New York: A Documentary Film is an eight-part, 14 1/2 hour, American documentary on the history of New York City directed by Ric Burns that originally aired in the U.S. on PBS and was a co-production of Thirteen/WNET New York and WGBH Boston. The first four two-hour installments, which covered the history of the city from its founding to the turn of the 20th century, originally aired in the fall of 1999.
This documentary is divided into eight parts:
Episode One: The Country and the City (1609-1825)
Episode Two: Order and Disorder (1825-1865)
Episode Three: Sunshine and Shadow (1865-1898)
Episode Four: The Power and the People (1898-1918)
Episode Five: Cosmopolis (1918-1931)
Episode Six: City of Tomorrow (1929-1941)
Episode Seven: The City and the World (1945-present)
Episode Eight: The Center of the World (1946-2003)
New York, the "Empire State", has been at the center of American politics, finance, industry, transportation and culture since the Dutch Republic first founded New Amsterdam as a trading colony in the 17th century. The Kingdom of England arrived on its shores and took it over. New York gained its independence from Great Britain in the American Revolution to become part of the new nation of the United States.
The western part of New York had been settled by the six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy for at least 500 years before the first Europeans came. The Iroquois used controlled burns to maintain the area between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes as a grassland prairie, which abounded in wild game, including grazing American Bison herds. In colonial times, the Iroquois were prosperously growing corn, vegetables and orchards. They used crop rotation to keep their fields fertile. They also kept cows and hogs; they took advantage of abundant fish in the lakes and rivers.
The far-southern area around what is now New York City was long inhabited by the Lenape; Lenape in canoes met Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first European explorer to enter New York Harbor, in 1524. Giovanni de Verrazzano named this place Nouvelle AngoulÃªme (New AngoulÃªme), in honor of the French king FranÃ§ois I. A French explorer and mapper, Samuel de Champlain, described his explorations through New York in 1608.