The History of Staten Island From Wikipedia

History

Native Americans

Lenape women, Oklahoma (1910), descendants of original inhabitants of New York City region

Skeletons unearthed at Lenape burial ground, Burial Ridge in Staten Island, the largest pre-European burial ground in NYC.

As in much of North America, human habitation appeared in the island fairly rapidly after the retreat of the ice sheet. Archaeologists have recovered tool evidence of Clovis culture activity dating from approximately 14,000 years ago. This evidence was first discovered in 1917 in the Charleston section of the island. Various Clovis artifacts have been discovered since then, on property owned by the Mobil Oil corporation. The island was probably abandoned later, possibly because of the extinctionof large mammals on the island. Evidence of the first permanent American Indian settlements and agriculture are thought to date from about 5,000 years ago (Jackson, 1995), although early archaic habitation evidence has been found in multiple locations on the island (Ritchie 1963).

Rossville points; a distinct type of arrowhead which defines a Native American cultural period which spans the Archaic period to the Early Woodland period, dating from approximately 1500 to 100 BC., are named for the Rossville section of Staten Island where they were first recognized, having been found in the vicinity of the old Rossville Post Office building.[8]

At the time of European contact the island was inhabited by the Raritan band of the Unamidivision of the Lenape. The Lenape who spoke Lenape (language) one of the Algonquian languages called Staten Island Aquehonga Manacknong part of the Lenape homeland known as Lenapehoking. The Lenape were known to the Europeans as the “Delaware” because they inhabitated both shores of the Delaware River.

The island was laced with foot trails, one of which followed the south side of the ridge near the course of present day Richmond Road and Amboy Road. The Lenape did not live in fixed encampments, but moved seasonally, using slash and burn agriculture. Shellfish was a staple of their diet, including the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) which was abundant in the waterways throughout the present day New York City region. Evidence of their habitation can still be seen in the form of shell middens along the shore in the Tottenville section, where finding oyster shells larger than twelve inches (305 mm) is not uncommon.

Burial Ridge; a Lenape burial ground located on a bluff overlooking Raritan Bay in what is today the Tottenville section of Staten Island is the largest pre-European burial ground in New York City. Bodies have been reported unearthed at Burial Ridge during various periods in the nineteenth century from 1858 onward. After conducting independent research which included unearthing bodies interred at the site,ethnologist and archaeologistGeorge H. Pepper, was contracted in 1895 to conduct paid archaeological research at Burial Ridge by theAmerican Museum of Natural History. The burial ground today is unmarked and lies within the confines of Conference House Park.

[edit]European Settlement

The first recorded European contact with the island was in 1524 by Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, who in the employ of theFrench crown, sailed through The Narrows on the French ship La Dauphine and anchored for one night.

In 1609, the English explorer Henry Hudson sailing for the Dutch sailed into Upper New York Bay on his ship the Half MoonStaaten Eylandt (literally “States Island”) was named in honor of the Dutch parliament known as the Staten-Generaal,

The first permanent Dutch settlement of the New Netherland colony was made on Governor’s Island in 1624, which had been used as a trading camp by them for over a decade before. In 1626 the colony transferred to the island of Manhattan, and was newly designated as the capital of New Netherland. Staaten Eylandt nevertheless remained uncolonized by the Dutch for many decades. From 1639 to 1655, the Dutch made three separate attempts to establish a permanent settlement on the island, but each time the settlement was destroyed in the conflicts between the Dutch and the local tribes. In 1661, the first permanent Dutch settlement was established at Oude Dorp(Dutch for “Old Village”),[9] just south of the Narrows near South Beach, by a small group of Dutch, Walloon, and Huguenot families. Today, the last vestige of Oude Dorp exists as the present-day neighborhood of Old Town, adjacent to Old Town Road.

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