Corporation of the City of New York collection
1798-1873 (bulk 1806-1865)
New Amsterdam was founded by the Dutch in 1625 and quickly grew into a center of commerce between North America and Europe. In 1664, the British seized control of the island from Dutch Governor Peter Stuyvesant, and renamed it New York City. In 1686, British Governor Thomas Dongan received a royal charter for the city. Governor John Montgomerie's charter of 1730/1731 established the city as a local government and as a corporation, allowing the city to own land and to hold legislative authority over its citizens. The Corporation of the City of New York took on an expanded bureaucratic role following the city's growth after the American Revolution. In the early 1800s, the Corporation began to fund public works projects such as road construction and repair, maintenance of the city's docks, procurement and delivery of fresh water, and the employment of night watchmen. The Corporation of the City of New York sustained this role throughout the 19th century.