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These intense war-time riots are counted among the worst incidents of civil disorder in American history, with an estimated 119 participants and passersby massacred.

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According to a letter by Pieter Janszoon Schagen, Peter Minuit and Dutch colonists acquired Manhattan on May 24, 1626, from unnamed Native American people, which are believed to have been Canarsee Indians of the Lenape, often said to be worth US$24.Manhattan is historically documented to have been purchased by Dutch colonists from Native Americans in 1626 for 60 guilders, which equals roughly US$1050 today.A 1610 map depicts the name as Manna-hata, twice, on both the west and east sides of the Mauritius River (later named the Hudson River).Hudson came across Manhattan Island and the native people living there in 1609, and continued up the river that would later bear his name, the Hudson River, until he arrived at the site of present-day Albany.A permanent European presence in New Netherland began in 1624 with the founding of a Dutch fur trading settlement on Governors Island.From January 11, 1785, to the fall of 1788, New York City was the fifth of five capitals of the United States under the Articles of Confederation, with the Continental Congress meeting at New York City Hall (then at Fraunces Tavern).

New York was the first capital under the newly enacted Constitution of the United States, from March 4, 1789, to August 12, 1790, at Federal Hall.

In 1898, when New York City consolidated with three neighboring counties to form "the City of Greater New York", Manhattan and the Bronx, though still one county, were established as two separate boroughs.

On January 1, 1914, the New York State Legislature created Bronx County, and New York County was reduced to its present boundaries.

The new European immigration brought further social upheaval.

In a city of tenements packed with poorly paid laborers from dozens of nations, the city became a hotbed of revolution (including anarchists and communists among others), syndicalism, racketeering, and unionization.

According to the writer Nathaniel Benchley, Minuit conducted the transaction with Seyseys, chief of the Canarsees, who were willing to accept valuable merchandise in exchange for the island that was mostly controlled by the Weckquaesgeeks.