Why is The Bronx Called The Bronx?

Christine Megrejo Christine Megrejo

Why is The Bronx Called The Bronx?

The Bronx, or as it’s formally called, the Boogie-Down Bronx, has an interesting history. Not just as a borough but also in terms of its names. It wasn’t always the Bronx, so how did we get there?

Way before The Bronx was settled, it was referred to as Rananchqua [ by the Native Americans in the area. Try saying that three times fast (or even once). But eventually, it would be named after a man called Jonas Bronck, who was an immigrant to the area at a time when it was called New Netherland. The Bronx River was actually named after him first, then subsequently the county near it.

What did he do to deserve a whole area named after him? Apparently, he was the leader in having a peace treaty signed between the Native Americans, the Lenape tribes, and Dutch settlers. That treaty was signed in his actual home. So the land was called Broncksland, or Bronck’s for short.

After he died, and the land was passed through several owners, it’s believed that it was shortened or possibly even misspelled as “Bronx” and the name stuck.

So there you have it, a whole borough named after a guy who only lived in the area for 4 years, but brought peace among settlers and Native Americans. And then they spelled his name wrong. Seems like a typical NYC story.

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