Manhattan was first
discovered by an Italian explorer, Giovanni da Verrazano, in 1524. He was
working for the king of France.
He raised the French flag, claimed for the French, and founded a small village.
However, the French did not develop the area and it was not until one hundred
years later when the Dutch arrived that a settlement began to grow. According
to one story, it was as a result of the Dutch settlers that the city has become
known as The Big Apple. The governor of the Dutch colony, Peter Stuyvesant,
began planting apple orchards, and, in due course, the state of New York became famous
for the quality of its produce. Even in the seventeenth century, when there
were only a few hundred settlers in the city, 18 different languages were
The first large group of
immigrants after the Dutch and English were the Italians, who began to arrive
in the early 1800s. People from all over Europe
followed. The Irish came to the city in their hundreds to escape starvation
when the Irish potato crop failed in the 1840s. Today, about forty percent of
New York`s eight million residents were born outside the USA. In the borough of
Queens alone 116 languages are spoken.
When the island was first
settled by the Dutch, groups of Native Americans came every year to settlements
in the south and north to hunt, fish and grow crops. However, other Native
Americans and New York`s most eye-catching modern feature, the skyscraper, are
closely linked. As these giants began to rise over Manhattan, the heroic
descendants of New York State`s Iroquois became famous. They gained a
reputation as being extremely skilled steel workers in the construction
industry. Without them, the skyscrapers in the city would not have been built
and New York
would not be what it is today.