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Westchester County is one of the centrally located counties within the New York metropolitan area.
The county is positioned with New York City, Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, and Long Island Sound to its south; Putnam County to its north; Fairfield County, Connecticut to its east; and Rockland County and Bergen County, New Jersey across the Hudson River to the west.
At the time of European contact in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Native American inhabitants of present Westchester County were part of the Algonquian peoples, whose name for themselves was Lenape, meaning the people.
They called the region Lenapehoking, which consisted of the area around and between the Delaware and Hudson Rivers.
In 1788, five years after the end of the war, the county was divided into 20 towns.
Westchester was the first suburban area of its scale in the world to develop, due mostly to the upper-middle-class development of entire communities in the late 19th century and the subsequent rapid population growth.
Because of Westchester's numerous road and mass transit connections to New York City, as well as its shared border with the Bronx, the 20th and 21st centuries have seen much of the county, particularly the southern portion, become nearly as densely developed as New York City itself.
Several different tribes occupied the area, including The Manhattans, and the Weckquaesgeek and Siwanoy bands of the Wappinger in the south, and Tankiteke, Sintsink and Kitchawank Wappinger in the north.
The first European explorers to visit the Westchester area were Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524 and Henry Hudson in 1609.