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Buffalo History, New York

Buffalo History – Early Colonial Life

Prior to the colonization of New York State and the Buffalo city area by the French, the territory was occupied by a tribe which the French called “Neutrals” because they were helpful in solving conflicts with other native tribes. Later, most of the territory was granted to the Duke of York, but the French were the first to arrive at Buffalo creek and its neighbor Rochester in 1758. Still, the entire region soon fell under British control and the first settlements in the area were built in 1789, when the Europeans settled various trade deals with the natives. The Dutch would arrive later and purchase the whole territory and by 1801 land was sold through the Holland Land Companies. The initial name given to the land was Lake Eire, which turned into Buffalo Creek and was soon shortened to simply Buffalo.

Buffalo History – City Conception and Development

The Dutch marked their presence in the territory mostly architecturally, as a Dutch urbanist designed a radial model for the streets in Buffalo which to this day remains one of just three cities in the US that are built on this pattern. British troops captured the city in 1813 and burned it to the ground and it took almost three years in Buffalo history for the city to be rebuilt and resume its administrative functions. By 1925 there was a waterway linking Buffalo to New York and the population started growing dramatically. At the same time, there were many travelers going to the western United States that stopped in Buffalo to change their means of transportation but decided to remain in the city. There were also many people from Buffalo that helped many former African-American slaves escape either north to Canada or to Fort Erie, across the Niagara River.

Buffalo History – City of Light

The economy of Buffalo started functioning more and more prosperously as many European immigrants came to the city to work with steel and grain. Hydroelectric power made Buffalo the first US city to benefit from widespread electricity and public lighting, so it became known as the “city of light”. The Peace Bridge, that was inaugurated in 1927 and linked Buffalo to Fort Eire, was a very important realization of the local community, along with the City Hall, which was given for usage in 1932. Still, the period that followed saw the city losing its importance and lots of the inhabitants started leaving because most of the factories shut down and commercial routes were no longer passing through the city. An important characteristic that has been defining Buffalo history since then is the constant decrease in population that was at its peak in the fifties, with 580.000 inhabitants, and has now reached just 280.000.

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  • lizzy_aBuffalo City Hall
    travel tip by lizzy_a posted more then 30 days ago
    The Buffalo City Hall is an exceptional building. It's grand and magnificent, a true architectural masterpiece. Go to the 13th floor and marvel on the beautiful stained glass celeing. Then from the observation deck at the top get a...
  • asterixAlbright-Knox Art Gallery
    travel tip by asterix posted more then 30 days ago
    It may not be a grand museum, or a metropolitan-like gallery, but the Albright-Knox Art Gallery is definitely worth visiting. It is intimate, a treasure grove of today's artworks. Many contemporary and modern artists have a place in...
  • BelindaSpirit of Buffalo Sailing Adventure
    travel tip by Belinda posted more then 30 days ago
    If you travel to Buffalo, you definitely shouldn't miss taking part on a Spirit of Buffalo Sailing Adventure. The crew is awesome, they are very helpful, the kids try out the steering wheel, it's absolutely fantastic. Note that the...
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