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History of Bronx NYC
The Bronx is located in New York City and is the northernmost of the boroughs. This is an area of the United States as rich in history as anything you might find in Philadelphia. The Bronx spreads out over a 42 square mile section of the city. The Bronx is, surprisingly enough the only section of New York City attached to the mainland of North America; the rest of the boroughs being separated by various rivers and waterways. With a population of roughly 1.5 million, the Bronx is a tightly populated area.
But the real history of the Bronx is fascinating. Like much of North America, prior to European settlement the area that would eventually be named the Bronx was once covered by a vast forest; in this case hemlock. You can find the remnants of the former forest in the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.
But the real name of the Bronx is not even “the Bronx”. The name was originally applied to the Swedish-born Jonas Bronck. He was a European who wanted a “New Netherlands” and so established the area as the first settlement toward that end in in 1639, a mere 19 years after the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. Originally Bronck leased the land from the Dutch East India Company who also owned the land named New Haarlem which was eventually to be called Manhatten.
The Bronx and American History.
Bronx native Lewis Morris, who was also a signer of the declaration of independence, informed the continental congress that he would be happy to build the capitol dome on his property. The original dome was indeed constructed in the South Bronx. In fact, though the Capitol building had been destroyed in 1812, it was being rebuilt as late as the civil war with castings being delivered from foundries located in the Bronx.
Prohibition opened fantastic opportunities for profit if anyone wanted to take the risk. And plenty of people did. Back in the day, the Bronx was a major hub for bootleggers and gun running gangs. In fact, by 1926 the Bronx was notorious for its high crime rate and numerous illegal bars.
Because of its unique location, The Bronx underwent rapid growth during World War I and World War II. It’s conveniently located iron works made for ideal locations in which to build troop ships and mine sweepers. This was especially critical during World War II and the battle for the North Atlantic in which locating and destroying German U-Boats was of the highest priority.
The borough is tough. Tougher than most cities. The Bronx has seen its share of ups and downs. It has been abandoned, ignored and sometimes even ridiculed. But its ability to endure has made it one of the most famous places in the United States.
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