Urban Milestones 1600 1700 1800 1900 2000






MAY 1624
Under the auspices of the Dutch West India Company, 30 families, primarily Walloons, arrive on the ship Niew Nederlandt and settle what was to become New York.

The Dutch West India Company brings 11 African slaves to New Amsterdam (later New York), where they help construct Fort Amsterdam and clear land for farming.

John Winthrop, the leader of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, receives the charter for the city of Boston.

APRIL 23, 1635
Boston Latin School, first public school in the American colonies, opens.

The first ferry service between what is today Peck Slip, Manhattan, and Fulton Street, Brooklyn, is propelled by oars.

The first Jewish immigrants in North America flee the Portuguese Inquisition in Brazil and settle in New Amsterdam (New York).

SEPTEMBER 15, 1655
A Dutch slave ship, carrying 300 Africans from Guinea, arrives in New Amsterdam, the first slaves shipped directly to New Amsterdam from Africa.

1797 1899 1904
“The Tontine Coffee House,” by Francis Guy, 1797. The Coffee House became the first home of the New York Stock Exchange in 1793 and was a center for trade of all kinds, including coffee, tea, sugar and molasses, fine furniture, cloth, cotton, and enslaved men, women, and children. Future U.S. Senator Robert F. Wagner (second from right in the middle row) is shown here as the coach of the City College of New York baseball team in 1899. A couple sharing a romantic moment at Luna Park (1904), Coney Island’s leading amusement park.


DECEMBER 27, 1657
The Flushing Remonstrance, signed in Flushing, New York, defends religious tolerance after New Netherland’s Director General, Peter Stuyvesant, persecuted Quakers and other religious minorities living in the colony.

APRIL 1670
City of Charleston is settled; charter was written by John Locke in 1669, offering freedom of worship to all faiths.

OCTOBER 28, 1682
William Penn arrives in Philadelphia and implements a town plan of a rectangular grid with a central square and four smaller squares, one in each quadrant. This checkerboard pattern is later adopted by such Western cities as St. Louis, Louisville, and Cincinnati.

1908 1930 1933
rican-American fruit vendors at the Sixth Street Market, Richmond, Virginia, 1908. Members of the Transport Workers Union in New York City rally for higher wages and shorter hours in 1950. Standing on the car on the far right is Mike Quill, the Irish-American president of the T.W.U., who led the successful organization of subway workers in the 1930s. Part of a mural called “City Life,” by Victor Arnautoff, located in the Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. The mural was created as part of the New Deal Public Works of Art Program, c. 1933.