Bronx, New York has many distinctions: it is the only borough
of New York City on the mainland; 24% of its landmass of 42 square
miles is parkland; it has more institutions of higher education
than most foreign countries, making it the Borough of Universities;
it is the home of Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical
Garden and the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, among many other
cultural institutions and tourist attractions.
of the Bronx: In 1639, the first European settler came to establish
himself on the mainland north and east of the Harlem River. His
name was Jonas Bronck. Born in Sweden, he had made a living as a
commercial seacaptain sailing out of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
He, his wife and his indentured servants from Germany, Denmark and
the Netherlands gradually cleared the woods and cultivated the lands
between today's Bronx and Harlem Rivers, mostly south of modern
150th Street. When Bronck died in 1643, the only thing that was
named after him that remained over the years was the Bronck's (or,
abbreviated, Bronx) River. In 1683, the colonial government established
counties, and all of the modern Bronx was the southernmost portion
of Westchester County. In 1874, a dynamic and growing New York City
annexed the part of today's Bronx west of the Bronx River. That
territory became part of New York City and New York County. In 1895,
the lands east of the Bronx River were taken by the city as well.
In 1898, the city took over Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
Along with Manhattan, they all became subdivisions of the city called
boroughs. It was decided that the two areas previously annexed should
also become a borough, but those lands never really had a name before.
Looking at a map, the city fathers saw that the Bronx River ran
through the middle of the territory. For this reason, they named
it the Borough of The Bronx, after the river.