New York is a state in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. New York is the 27th-most extensive, the fourth-most populous, and the seventh-most densely populated of the 50 United States. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south and Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont to the east. The state has a maritime border with Rhode Island east of Long Island, as well as an international border with the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the north and Ontario to the west and north. The state of New York is often referred to as New York State or the State of New York to distinguish it from New York City, the state's most populous city and its economic hub.
With a Census-estimated population of nearly 8.5 million in 2014, New York City is the most populous city in the United States. The city is the nucleus of the premier gateway for legal immigration to the United States—the New York City Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world. New York City is also known for being the location of Ellis Island, the largest historical gateway for immigration in the history of the United States. A global power city, New York City exerts a significant impact upon commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment. The home of the United Nations Headquarters, New York City is an important center for international diplomacy and has been described as the cultural and financial capital of the world, as well as the world's most economically powerful city. New York City alone makes up over 40 percent of the population of New York State. Two-thirds of the state's population lives in the New York City Metropolitan Area, and nearly 40% live on Long Island. Both the state and New York City were named for the 17th century Duke of York, future King James II of England. The next four most populous cities in the state are Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, and Syracuse, while the state capital is Albany.
The earliest Europeans in New York were French colonists and Jesuit missionaries who arrived southward from settlements at Montreal for trade and proselytizing. New York had been inhabited by various tribes of Algonquian and Iroquoian-speaking Native Americans for several hundred years by the time Dutch settlers moved into the region in the early 17th century. In 1609, the region was first claimed by Henry Hudson for the Dutch, who built Fort Nassau in 1614 at the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers, where the present-day capital of Albany later developed. The Dutch soon also settled New Amsterdam and parts of the Hudson Valley, establishing the colony of New Netherland based on trade and profitmaking, a multicultural community from its earliest days and a center of trade and immigration. The British annexed the colony from the Dutch in 1664. The borders of the British colony, the Province of New York, were quite similar to those of the present-day state.
Many landmarks in New York are well known to both international and domestic visitors, with New York State hosting four of the world's ten most-visited tourist attractions in 2013: Times Square, Central Park, Niagara Falls (shared with Ontario), and Grand Central Terminal. New York is home to the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of the United States and its ideals of freedom, democracy, and opportunity. New York's higher education network comprises approximately 200 colleges and universities, including Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University, and Rockefeller University, which have been ranked among the top 35 in the world.