Last Thursday I was in New York… for the weekend. That’s not enough time to really experience a city as big and vibrant as New York. I wanted to find a really good Steampunk bar and sit for an evening but ended up wandering around town with
a contingent new friends from South Africa, some of whom were seeing the city for the first time.
I know how the city got its name (York… Toronto… angry Canadians… rebuilt as New York…). However, I’d not put much thought into who the city was named after… likely the Duke of York, but which one? Was it the one who marched his troops to the top of the hill and marched them down again?
No… alas, this is not the case (thank God because I’d have this going through my head every time I arrived in New York). Rather, it’s named after James II of England who had a rather unpredictable life. Born the second son of Charles I, he was exiled when his father was executed by Oliver Cromwell at Whitehall in 1649.
In 1658, Oliver Cromwell died, the Commonwealth collapsed, and the Duke’s oldest brother (Charles II… philanderer… rebel… Nell Gwynn…) became king. Charles, the Merry Monarch (not to be confused with Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobites), was king until 1685 when he died from kidney failure. He had no “legitimate” heirs and the Duke of York became King James II.
This is the Duke of York behind New York. I’m a little surprised that the city was named after this Duke given America’s puritan beginnings and the Duke’s non-puritan family. However, New York was Dutch first and only became English in 1664 after Cromwell’s death and the subsequent decline of the Puritan movement.
Enjoy the photos. I pulled these together for Travel Photo Thursday.