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New York County, also known as Manhattan, is one of the most well-known places in the world. Famous for its towering skyscrapers, bustling streets and endless tourist attractions, Manhattan is a true cultural hub. But beyond the surface lies an intriguing history, full of interesting facts that often go overlooked. Here are seven facts about New York County that you may not know.

1. Manhattan Was Owned by the Dutch
Prior to the arrival of English settlers in America, Manhattan was actually owned by the Dutch. In 1626, the Dutch West India Company purchased the island of Manhattan from Native Americans in exchange for trade goods valued at only about $24. Manhattan was then named New Amsterdam and was the capital of the New Netherland colony.

2. Wall Street Was a Defensive Wall
Wall Street is perhaps best known as a financial hub, but it actually started out as a defensive wall. In 1653, the Dutch built a 12-foot wall to protect themselves from English aggression. The wall ran down the path of present-day Wall Street and was made out of heavy boulders and earth. It stood until 1699 when it was torn down due to the growing English population in the area.

3. The American Flag Was First Raised in Manhattan
On January 1, 1776, the first American flag was raised in New York City. The flag had 13 red and white stripes to represent the 13 colonies and a blue field with the Union Jack removed and replaced with the red and white "Continental Colors" to represent the colonies' unity. The flag was raised by Continental Army soldiers on the roof of the city's oldest public building, known as the "Horn's Hook".

4. Central Park Was Once a Shantytown
Today, Central Park is a popular tourist attraction and a beautiful oasis in the heart of Manhattan. But in the mid-19th century, the area that now makes up Central Park was a shantytown called Seneca Village. The village was home to about 300 people, mostly African American and Irish immigrants. In 1857, the city evicted the residents and demolished the village to make way for the park.

5. The New York Post Was Founded by Alexander Hamilton
In 1801, the New York Post was founded by Alexander Hamilton, one of America's Founding Fathers and the first Secretary of the Treasury. The paper was initially a Federalist publication but has since changed hands and political leanings several times. Today, the New York Post is known for its sensational headlines and celebrity gossip.

6. The Empire State Building Was Built In Just Over a Year
The Empire State Building is one of the most iconic buildings in Manhattan and took a little over a year to build. Construction on the 102-story skyscraper began in March 1930 and was completed in May 1931. At the time, it was the tallest building in the world and held that title for nearly 40 years.

7. The First Subway in America Was Built in Manhattan
The first subway system in America opened in Manhattan in 1904. The subway line ran from City Hall to 145th Street and Broadway and was an instant success, carrying over 150,000 passengers on its first day of operation. Today, the New York City subway system is one of the busiest in the world, carrying over 5 million passengers each weekday.

In conclusion, Manhattan has a rich and diverse history that has made it the city that we know and love today. From the first American flag to the Empire State Building, each of these seven facts highlights a unique aspect of Manhattan's history and helps to bring its story to life.

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