How Did The Boroughs Of New York City Get Their Names?

0
9015

In 1624 the Dutch West India Company sent around 30 families to live and work on an island in the northeast of a country they’ll go on to become the United States of America. They called this settlement New Amsterdam in ode to the city in their homeland. The land had previously been called New Angoulême, named by Italian Explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano in honor of the French King Francis I, King of France of the royal house of Valois-Angoulême.


In 1664 however the British seized New Amsterdam and changed its name. Naming it in honor of the Duke of York and from here are the origins to Earth’s most iconic city – New York City.

New York’s Dutch origins can still be seen in places with orange and tulips scattered across the city’s flags. This mixture of Dutch and English colonization is not only present in the changing of the city’s name but also in the names of the five just as iconic boroughs of New York City. The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island.

boroughs of new york city
How Did The Boroughs Of New York City Get Their Names?

The Bronx comes from a family name of Jonas Bronk. Jonas’s early life seems to be a bit of a mystery. He was a swedish-born and eventually emigrated to Denmark, then to the Netherlands and eventually marrying a Dutch woman. They sailed to New Amsterdam as it was called at the time. This migration was due to the local economy in the Netherlands fallen to pieces. Jonas and his wife flourished here. Here he established the farm on the eastern bank of a river, a river that would eventually be named after him – Bronx River. This led to the naming of the borough of the Bronx.

bronx
How Did The Boroughs Of New York City Get Their Names?

Brooklyn’s name comes from New York’s Dutch origin. The name of Brooklyn comes from the Dutch word for marshland – “breuckelen”, which is also the name for a small town in the Netherlands. Many places in New York are named after Dutch places and things. Harlem is named after the city of Haarlem and Coney Island’s name comes from the “Konijin eiland” meaning Rabbit island.

brooklyn
How Did The Boroughs Of New York City Get Their Names?

The name of Staten Island is also of Dutch origins. The official name of Dutch parliament is The States-general which in Dutch is StatBoroughs Of New York Cityen general. Staten Island is named after the Dutch government.

How Did The Boroughs Of New York City Get Their Names? 1

How Did The Boroughs Of New York City Get Their Names? 2
How Did The Boroughs Of New York City Get Their Names?

Queens is from New York’s English heritage. Queens was named in 1683 in honor of Queen Catherine of Braganza who was the wife of King Charles II of England. Queens was named in correlation with Kings County which was named after the aforementioned King Charles II. Kings County is the biggest County in New York State and shares his boundaries with modern Brooklyn.

queens new york
How Did The Boroughs Of New York City Get Their Names?

The most famous of all of New York’s boroughs Manhattan has a name that doesn’t come from Dutch or English. Manhattan’s name comes from the language of the Lenape Native Americans and derives from the word of “manna-hata”. Its first known recording is in the 1609 logbook of Robert Jewett on his travels into what would now be in New York Harbor.
It is tought that the name means “island of many hills” in the Lenape language. The Lenape also known as the Delaware are the Native Americans native to the area that covers New York City. Before it was called New York, New Amsterdam or even New Angoulême, these natives called the land “lenapehoking”.

manhattan
How Did The Boroughs Of New York City Get Their Names?

While New York has an iconic name it also has an iconic nickname – the Big Apple. The nickname of Big Apple was originally coined in 1920. Despite New York State being America’s top apple grower its origins actually lie in horse racing. NYC newspaper sports journalist John Fitzgerald heard of stablehands in New Orleans calling New York the Big Apple. He lighted that name and began using it in his columns. The name ended up being used at jazz clubs in the 1930s. Jazz musicians used it to allow people to know that New York City was the home of jazz. The name however did fall out of popularity until the 1970s when a big tourist campaign revitalized the name and since then New York and Big Apple have been synonyms.


America is often referred to as a melting pot, a place where many cultures meet and come together. And where else is this easier to see that in the names of the boroughs in its most populated city.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

four × five =