Community of Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City, with a Census-estimated 2,636,735 residents in 2015. It borders the borough of Queens at the southwestern end of Long Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, the most populous county in the U.S. state of New York, and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after the county of New York (which is coextensive with the borough of Manhattan).
With a land area of 71 square miles (180 km2) and water area of 26 square miles (67 km2), Kings County is New York’s fourth-smallest county by land area and third-smallest by total area, though it is the second-largest among the city’s five boroughs. Today, if New York City dissolved, Brooklyn would rank as the third-most populous city in the U.S., behind Los Angeles and Chicago.
Brooklyn was an independent incorporated city (and previously an authorized village and town within the provisions of the New York State Constitution) until January 1, 1898, when, after a long political campaign and public relations battle during the 1890s, according to the new Municipal Charter of “Greater New York”, Brooklyn was consolidated with the other cities, boroughs, and counties to form the modern “City of New York,” surrounding the Upper New York Bay with five constituent boroughs. The borough continues, however, to maintain a distinct culture. Many Brooklyn neighborhoods are ethnic enclaves. Brooklyn’s official motto, displayed on the Borough seal and flag, is Eendraght Maeckt Maght which translates from early modern Dutch as “Unity makes strength“.
In the first decades of the 21st century, Brooklyn has experienced a renaissance as an avant garde destination for hipsters,with concomitant gentrification, dramatic house price increases, and a decrease in housing affordability. Since 2010, Brooklyn has evolved into a thriving hub of entrepreneurship and high technology startup firms, and of postmodern art and design.
The history of European settlement in Brooklyn spans more than 350 years. The settlement began in the 17th century as the small Dutch-founded town of “Breuckelen” on the East River shore of Long Island, grew to be a sizable city in the 19th century, and was consolidated in 1898 with New York City (then confined to Manhattan and part of the Bronx), the remaining rural areas of Kings County, and the largely rural areas of Queens and Staten Island, to form the modern City of New York.
Six Dutch towns
The Dutch were the first Europeans to settle Long Island’s western edge, which was then largely inhabited by the Lenape, a Native American people who are often referred to in contemporary colonial documents by a variation of the place name “Canarsie”. The “Breuckelen” settlement, named after Breukelen in the Netherlands, was part of New Netherland, and the Dutch West India Company lost little time in chartering the six original parishes (listed here first by their later, more common English names):
The colony’s capital, New Amsterdam, across the East River, obtained its charter later than the village of Brooklyn did, in 1653. The neighborhood of Marine Park was home to North America’s first tidal mill. It was built by the Dutch, and the foundation can be seen today. However, the area was not formally settled as a town. Many incidents and documents relating to this period are in Gabriel Furman‘s early (1824) compilation.
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