New York City, which is both the largest city in the state and in the United States, is known for its history as a
gateway for immigration to the United States and its status as a financial, cultural, transportation, and manufacturing center.
It was named after the 17th century Duke of York, James Stuart, future James II and VII of England and Scotland.
New York was inhabited by the Algonquian, Iroquois, and Lenape Native American groups at the time Dutch and French
nationals moved into the region in the early 17th century. First claimed by Henry Hudson in 1609, the region came to
have Dutch forts in Fort Orange, near the site of the present-day capital of Albany in 1614 and was colonized by the
Dutch in 1624, at both Albany and Manhattan; it later fell to British annexation in 1664. About one third of all of
the battles of the Revolutionary War took place in New York. New York became an independent state on July 9, 1776 and
enacted its constitution in 1777. The state ratified the United States Constitution on July 26, 1788 to become the
11th state. According to the US Department of Commerce, it is also the state of choice for foreign visitors, leading
both Florida and California in tourism.
New York covers 54,475 square miles (141,089 kmē) and ranks as 27th largest state by size. The Great Appalachian
Valley dominates eastern New York, while Lake Champlain is the chief northern feature of the valley, which also
includes the Hudson River flowing southward to the Atlantic Ocean. The rugged Adirondack Mountains, with vast tracts
of wilderness, lie west of the valley. Most of the southern part of the state is on the Allegheny plateau, which
rises from the southeast to the Catskill Mountains. The western section of the state is drained by the Allegheny
River and rivers of the Susquehanna and Delaware systems. The Delaware River Basin Compact, signed in 1961 by New
York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the federal government, regulates the utilization of water of the