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Castle Williams on Governors Island. Image via Flickr: Army.arch

From the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776 to the Draft Riots of 1863, a number of significant battles have taken place in New York City that directly played a role in the founding of the United States, and ultimately shaping the direction of the country. Although plenty of that history has been lost to time, replaced with skyscrapers and paved roads, historic remnants can still be found hidden in plain sight.

Below are five cannons associated with different wars that all tell the astounding history of New York City:

1. Central Park Revolutionary War Cannon

Image via Flickr: Matt Green

In 1780, the Revolutionary Era cannon was recovered from the sunken British warship, the HMS Hussar. It was given to Central Park as a gift from an anonymous donor in 1865, and stored in the Ramble shed near the 79th Street traverse, along with another Revolutionary War-era cannon.

After being moved to various places around the park, it was eventually installed at Fort Clinton in 1905. There, it remained on public display until 1996 when the Central Park Conservancy decided to bring it indoors to protect it from vandalism. In 2013, however, workers from the Central Park Conservancy, while trying to refurbish and clean the cannon, found it to be still active — fully loaded with 800 grams of live gunpowder, cotton wadding and a cannon ball.

The gun powder has since been removed, and the cannon is now reinstalled in Fort Clinton, at 107th Street, close to 5th Avenue.

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