Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City’s five boroughs, with about 2.6 million people, as well as the second-largest in area. It is geographically adjacent to the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is the most populous county in New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County (Manhattan). Today, if it were an independent city, Brooklyn would rank as the fourth most populous city in the U.S., behind only the other boroughs of New York City combined, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
The history of Brooklyn spans more than 350 years. The settlement began in the 17th century as the small Dutch-founded town of “Breuckelen” on the East River shore of Long Island, grew to be a sizable city in the 19th century, and was consolidated in 1898 with New York City (then confined to Manhattan and part of the Bronx), the remaining rural areas of Kings County, and the largely rural areas of Queens and Staten Island, to form the modern City of New York.