This article on the history of the Bronx is brought to you by the Bronx personal injury attorneys at Banville Law.
The Bronx is a borough in New York City that has a rich and vibrant history. It is the only borough that is mostly on the mainland and covers 42 square miles.
How Did The Bronx Get Its Name?
Although no one is really certain how the Bronx ended up being spelled as it is today, the area was originally named after Jonas Bronck, a European settler who was born in Sweden. Bronck established the first settlement in the area in 1639, ultimately displacing Lenape Native Americans.
At first, Bronck leased land from the Dutch West India Company but over time he purchased nearly 500 acres from the local Native American tribes and named his farm Emmaus. The Dutch and the English called the area “Bronck’s land”.
The Bronx eventually ended up under British rule and remained so until the end of the American Revolutionary War. Originally, the area was part of Westchester County, however, in 1873, the first part of the annexation of the Bronx occurred. The remaining part of the Bronx was annexed in 1895, joining the newly formed New York City and becoming one of the five boroughs.
The area is coterminous with Bronx County.
Farmland To Suburb
Although the Bronx was mostly farmland for hundreds of years, in the late 1800s, this began to change. The railroad allowed for both people and materials to be delivered to the area faster than ever before. The railway also connected residents to other areas of New York City like Manhattan.
Dozens of factories were built, providing jobs for thousands. Between 1900 and 1930, the population grew from 200,000 to 1.3 million!
The Bronx even had the opportunity to host a small World’s Fair following World War I, drawing visitors from around the globe.
The Bronx underwent another expansion after WWI, with thousands of immigrants arriving from Italy, Ireland, France, Poland, and Germany.
The area began to decline, however, during The Great Depression and Prohibition. Bootleggers and gangs rant the streets and those with an economic advantage left the area, leaving behind the poor. This trend continued for decades.
In the 1970s the area caught national attention for a series of arsons that took place. While no one was ever caught, a widespread theory is that many landlords burned their own buildings to collect insurance money and get out of the area, which had a reputation for poverty and crime.
The 10-Year Plan
Starting in the 1980s, the city began to act on the 10-Year Plan, working with community members to improve the social, economic, and environmental infrastructure. Housing developments were rebuilt and many major shopping brands opened stores in the area.
This has continued today and new developments are always underway. The Bronx is now a beloved area and community, with many things for visitors to do and a ton of great restaurants to eat at!
Our Bronx personal injury attorneys hope you enjoyed this article.