West Point, New York

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West Point is a federal military reservation (and a census-designated place) located north of the Village of Highland Falls in Orange County, New York, United States. The population was 7,138 at the 2000 census. It is part of the PoughkeepsieNewburghMiddletown, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the larger New YorkNewarkBridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined Statistical Area. The United States Military Academy is located at West Point and has often been called "The Point."

Contents

History

West Point was a fortified site during the Revolutionary War. Originally picked due to the abnormal S-curve in the Hudson at this point, it was founded by one of the best military engineers of the time, Polish General Tadeusz Kościuszko. It was manned by a small garrison of Continental soldiers through the entirety of the war. A great iron chain was laid across the Hudson at this point in order to impede British Navy vessels, but it was never tested by the British. The site consisted of multiple redoubts, including Fort Putnam, which is still preserved in a Revolutionary-period design.

In perhaps the most infamous act of treason in American history, General Benedict Arnold attempted to turn the site over to the British Army in 1780 for a bribe consisting of a commission as a Brigadier General in the British Army and a cash reward of £20,000 (about $1.3M in 2009 dollars). However, Arnold's plot failed when British Major John André was captured as a spy by the Americans. Arnold received a decreased cash reward of 6,000 pounds (roughly $350,000) but was commissioned as a Brigadier General in the British Army.

The United States Military Academy was established at West Point in 1802 and has the longest continuous service of any United States military installation.

In 1937, the West Point Bullion Depository was constructed; in 1988 it became the West Point Mint, as a branch of the United States Mint.

Geography

West Point is located at 41°22′15″N 74°02′34″W / 41.370933°N 74.042851°W / 41.370933; -74.042851.[2] According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 25.1 square miles (64.9 km2); 24.3 square miles (63.0 km2) land and 0.7 square miles (1.9 km2) water. West Point and the contiguous village of Highland Falls, New York, are on the west bank of the Hudson River.

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