Long Island comprises of four counties in the US state of New York – Kings and Queens (which comprise the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, respectively) to the west; and Nassau and Suffolk to the east. It is the largest and the longest island in the contiguous United States. Most of New York city’s residents live in Long Island.

Long Island is a densely populated island and it also rates as the country’s highest in population density if it were to be counted as a U.S. state. It is a culturally and ethnically diverse place to live in with some of the wealthiest and most expensive neighborhoods in the Western Hemisphere.

The first settlers here were from England and that was in October 21, 1640. Peter Hallock is considered the first settler of the Long Island after he drew a long straw and was given the honor to step ashore first. Southampton was settled the same year. In the later years, Hempstead, East Hampton, Huntington, Brookhaven, Smithtown were settled.

The English occupied the eastern region and its west was taken over by the Dutch. The jurisdiction of Long Island was split roughly at the present borders between Nassau County and Suffolk County.

In the early 18th century when the American Revolutionary War was fought, the British captured the island from General George Washington in the Battle of Long Island. He narrowly evacuated his troops under a dense fog.

A visit to the museums that house rich archeological exhibits will tell you stories of the settlers and their lives. The Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center & Museum, at the corner of Montauk Highway and West Gate Road in Southampton, serves as a museum and educational center and holds various events throughout the year.

Long Island’s original Native American name was ‘Paumanok,’ which means ‘land that gives tribute.’ Other early Native American names for Long Island may have included: Sewanhack (possibly meaning ‘wampum’) or Matanwake (possibly meaning ‘young warrior’).

Life in 19th century remained mainly rural with people engaged in agriculture. Road services to the east end of Long island were completed in 1844 and more railroads were later built. Meanwhile population doubled and several cities were incorporated. Until the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883, the only means of communication between Long island and rest of US was by boat or ship.

In the last few years of 19th century, wealthy industrialists made their way to country estates in Nassau County.

The island county is associated with aviation in a major way and there are museums that denote that association. The earlier airports were later closed and like the one in Roosevelt Field were replaced by a shopping mall. Long Island has converted from being an industrial community to globally renowned cultural and intellectual hotbed.

Long Island has been captured in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, which has also been adapted in films. People of all major faiths live in this island and half of the island’s inhabitants hold white-collar positions.





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