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History of the Bronx

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The article on the history of the Bronx, New York is brought to you by the personal injury attorneys in the Bronx at Banville Law.

A Historical Timeline of The Bronx

The Bronx is one out of the five boroughs in New York City and is located in the northernmost region. It is the only one that is not located on the island but is on the mainland instead. It takes up 26,880 acres of land and is the third most densely populated county in the U.S.

Early History

The Native American Lenape Tribe, also known as the Delaware Indians, were the area's original residents. The Aquahung River, later to be named the Bronx River, separated the area into two sections. One was named by the Siwanoy band of Lenape Indians, Rananchqua. The other section was called Keskeskeck by other Indians. Henry Hudson would be the first European to step foot in the area, but a Dutchman named Jonas Bronck would settle in 1639. Bronck would eventually own 500 acres that residents would call Bronck's Land.

Turn of the Century

Until about 1841, the area was serene and mainly countryside living. Then came the railroads that connected the Bronx and Manhattan. By the 1900s, the area was expanding with neighborhoods and factories. The first subway opened in 1904 and ran from Manhattan to the Bronx, and brought an influx of diversity into the town. Most of which were Jews from Europe but other ethnic groups included the following:

  • Irish-Americans
  • Italian-Americans
  • Jewish-Americans

Between 1900 to 1930, the Bronx had its greatest population growth spurt, increasing from 201,000 to 1,265,000. With the growth of residents came the surge in urban development, such as the  following:

  • grocery stores
  • tailors
  • restaurants
  • hardware stores
  • movie theaters
  • department stores

With the 1950s came the mass connections from the Bronx to the main city. The Bruckner Expressway, the Cross Bronx Expressway, and the Major Deegan Expressway were three of the main highways that encourage more growth in the city with the ease of commuting to other areas for work. Neighborhoods built more multi-level apartments to keep up with the housing demand. A Co-op city with 15,372 units that could house 60,000 tenants was built in the upper section of the Bronx. With all the new development and residents, crime increase rapidly, and there was a decline in the quality of life. Several landlords set fire to their buildings in hopes of cashing in on the insurance. Gang violence increased as well by the 1970s.


Since the 1980s, a Ten-Year Housing Plan has been encouraging social, environmental, and economic development. With a population of 1,418,207 in 2019, the area is considered to be the most diverse in the country, and more than 35% are born outside of the U.S. Many things have come from the city's diverse heritage, including the following:

  • Off-Off-Broadway - a theater for Latin and African playwrights
  • The Pregones Theater - a theater for Latin American works
  • The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance - providing dance, art, and theatre workshops
  • Hush Hip Hop Tours - local tour guide to showcase how the Bronx influenced the Hip Hop Genre

The household income is the lowest of the boroughs, with a staggering $36,593. Groups from all affiliations are working to fix up areas such as South Bronx. Many department stores have placed locations around the city, including the following:

  • Marshalls
  • Target
  • Staples

Find More: About Pelham Parkway, NY

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Laurence P. Banville
Date Published: March 5, 2021
Laurence P. Banville is the managing partner of Banville Law. As an experienced personal injury attorney, Mr. Banville helps clients recover compensation from those responsible for his clients' injuries. Our firm is located in New York City, serving clients from the five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island.
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