A time line of Staten Island History



1524 - Giovanni da Verrazano discovered The Narrows, which are the waters between Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.

1609 - Henry Hudson sailed into The Narrows and named the island after the States General of Holland, Staaten Eylandt. The Dutch claimed the entire territory, and named it New Netherland.

1623 - The first permanent settlers landed in Manhattan.

1639 - David Pieterszen De Vries built Staten Island’s first colony.

1640-1655 - A series of violent disputes with Native Americans prevented the formation of permanent settlements.

1661 - Pierre Billiou and Walraven Luten set up the first permanent settlement on the south shore of Staten Island. French settlers seeking religious freedom soon followed. A government begins to form.

1664 - New Amsterdam became part of the English colonies, when Peter Stuyvesant, the Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam surrendered to the British. The area was now called New York.

1670 - The new governor of New York, Francis Lovelace, finally purchased Staten Island from the Native Americans.

1683 - Thomas Dongan became the new governor of New York, and Staten Island became Richmond County.

1695 - The population of Staten Island was approximately 800.

1776 - During the American Revolution, a British fleet sailed through The Narrows and landed troops on Staten Island. An unsuccessful peace conference is held at the Billop Manor House in Tottenville, now known as the Conference House.

1783 - Over 2 years after the end of the American Revolution, the remainder of the British army left Staten Island.

1790 - The population of Staten Island was approximately 3,840.

1810 - Staten Island’s first ferry is established by a 16 year old entrepreneur named Cornelius Vanderbilt. Other successful business ventures make him one of the richest men in America.

1816 - The first highway was built to speed up travel times to and from Philadelphia. Today, it is known as Victory Boulevard.

1827 - The Richmond Republican, the first newspaper on Staten Island, went into print.

1850-1857 - Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi spends 3 years of forced exile in Rosebank. Meanwhile, his friend and housemate, Antonio Meucci, develops the first working telephone, before Alexander Graham Bell.

1860 - The first passenger train went from Eltingville to Vanderbilt’s Landing (Clifton). This was also the year that the first magnetic telegraph line finally reached Staten Island.

1861 - The population of Staten Island was approximately 25,000.

1871 - A boiler explosion on a Staten Island Ferry kills 62 people.

1874 - Mary Ewing Outerbridge introduces tennis to the Unites States, bringing the sport to Staten Island, from Bermuda.

1882 - A manufacturing plant in Travis becomes the first place on Staten Island to receive electricity.

1898 - Staten Island, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens became part of New York City.

1904 - The Island’s first high school, Curtis, opened.

1910 - The population of Staten Island was approximately 80,000.

1918 - The Staten Island Advance began publishing on a daily basis.

1928 - The Outer bridge Crossing and Goethals Bridge opened.

1931 - The Bayonne Bridge opened.

1946 - A massive fire in the St. George Ferry Terminal destroys 17 trains, injures 280 people, and kills 3.

1948 - The Fresh Kills Landfill opened.

1960 - Two commercial airliners collide over New Dorp, killing 128.

1964 - The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened.

1971 - Jane Kurtin, a reporter for the Advance, discovers horrendous conditions at Willowbrook State School, attracting national coverage, and leading to its closing.

1973 - The Staten Island Mall opened.

1980 - The population of Staten Island was approximately 352,121.

1990 - The population of Staten Island was approximately 403,600.

1992 - Sammy “The Bull” Gravano testifies against John Gotti, sending the infamous mob boss to jail for life.

2000 - Operation Sail 2000 takes place. More than 180 sailing vessels from 60 nations join 40 modern warships of 23 navies in the largest maritime event ever.

2001 - The population of Staten Island was approximately 443,728 with 193,993 Housing units.

2014 - The population of Staten Island was approximately 473,279.