LONG ISLAND. An island forming the southeastern extremity of the State of New York, and embracing the four counties of Kings, coextensive with the populous metropolitan bor ough of Brooklyn (q.v.), Queens. also part of New York City, Nassau, and Suffolk (=Map: New York, G 5). It is bounded south and east by the Atlantic Ocean, north by Long Island Sound. and • west by New- York Bay and the East River. Its length is about 118 miles; its width, 12 to 23 miles; area, 1682 square miles; population, in 1900. 1.452,011. of whom 1,166,582 resided in Brooklyn. The coast is in dented with many bays and inlets. and the adja cent waters abound with shell and other fish, constituting a valuable source of food-supply. Peconic Bay. 30 miles long. divides the eastern end of the island into two parts or projections, the one on the northern side terminating at Orient Point, that on the southern terminating at 31ontank Point, 20 miles farther east. On the south side of the island, and stretching along nearly half its length, is Great South Bay, from two to five miles broad, formed by Fire Island or Great South Beach, a strip of white sand from one fourth of a mile to a mile in width, with occasional openings to the ocean. Near the western end of the island are Jamaica, Ilenfpstead, Oyster, and Huntington bays. Shelter. Gardiner, Fishers, and Plum islands, in the adjacent waters, are at tached politically to Long Island. The coasts, bordering as they do on the track of an immense ocean commerce, are furnished with a large number of lighthouses, and with life-saving sta tions, equipped with the most modern appliances for rendering assistance to vessels in distress. The surface, though presenting considerable va riety, is marked by no great elevations. A range of glacial hills extends, with frequent interrup tions, from the northern boundary of New Utrecht in the west almost to the eastern ex tremity of the island on the north side of Peconic Bay. These hills are considerably nearer to the northern than to the southern margin of the island. The highest elevations are Hempstead, Harbor Hill at Roslyn, and West Hill in Suf folk County, the last two being 384 feet above the sea. North of the glacial range the surface is uneven and rough. while on the south it gradually slopes toward the sea, and is broken here and there by wide. sandy plains produeing only coarse grass and stunted shrubs. Some of these plains, by the application of manures, have been brought under cultivation. A considerable portion of the island is in forest. from which will game has not yet been wholly exterminated. There are numerous springs and small streams, and many ponds. while swamps and marshes abound. The island is estimated to contain more than 100 square miles of salt marsh. The largest stream is the Peconie, which. after a course of 15 miles, empties into the bay of the same name. It furnishes numerous mill sites.
especially when larva.. The fleshy, sho•t-legged grubs bore into wood and feed there, injuring fruit and timber trees.
With the exception of the sandy plains above mentioned the soil is for the most part fertile, in some sections particularly rich. Much of it
is in a high state of cultivation. The climate, on account of the influence of the sea. is milder and more equable than at the same latitude in the interior. the mercury seldom falling below Zero or rising above 90°. the average temperatuie being about 51°. Summer bathing and fishing resorts stud the shores. and there are numerous elegant residences and estates, more especially on the bold, hilly, and picturesque northern coast overlooking Long Island Sound. on the south shore the principal places are Manhattan lleaeh (Coney Island), Rockaway Beach, Far Rock away, Long Beach, Fire Island, and Montauk Point ; on the north shore, College Point. Sea cliff, Glen Cove. Oyster Bay, Coldspring Harbor, Northport, Port Jefferson, and Greenport. Finely macadamized roads, the favorite touring grounds of antomobilists and cyclists, traverse the island in all directions; the principal railroad is the Long Island, which extends from Long Island City at the western extremity to Greenport and Montauk at the two eastern extremities.
At the time of its discovery by Hudson in 1609, Long Island was occupied by thirteen tribes of the Lenni-Lenape division of Algonquin Indians, who are now represented by a few individuals of mixed blood dwelling near Shinnecock Neck, Forge, and Montauk Point, where at the period of the first European settlement Wyandance, the chief of the thirteen tribes, resided. Antiquarian discoveries have demonstrated the existence of a prehistoric race of different origin. The various Indian names of the island were Sewanhacky, Panmaneke, Matou•aeks, and Wamponomon. The Dutch named it Lange Eylandt—whence Long Island ; a subsequent change by the Colo nial Legislature to the Island of Nassau never became popular. Included in the land between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, embraced by latitudes 40° to 48° North, granted by James I. to the Plymouth Company in 1620, it became the property of the Earl of Stirling, and at his death in 1640 of the Duke of York. The earliest settle ments by the Dutch were begun in 16:32; the first recorded purchase of land in South Brook lyn is in 1636. The Dutch exercised jurisdiction in the western part of the island down to 1664, in which year they were dispossessed of New Netherland. Many of the agricultural holdings toward the east remain unchanged in the pos session of descendants of the original settlers; Cardiner's Island has belonged to the family of that name since 1640. The military operations during the Revolutionary period and the battle of Long Island (q.v.) are the chief incidents of the subsequent history of the island.
Consult : Thompson. The history of Long Isl and (New York, 1843) ; Prime, History of Long Island (New York, 1845) ; Furman, Antiquities of Long Island, with Bibliography (New York, 1875) ; Flint, Early Long Island (New York, 1896) ; and the Annual Reports of the Long Island Historical Society (Brooklyn).