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The Dutch founded six towns in present-day Brooklyn beginning in 1645.

These included: Brooklyn, Gravesend, Flatlands, Flatbush, New Utrecht, and Bushwick.

While the eastern region of Long Island was first settled by the English, the western portion of Long Island was settled by the Dutch.

Until 1664, the jurisdiction of Long Island was split, roughly at the present border between Nassau County and Suffolk County.

Peter Hallock, one of the settlers, drew the long straw and was granted the honor to step ashore first.

He is considered the first New World settler on Long Island. Hempstead followed in 1644, East Hampton in 1648, Huntington in 1653, Brookhaven in 1655, and Smithtown in 1665.

Present-day Suffolk County was designated as the East Riding (of Yorkshire), present-day Brooklyn was part of the West Riding, and present-day Queens and Nassau were part of the larger North Riding.

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Prior to European contact, the Lenape people (named the Delaware by Europeans) inhabited the western end of Long Island, and spoke the Munsee dialect of Lenape, one of the Algonquian language family.

North of the island is Long Island Sound, across which lie Westchester County, New York, and the state of Connecticut.

Across the Block Island Sound to the northeast is the state of Rhode Island.

Long Island is a densely populated island off the East Coast of the United States, beginning at New York Harbor just 0.35 miles (0.56 km) from Manhattan Island and extending eastward into the Atlantic Ocean. However, many people in the New York metropolitan area (including those in Brooklyn and Queens) colloquially use the term "Long Island" to refer exclusively to Nassau and Suffolk counties, which are mainly suburban in character, while employing the term "the city" to mean Manhattan alone.

More than half of New York City's residents now live in Queens and Brooklyn, that is, on Long Island.

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