Although Harlem is most commonly known as The Capital of Black America, its history began with the Algonquian people who first settled here and opened a trading post in 1613. Ten years later the Dutch would follow. Dutch Governor Peter Stuyvesant established Nieuw Haarlem in 1658 and it remained largely a rural farmland until 1878 when railway access penetrated Harlem along Second, Third and Eighth Avenues. The transformation of Harlem into prestigious residential communities began to take place between 1880 & 1890.
At the beginning of the 20th, century due to large migrations of African Americans to northern cities and housing shortages in lower Manhattan, Harlem became a magnet for those searching for a better life and greater opportunities.
From 1910-1920 the population of African Americans in Manhattan jumped by more than 80% with more substantial increases in the following next 10 years. This bustling environment fostered an intense sense of pride and political activism that is still present today. The world cannot forget the impact of individuals such Adam Clayton Powell, Frederick Douglas and Malcolm X. These are individuals who changed how the world perceived African Americans and more importantly how African Americans perceived themselves. Harlem continues to transform, many call the present day rejuvenation “The Second Great Harlem Renaissance”. Wherever Harlem is in its development, it will continue to make an impact on New York City and the world for years to come.