Long Island: Our Story

Two decades ago, Newsday began publishing the first pages of “Long Island: Our Story,” our celebrated 273-part series that told the history of this island we call home, from the Ice Age to the Space Age. Now, 20 years later, we’re proud to once again share this remarkable story with a new generation of Long Islanders.

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Chapter 1

The birth of Long Island

Our story

The birth of Long Island

From a glacier as tall as a skyscraper to a fish-shaped island awaiting its first inhabitants

Chapter 1 of “Long Island: Our Story” is available here.

In the belly of the earth

In the belly of the earth

Water tunnel offers rock-hard and ages-old clues about the formation of LI

Bill Davis/Newsday

The evolution of Long Island Sound

The evolution of Long Island Sound

Once a river, a valley, a lake, and recently the body of water we know today

Steven Sunshine

Long Island - Not really an island?

Long Island - Not really an island?

A decision was rendered by the Supreme Court in 1985

NASA

Washed to the sea

Washed to the sea

Despite humanity's best efforts, erosion poses a relentless threat

Bill Davis/Newsday

More floods in the future?

More floods in the future?

If sea levels keep rising, many LI communities can expect wet changes

Bill Davis/Newsday

When the island was new

When the island was new

Before people arrived, a pristine land of wildlife and sweet vegetation

Bill Davis/Newsday

Chapter 2

The first Long Islanders

Our story

The first Long Islanders

Some 550 generations across 12 millennia occupied the Island before Europeans arrived

Chapter 2 of “Long Island: Our Story” is available here.

Untangling a myth

Untangling a myth

Europeans apparently mistook Indian place names for tribal labels

Steve Madden/Newsday

Masters of agriculture

Masters of agriculture

Indian communities grew corn, beans, squash and tobacco in Long Island soil

Southold Indian Museum

Gods of the Indians

Gods of the Indians

Old Dutch writings relate to some of what original Long Islanders believed of life and the afterlife

Boston Public Library

Keepers of a lost culture

Keepers of a lost culture

A dying language once heard on Long Island is spoken by a few on a Canadian reserve

Bill Davis/Newsday

Jefferson's lost legacy

Jefferson's lost legacy

A robbery foils his work to save some of the Island's Algonquian language

Independence National Historical Park

Indian names were his fame

Indian names were his fame

William Wallace Tooker's quest to recover lost words

Jermain Memorial Library Photo

Chapter 3

The colonial collision

Our story

The colonial collision

A showdown develops as Dutch and English immigrants settle on opposite ends of Long Island

Part one of Chapter 3 of “Long Island: Our Story” is available here.

Part two of Chapter 3 is available here.

Dutch settlers left their mark

Dutch settlers left their mark

Influences of the Netherlands live on centuries later in roads, buildings and names

Bill Davis/Newsday

Blood flows, war threatens

Blood flows, war threatens

Violence escalates as a Dutch craftsman is murdered and Indians are massacred

Stock Montage Inc.

The legend of the bull

The legend of the bull

The tale of Smithtown's borders may be apocryphal, but it makes for a good story

Robert Gaston

The Dutch welcome the English

The Dutch welcome the English

A settlement is born in Hempstead, and its founders become wealthy

Nassau County Museum, Long Island Studies Institute

The rise of slavery

The rise of slavery

New York has the most slaves in the North, almost half of them on Long Island

The Granger Collection/Howard Pyle

Witchhunt in East Hampton

Witchhunt in East Hampton

A Long Island farmer's wife is accused of witchcraft three decades before the trials in Salem

The Granger Collection

The legend of Capt. Kidd

The legend of Capt. Kidd

He goes to sea with royal approval to attack England's enemies, and returns accused of piracy

Harpers Magazine

The well-kept colonies

The well-kept colonies

Reaping the 'considerable' harvest of the New World's wealth on land and sea

The New York Historical Society

On the verge of war

On the verge of war

The colonies protest new taxes from George III and clash with British troops

The Granger Collection

Chapter 4

Christopher Vale's revolution

Our story

Christopher Vale's revolution

An amazing personal story from the journal of a soldier, sailor, prisoner and patriot

Part one of Chapter 4 of “Long Island: Our Story” is available here.

Part two of Chapter 4 of “Long Island: Our Story” is available here.

The plot to kidnap Washington

The plot to kidnap Washington

One of the general's own guards joins the king's Loyalists in a wide conspiracy

National Archives

A hero's last words

A hero's last words

'God save us all,' Nathaniel Woodhull told his attackers... Or did he?

Nassau County Museum Collection

Huntington takes on the king

Huntington takes on the king

By 1774, the town emerges as an energetic proponent of revolution

Julia Gaines/Newsday

Revolution's unseen rebels

Revolution's unseen rebels

'Blacks fought on both sides in the War of Independence, but gained little

Ed Dwight

They signed for independence

They signed for independence

William Floyd and Francis Lewis, the two Long Islanders who took a stand for freedom

National Archives

America celebrates its new freedom

America celebrates its new freedom

Defeated British and Loyalists board ships to leave the U.S.

Newsday/Bill Davis

Chapter 5

A Long Island victory tour

Our story

A Long Island victory tour

Like the new nation, Long Island was about to begin building.

Part one of Chapter 5 of “Long Island: Our Story” is available here.

In search of whales

In search of whales

The last whale hunted off Long Island was killed Feb. 22, 1907, by a group of aging East Hampton whalers.

Steve Wick/Newsday

Slavery died a slow death on Long Island

Slavery died a slow death on Long Island

Slavery was allowed to die a slow death in New York.

George DeWan/Newsday

The coming of the iron horse

The coming of the iron horse

The idea may have seemed simple, but it took 10 years to achieve.

Sidney C. Schaer/Newsday