New York, the Big Apple, The City that never Sleeps. Whatever you want to call it New York City is one of the most fascinating places to visit in the world. But how did it all begin?

The first to get to the core of the "Big Apple" was Giovanna Di Verrazzano (yes, like the bridge.) in 1524. An Italian, he was the first to explore the harbor areas and met with Native American tribes such as the Raritan and Lenape.

Although Di Verrazzano was the first European to come to New York, it was another, Henry Hudson who usually gets the credit for truly bringing Europe to the area.

After many failed attempts to find the Northeast Passage to Asia, Henry Hudson received funds from a large tea corporation, the Dutch East India Company, to go exploring the world in 1609.

Over the next 20 years, a number of Dutch immigrants settled in the area, christening it "New Amsterdam". The city was considered a haven for those fleeing religious persecution at home in Europe.

A Dutch politician, Peter Minuet, is the man credited with having made what was the greatest real estate transaction in history, the purchase of New Amsterdam/New York City from the Canarsees Indians for around $65.

New Amsterdam flourished until 1664, when it was taken control of by the British. Then Governor Peter Stuyvesant had been expecting this invasion for years, and had taken money from the Dutch West India Corporation to build a gigantic 2,400 spiked wall across the northern end of the island, the most populated area. This part of the city is now known as Wall Street. The English were not hampered by this impressive defensive strategy though; they merely attacked from the sea instead of by land, easily taking Manhattan and ousting the Dutch regime.

England promptly renamed the city, and the colony, New York, after James, the Duke of York.

Until the advent of the Revolutionary War, New York City was one the most important places politically in North America, due to its great location and great market for trade.

In 1783, the defeated British troops left New York City for good. Six years later George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States in a ceremony at Federal Hall on Wall Street. The capitol of the brand new country was now New York. However, one year later, the capitol moved to Philadelphia.

In much of the world's eyes, it is New York City, not Washington DC they think of first when they think of the USA. New York is till the world's financial capital, and still one of the best places to do business in the world. The terror attacks of 9/11/2001 felled one of the great symbols of the city, The World Trade Center, which stood for years as the tallest building in the world. The attacks however only strengthen New Yorker's spirits and the city continues to flourish as probably the most recognizable place in the world.