Posts Tagged ‘how New York got its name’

When New York was officially named New Orange

March 7, 2011

How New York got its name can be summed up like this: In 1624, a Dutch ship arrived at the foot of lower Manhattan, where colonists set up a town they named after Holland’s largest city, New Amsterdam.

By 1664, New Amsterdam fell into the hands of the British (Peter Stuyvesant signed over the colony, now a city, without a fight), who renamed it New York in honor of the Duke of York.

[The city skyline, 1653]

Case closed? Not exactly. In 1673, the Dutch regained control of New York, sailing triumphantly into the harbor with a fleet of 21 ships.

Dutch leader Anthony Colve rechristened the colony New Orange, its official name for about a year—at which point it was permanently ceded to the British under the Treaty of Westminster.

As The New York Times’ Sam Roberts put it in a 2009 podcast, New York “was the Big Orange before it was the Big Apple.”