A View of Harlaem from Morisania in the Province of New York 1765
Harlem was settled by Dutch colonists in the 17th century. It was known as Nieuw Haarlem or New Haarlem, and was named after the Dutch city of Haarlem where the citizens had defended their city against Spanish invaders during the Eight Years War. It became a trading post for the Dutch West India Company but in 1664 was surrendered to the British who renamed it Harlem. At the time this watercolour was made Harlem was a rural area containing a number of large country estates. Morrisania is a neighborhood in the southwestern area of the Bronx in New York. In the late 18th century the land was owned by Lewis Morris, who signed the Decleration of Indpendence.