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New York City played a complex role in the American Civil War.

The city's strong commercial ties to the southern United States existed for many reasons, including the industrial power of the Hudson River harbor, which allowed trade with stops such as the West Point Foundry, one of the great manufacturing operations in the early United States; and the city's Atlantic Ocean ports, rendering New York City the American powerhouse in terms of industrial trade between the northern and southern United States.

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 1524, Florentine explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano – sailing in service of King Francis I of France – became the first documented European to visit the area that would become New York City.

He entered the tidal strait now known as The Narrows and named the land around Upper New York Harbor "New Angoulême", in reference to the family name of King Francis I that was derived from Angoulême in France; he sailed far enough into the harbor to sight the Hudson River, which he referred to in his report to the French king as a "very big river"; and he named the Bay of Santa Margarita – what is now Upper New York Bay – after Marguerite de Navarre, the elder sister of the king.

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.

Anger arose about conscription, with resentment at those who could afford to pay 0 to avoid service leading to resentment against Lincoln's war policies and fomenting paranoia about free Blacks taking the poor immigrants' jobs, culminating in the three-day-long New York Draft Riots of July 1863.In 1625, construction was started on the citadel of Fort Amsterdam on Manhattan Island, later called New Amsterdam (Nieuw Amsterdam), in what is now Lower Manhattan.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.The figure of 60 guilders comes from a letter by a representative of the Dutch Estates General and member of the board of the Dutch West India Company, Pieter Janszoon Schagen, to the Estates General in November 1626.Historians James and Michelle Nevius revisited the issue in 2014, suggesting that using the prices of beer and brandy as monetary equivalencies, the price Minuit paid would have the purchasing power of somewhere between ,600 and ,600 in current dollars.

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