The state is located in the Northeast of the United States. Together with New Jersey and Pennsylvania, New York is part of the Mid-Atlantic states and covers 54,556 square miles. With a population of 19.3 million (2007) it is the third largest state in population after California and Texas. It is also referred to as the Empire State. That name probably goes back to a quote by George Washington from a time he traveled through the state and was impressed with its economic power and wealth. The capital of New York is Albany, but the largest city is the metropolis New York City.
With a population of 8 million, New York is the most populous city in the US – more than twice the size of runner-up Los Angeles (CA). Its total area of 304.8 square miles, however, only makes it to place 26 in the ranking – since in New York, as is generally known, buildings tend to be more high than wide. The impressive Manhattan skyline is the best example for that. For many visitors, Manhattan is a synonym for New York. Over 90% of New York’s tourist attractions are located there, e.g. Broadway, the Empire State Building, Central Park, Wall Street, and the Guggenheim Museum.
The state of New York has many scenic and interesting areas. In addition, there are a number of historic sights, such as the Fort Stanwix National Monument near Rome and the Saratoga National Historical Park near Stillwater; both are locations where battles were fought in 1777 between American and British troops during the War of Independence. Another historical sight is the Castle Clinton National Monument at the southern tip of Manhattan, where the main entry facilities for about eight million immigrants were located between 1855 and 1892. And finally there is the Statue of Liberty National Monument on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, the central part of which is the Statue of Liberty. The American Museum of Immigration is located in the base of it.
New York ratified the United States Constitution on July 26, 1788, it was the eleventh state of the original thirteen colonies to do so. For a long time, the state set the tone concerning politics, culture and economics within the US. Despite economic trouble in the seventies and eighties that especially hit New York City and other urban regions, the state is still leading in areas like production, trade, foreign trade, communication and finance. New York was named in the 1760s after the Duke of York, future James II of England.
Numerous rivers and lakes can be found in the state of New York. The Great Lakes are in the western part of the state, as is the St. Lawrence River that flows right through the center past the Finger Lakes, the Tug-Hill Plateau and parts of the Adirondacks, as well as the far north of the state. Other well-known rivers are the Genesee, Black, Niagara, Oswego, Hudson, Mohawk, Allegheny, Susquehanna and Delaware. Of the many waterfalls, the Niagara Falls are the best known.
New York City is the cultural capital of the US and is the location of world-famous museums, opera houses, concert halls, orchestras, theater and dance companies, libraries and many more. Between 1825 and the start of the American Civil War, New York City became the production center of the American textile industry, the center of trade for cotton, and a center for banks, insurance, the stock market and import. Economic growth attracted more and more immigrants from Ireland, Germany and Canada. When the Civil War broke out, however, fewer immigrants came and business opportunities improved. Since New York had close ties with the cotton market, the population was not in favor of starting a war with the South. Military conscription in July 1863 led to draft riots in New York City.
Until the 1960s New York was the most populous state in the US. The seventies and eighties, however, were a period of economic decline. New York City especially was suffering from high unemployment, constant financial difficulties, run-down districts and a decline in population. Despite all that, New York City remained the center of the US stock market, the center of advertising, banking and finance and the headquarters of many national and international enterprises. Despite high-grade industrialization and urbanization, New York is still important as an agricultural region. Until the late 19th century New York had been the leading state in butter and corn production.