Asked in
New York
New York City
Brooklyn NYC

If Queens County is the borough of Queens why is Kings County called Brooklyn?


User Avatar
Wiki User
February 28, 2013 4:47AM

The difference in name is due to the history of the counties before they both became part of New York City in 1898. Brooklyn has two names, because Brooklyn and Kings County were not always the same thing. Brooklyn used to be a small part of Kings County and it gradually grew to swallow up the whole county.

The Dutch settlement of Breuckelen was established on the western shore of Long Island (area of present-day Brooklyn Heights) in the 17th century. The county of Kings was so designated by the English after they took over the colony, and it encompassed roughly the same area as it does now. The name Breuckelen then was anglicized as Brooklyn, and the town was incorporated in the 19th century. By the 1890s, the City of Brooklyn was annexing all surrounding towns, including Williamsburgh, Flatlands, Flatbush, Gravesend, New Utrecht and others, until it took over the entire Kings County. And within a few short years, the City of Brooklyn, which was now synonymous with Kings County, joined with New York City, part of Queens County, part of the present-day Bronx, and Richmond County to form the City of Greater New York. So, in 1898 the City of Brooklyn properly became the Borough of Brooklyn, but the name of the county remained as Kings.

Queens County, on the other hand, consisted of several smaller towns, and did not have one giant that would annex the rest. A number of these smaller towns (Flushing, Jamaica, etc.) also joined the City of Greater New York in 1898 forming the Borough of Queens. The rest of the towns in Queens County (Hempstead, North Hempstead, Oyster Bay) decided to separate and form their own Nassau County within about a year. Thus, the borders of Queens County shrank to encompass only the Borough of Queens and nothing else.