But New York did not spring into life as such a huge and famous city. The first New Yorkers were Native Americans of the Algonquin tribes who fished and grew crops there. In the 16th century, the first Europeans came, and soon a small settlement called New Amsterdam was home to 30 Dutch families. One of the most famous American historical transactions happened in 1626, when the settlement’s governor-general, Peter Minuit, bought the island of Manhattan from the native tribe for 60 guilders (about $900 today) worth of tools, cloth, and shell beads. Currently, the land is estimated to be worth $47 billion. With the new island, the population of the settlement of New Amsterdam grew quickly, and by 1760, the city was renamed New York by the British and was the second-largest city in the American colonies.
The British occupied New York during the American Revolution, but once the war was over, the city became the capital of the United States from 1785 to 1790. It thrived in the 18th century and became one of the most important port cities in the country. It also attracted many immigrants from all over the world who were searching for a better life. By the early 20th century, New York was quickly becoming the city we now know. When the independent cities of Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Brooklyn voted in 1895 to join Manhattan, they became the five boroughs of New York City, greatly increasing its size and population.
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From golden frogs to big cats to colorful birds, the national animals of Central America represent the geography and cultures of the region. For a quick sampling of creatures plain and beautiful, common and rare, read on.
31 Countries Biosphere
The Trifinio Fraternidad Biosphere Reserve is located at a spot where El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras converge. A biosphere is the layer of planet Earth where life exists.
THE LEGEND OF THE QUETZAL BIRD
A Mayan Tale retold by Pat Betteley illustrated by Amanda Shepherd
Semana Santa GUATEMALA'S HOLY WEEK
What if Easter preparations meant dyeing sand, collecting pine needles, and staying up all night to work on an art project that you knew would be ruined the very next day? Well, welcome to Guatemala’s Semana Santa, or Holy Week.
The Maya are groups of people who live in parts of Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala. Their ancestors created a great society. At its peak, from 600-900 C.E., the Maya civilization was more advanced than its neighbors in the Americas.
Playing Games Honduras-style
Would you play the same games in Honduras that you do in the United States? You might. Children in Honduras enjoy many of the same games North Americans do. They go fishing and shoot baskets. They play sandlot baseball—called bate (BAH tay). They fly kites and ride bikes. Their parents may go horseback riding or play golf or tennis.
LIVING A LONG LIFE IN THE Blue Zone
Most people would like to live as long a life as possible. No one really knows why some people live longer than others, but did you know that where you live can play a big part in how many years you’ll be alive? If you live in a Blue Zone, chances are that you will live much longer than people in other parts of the world.
ATTENTION WORLD: Belize Saves Their Coral Reef
Sea turtles float in clear waters, colorful corals hug the ocean floor, and aquatic animals glide among the mangrove roots. Welcome to the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, the second-largest coral reef in the world (Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is number one). Several years ago, this reef was in crisis, heading toward destruction. But the people of Belize fought back to save their reef’s health.
The Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a 51-mile long canal that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
This is Central America!
It’s time to visit Central America. But first, it helps to know exactly where Central America is. Despite its name, it is the southernmost part of North America, which can seem a little confusing. It makes up most of the isthmus dividing the Pacific Ocean from the Caribbean Sea. An isthmus is a narrow strip of land that connects two larger landmasses and has water on both sides.