europeans, and in 1625 the Dutch began to settle what they called New Amsterdam, which was later renamed New York by the British.

New York would become one of the main battlefields of the Revolutionary War more than ninety military engagements have been fought here. Shortly after the British surrendered at the Battle of Saratoga, New York became the 11th state to ratify the US constitution.

From the early 19th century until the mid-20th century, New York was the United States ‘ main port of entry for immigration, and Ellis Island, in Upper New York Bay, served as a gateway for millions. The Statue of Liberty opening in 1886 added a symbol of hope and New York grew rapidly during the 1920s.

New York prospered even more in the early 20th century, becoming the most populous and richest state in the US. Within decades, these five New York City boroughs merged to form one city, and skyscrapers began to appear, becoming the emblem of the city.

Woolworth was the world’s tallest skyscraper in 1913 and was surpassed by 40 Wall Street in 1930, then quickly by Chrysler building the same year. The Empire State Building became the tallest in 1931, and finally the World Trade Center in 1972.

Wall Street crashed in 1929, sparking the Great Depression, and marking a decade of financial strife that affected all Western industrialized countries.

Following World War II, New York’s economy began to turn around and the state experienced significant suburbanization. However, for the first time since the 1920s, immigration decreased and New York’s population decreased between 1970 and 1980, and with California and with Texas exceeding the state in population.

New York became a telecommunications and high technology center at the end of the 20th century, especially in New York, and as more and more industrial firms began to collapse, entrepreneurs created many small companies in their aftermath. This in turn drew in a new influx of emigrants, many of whom were young professionals, and subsequently led to a leap in culture. New York was once again “the center of all things chic and trendy”.

Innovations in investment banking at the time only served to increase New York’s dominance in financial services, however, as this prosperity grew in the city, the upstate did not fare as well.

While the urban population began to decline, the suburbs grew in area and the number of farms fell substantially towards the end of the 1990s. Despite this, New York entered the new millennium “into a position of economic strength and optimism.” This optimism was shattered on September 11, 2001, when the worst terrorist attack in American

history took place and two hijacked passenger planes were crashed into the World Trade Center. Thousands volunteered to seek the wreck of the survivors and remain in the following weeks; in addition, the destruction caused a serious loss to the economy of Lower Manhattan, which in turn had a significant effect on world markets.

Plans were announced for a new World Trade Center after the attacks, and within five years the new skyscraper was rebuilt. As of 2011, ‘One World Trade Center’, four more office towers and a memorial are also under construction.

In addition to America ‘s premier city, New York is home to forested national parks, rugged mountains, over 40,000 miles of rivers and streams, numerous lakes, and a wide variety of sophisticated cities mixed in with the small city of America.

From Niagara Falls to Long Island, New York State’s empire is bursting with attractions (both natural and man-made), commercial and industrial complexes and cultural institutions – all of which contribute to its recognized reputation throughout the world.

New York timeline

1500s – 1600s

  • (1524) Giovanni da Varrazano of France, sailed into New York Harbor
  • (1609) Henry Hudson explored the Hudson River; Samuel de Champlain exlored Northeast New York
  • (1621) Dutch West Indian Company established New Netherland
  • (1626) Dutch purchased Manhattan Island from local Indians
  • (1664) English conquered New Netherland, changed name to New York
  • (1673) Anglo-Dutch War occurred; Dutch captured New Amsterdam
  • (1674) English returned New Amsterdam; English and Dutch reached a peace agreement; New Amsterdam named New York


  • (1702) A yellow fever epidemic killed over 500
  • (1765) Conference held in New York concerning the Stamp Act
  • (1774) Colonists camouflaged as Indians dumped cargo of tea into harbor
  • (1775) The American Revolution has begun; Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold took Fort Ticonderoga; New York is shelled by a British warship
  • (1776) New York declared independence from England; Nathan Hale hung for espionage; Declaration of Independence confirmed; fire in New York destroyed 1,000 homes
  • (1777) First constitution adopted; George Clinton elected governor
  • (1783) The Battle of Saratoga happened; British troops left New York; the war of independence is over
  • (1785) New York named National Capitol
  • (1788) New York became 11th state
  • (1789) George Washington inaugurated as first American president in New York
  • (1792) New York Stock Exchange founded
  • (1795) Yellow fever epidemic killed 732
  • (1796) Coffee House Slip Fire destroyed about 50 houses near Murray Wharf
  • (1797) Albany named Capitol
  • (1798) Great epidemic killed 2,086


  • (1802) West Point Military School opened
  • (1812-15) War of 1812 occurred
  • (1825) Erie Canal completed
  • (1827) Slavery abolished in New York
  • (1831) New York’s first railroad opened
  • (1835) Fire in New York City’s financial district destroyed more than 600 buildings
  • (1871) Staten Island Ferry Westfield II explosion killed 125
  • (1876) Stage fire at the Brooklyn Theater killed 276
  • (1883) Brooklyn Bridge opened
  • (1886) The Statue of Liberty is dedicated
  • (1888) Great Blizzard of ’88 paralyzed the east coast
  • (1896) Nine-day NYC heatwave killed 420


  • (1901) President William McKinley assassinated in Buffalo; Theodore Roosevelt chose the President of the United States.
  • (1904) Steamboat General Slocum caught fire, killed over 1,000 passengers
  • (1905) New York Giants won the World Series
  • (1918) Great Influenza Pandemic killed 851
  • (1920) Wall Street bombing killed 40
  • (1927) New York Yankees won the World Series
  • (1928) New York Yankees win the World Series
  • (1929) New York Exchanged Stock crashed; The Great Depression has begun
  • (1932) Lake Placid hosted the Olympic Winter Games
  • (1933) New York Giants won the World Series
  • (1935) Race riot in Harlem, 3 killed, 125 injured
  • (1936) New York Yankees win the World Series
  • (1937) New York Yankees won the World Series
  • (1938) New England hurricane hit Long Island, 10 killed
  • (1939) New York Yankees win the World Series
  • (1939) World’s Fair opened in New York; North Beach Airport (Languardia) is dedicated; New York Yankees win the World Series
  • (1941) New York Yankees won the World Series
  • (1943) Race riots in Harlem, several robbers killed, 500 injured; New York Yankees win the World Series
  • (1945) B-25 bomber crashed into Empire State Building, killed 13
  • (1947) New York Yankees won the World Series
  • (1948) New York International Airport (JFK) opened
  • (1949) New York Yankees win the World Series
  • (1950) New York Yankees win the World Series
  • (1952) United Nations headquarters completed in New York; New York Yankees win the World Series
  • (1953) New York Yankees win the World Series
  • (1954) New York Giants won the World Series
  • (1955) Brooklyn Dodgers won the World Series
  • (1957) New York Giants move to San Francisco, Brooklyn Dodgers move to LA
  • (1958) New York Yankees win the World Series
  • (1958) New York Yankees win the World Series
  • (1959) Lawrence Seaway opened
  • (1960) Fire on USS Constellation, killed 50, injured 323, $75 million loss
  • (1961) New York Yankees won the World Series
  • (1962) New York Yankees won the World Series
  • (1963) Brush shoots Staten Island destroyed 100 houses
  • (1964) Race riots in Harlem, one person killed, 100 injured; World Fair opens in New York
  • (1965) Negro activist leader, Molkom X, assassinated; Great Northeast Blackout (power outage)
  • (1966) Shoot killed 12 members of the NYC Fire Department
  • (1969) New York Mets won the World Series
  • (1973) 40 workers killed in LNG tank explosion
  • (1975) Bomb detonated in TWA baggage claim at Languardia killed 11, injured 74
  • (1977) Major blackout happened, 9 million people out of power for 25 hours; New York Yankees win the World Series
  • (1978) New York Yankees won the World Series
  • (1980) Ex-Beatle, John Lennon, killed in front of a house
  • (1986) New York Mets won the World Series
  • (1993) Terror attack killed six, injured over 1000 at World Trade Center
  • (1996) TWA Flight 800 crashed, killed 230; New York Yankees win the World Series
  • (1998) New York Yankees won the World Series
  • (1999) New York Yankees won the World Series


  • (2000) New York Yankees win World Series; Former First Lady Hillary Clinton Elected to US Senate
  • (2001) 9/11 – Terrorists hijack then crash two planes into the World Trade Center, nearly 3,000 killed, with billions in property lost. Later in the year, American Airlines plane crash in New York kills 260
  • (2003) Blackout across eastern US and Canada; Staten Island ferry crash kills 10, injures 43
  • (2005) Worker strike shut down NYC transit system
  • (2006) Yankee pitcher, Corey Lidl and flight instructor killed in plane crash; the first beam of the new Freedom Tower placed
  • (2007) Senator Hillary Clinton entered the presidential race
  • (2008) Eliot Spitzer resigned after being linked to a pimp gang
  • (2008) Investment bank, Lehman Brothers, filed for bankruptcy
  • (2009) US Airways plane with 155 people on board crashed on landing in Hundson River after striking bird on takeoff, everyone on board was safe
  • (2009) Bernard Madoff sentenced to 150 years in prison for masterminding large investors in a $65 billion embezzlement scam
  • (2010) Car bomb found parked in Times Square, New York
  • (2010) Blizzards hit New York City, caused flight cancellations, destroyed road and rail service
  • (2011) Protests held on Wall Street
  • (2011) Protesters moved to Times Square, more than 70 arrested
  • (2011) Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, convicted of conspiracy to kill Americans, provides missiles and material support to terrorist organization

New York History