The Borough of Queens is an immense urban development with a population of almost 1.9 million. It occupies an area that has witnessed all the eras of the American past. The pioneering population, the Native American Indians, followed by the Dutch and English in the early 17th century, leaving nothing behind apart from place names and the trails that became wagon roads, some of them now main streets. One of the ten initial counties of New York, Queens County was created November 1, 1683. At that point in time, it was three times its present size and included all of Nassau and extended to Suffolk.
This territory was a part of New Netherland, it was in the beginning governed by the Dutch, who permitted English as well as Dutch colonists to settle and form towns. Under this plan, Newtown (1st and 2nd Wards) was organized in 1642, Flushing (3rd Ward) in 1645, Jamaica (4th Ward) in 1656, Far Rockaway (5th Ward), then part of Hempstead, in 1644. The Dutch, who discovered and established the colony of New Netherland in the years 1609-1624, in the beginning, lived in the southern tip of Manhattan and developed farms in Brooklyn before settling the northwestern shore of Long Island along the East River. Consequently, the first known settlement in what is today Queens did not begin till after 1637 in the Astoria, Hunters Point, and Dutch Kills area of Long Island City.
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