Manhattan, borough (1990 pop. 1,487,536), 28 sq mi (57 sq km), New York City, SE N.Y., coextensive with New York co. Manhattan is the cultural and commercial heart of the city, and its dramatic skyline symbolizes New York City around the world. It is composed chiefly of Manhattan Island, and is bounded by the Hudson River on the west, New York Bay on the south, the East River on the east, and the Harlem River and Spuyten Duyvil Creek on the northeast and north. Many bridges, tunnels, and ferries link it to the other boroughs and to New Jersey. A large portion of Manhattan's workers commute to the borough every day.
New York City began as a town built at the tip of S Manhattan. It was called New Amsterdam and served as the capital of the colony of New Netherland during the Dutch domination. In 1664 the English captured New Netherland and renamed it New York. The boundary of New York City was first extended beyond Manhattan Island when some Westchester co. towns were annexed in 1874. In the consolidation of 1898, Manhattan became one of the five boroughs of New York City. For its history, its cultural, educational, and religious institutions, and other points of interest, see New York, city.
See I. N. P. Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island (6 vol., 1915–28, repr. 1967); R. Shorto, The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America (2004). See also bibliography under New York, city.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.