History of Suffolk County
Comprising of eastern two-third portions of Long Island, Suffolk County covers 1000 square miles. East from New York City, Long Island stretches itself to 120 miles to the Atlantic Ocean. At the widest point of Suffolk County, the distance between Long Island Sound and the southern shore is 26 miles. Here is a brief history of Suffolk County –
Long Island was structured during the Pleistocene Era when the warm earth was gradually being covered with the massive glaciers. During that time, many areas were left with glacial moraines of rock and soil that ultimately took the shapes of island. Up to 10,000 years extension till 17th century, numerous small groups of Algonquins used to inhabit on the island. They used to follow a culture and language throughout the entire Middle Atlantic region which is now known as New England. As per the estimation by the historians, the native population of Suffolk had been around 6,000. In fact, there were around 1,400,000 residents living in Suffolk in 1994.
The primary occupations of the Algonquins were to fish and harvest shellfish at the shore. They also went for hunting the inland wilderness. They used to chisel wampum from the clam shells and whelk. It was also the way of making currency of eastern natives.
It was the Dutchman, Adrian Block who first the land at Montauk Point in 1614 and encountered with the native Americans. Lion Gardiner was the first white resident of Suffolk County who settled there in 1639 somewhere on the island between north and south forks. Once can still find Gardiner’s Island bearing his family name.
When English colonists crossed Long Island from Massachusetts and Connecticut colonies, they founded Southold and Southampton in 1640, East Hampton in 1648, Shelter Island in 1652 and Setauket, Brookhaven in 1655. From Manhattan Island, the Dutch settlers slowly moved eastward. Around the mid-1600s, the English took control of the eastern Long Island from the Dutch.
Later on in 1670s, James, the Duke of York and the owner of Long Island appointed Thomas Dongan for governing it. Then on November 1, 1683, the “Charter of Liberties and Privileges” was implemented at the gathering of colonial representatives. They decided to establish Suffolk County as a political entity. During this time onwards, Suffolk County had been started to be counted as one of the 12 counties of the Province of New York. During the revolutionary War, the County was occupied by the British from 1776 to 1783.
Since the very first years of colonization, fishing and shipbuilding were the primary occupations of the Long Islanders along with farming and whaling. Later on, the rocky shore beaches, the white sand, the calm water, the quaint historic villages, the dependable winds and safe sailing environment make tourism as the major industry in Suffolk County. During the 1930s, the County became a major site for the large-scale suppliers of defense and aerospace industries in the USA. From 1955 onwards, population explosion of Suffolk County took place due to mass-produced housing development and establishing the major learning institutes.