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old map of manhattan 17th century new york untapped cities samantha sokolThis is a map of Broncks’ New York from 1639 by Cartographer Johannes Vingboons. Notice the spelling of “Staten Eylante.”  Image via Library of Congress

On December 3rd 1641, Jonas Bronck, a Danish immigrant to New York City, bought about 500 acres of land above Manhattan.

According to the Bronx Historical Society, the first settlement is in modern day “Mott Haven” by East 138th street.  The area was initially a part of Westchester county. The annex onto NYC was spurred by regular railroad service between the Bronx and Manhattan that started in 1841. Jonas Bronck’s original purchase was all farmland, and the area stayed that way until it became a part of New York City in 1895. People would always say they were “going to the Broncks’,” so the name stuck.

For more on the Bronck family, check out Artzar’s interview with a Bronck’s descendant, writer William Bronck. According to Bronck, the New York coat of arms was adopted from the Bronck family’s seal.

Bronck family seal bronx new york untapped cities samantha sokolThe Bronck family seal. “Ne Cede Malis” is a quote from Virgil’s Aeneid, which means “Yield not to evil.” It currently serves as the Bronx’s motto. Image via Bronx.com

New York state coat of arms excelsior untapped cities samantha sokolThe New York State coat of arms. Image via Wikimedia Commons

For more on the Bronx, read about the history of the Bronx’s Grand Concourse. Also, check out the 8 famous architectural masterpieces along the Grand Concourse.

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