Part of the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Seaway waterway, the Port of Rochester is an industrial center and the seat of Monroe County, New York. Located on the mouth of the Genesee River as it flows into Lake Ontario, the Port of Rochester is about 60 nautical miles (91 kilometers or 57 miles) west-northwest of the Port of Oswego on Lake Ontario's southern shores. The Port of Rochester is about 85 nautical miles (150 kilometers or 93 miles) southeast across Lake Ontario of the Port of Toronto. The Port of Rochester is the hub of a larger metropolitan area, surrounded by many residential towns and some industrial parks. The 2010 US Census reported a population of over 210 thousand in the City of Rochester and a population of over one million in the metropolitan area.
The Port of Rochester supports several international businesses including Eastman Kodak and Bausch & Lomb. Xerox was born in the Port of Rochester, as were the Gannett media giant and Western Union. Imaging and optical science are well-represented in the Port of Rochester, garnering the city the nickname as the "World Capital of Imaging." The Port of Rochester is home to the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester and the Rochester Institute of Technology.
The Seneca Nation was one of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy that lived in the future Port of Rochester area before the American Revolution. The Seneca joined the Iroquois Confederacy in 1142AD, the year of a solar eclipse. By the 17th Century, the Seneca were the most populous of the six Nations. They had permanent settlements, raised crops, and hunted over a wide area. They moved their towns every couple of decades, following fertile soils and game.
Constantly under attack by the Huron and other tribes, the Seneca lived in villages surrounded by palisades. The Iroquois-Huron war lasted from the early until the middle 1600s. The Huron were decimated by smallpox and warfare and eventually surrendered to the Seneca, who assimilated them into the Seneca homelands.
The Seneca tried without success to stay neutral during the American Revolution. After the revolution, Seneca settlements became reservations under the 1784 Treaty of Fort Stanwix. In 1788, the Seneca sold much of their lands to representatives of Massachusetts. In 1797, the Treaty of Big Tree took more lands from the Seneca. They were allowed to keep ten reservations.
Today, the 7800 citizens of the Seneca Nation of Indians live on five reservations in the State of New York. Estimates place about ten thousand Seneca near Lake Erie. About 1200 citizens of the Tonawanda Band live on the reservation about half way between the Port of Rochester and Buffalo. Other Seneca live near Miami, Oklahoma, as members of the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma. From ten to 25,000 Seneca live in Ontario, Canada.
The Port of Rochester began to develop after the American Revolution on Seneca lands. In 1803, a group of American officers from Maryland bought a 40-hectare tract along the Genesee River. With a population of 15, the town was laid out in 1811. In 1817, landowners consolidated their lands to form the Port of Rochester village.
By 1821, the Port of Rochester was the seat of Monroe County. The Erie Canal linked the Port of Rochester to the Hudson River to the east. In 1834, the Port of Rochester was chartered as a city. By the late 1830s, the Port of Rochester was the country's biggest flour-producing city. The Port of Rochester became the United States' first boomtown when its population doubled in a single decade. When the flour industry moved west, the nursery business filled that void, winning the nickname "Flower City" for the Port of Rochester.
Frederick Douglass established the abolitionist North Star newspaper in the Port of Rochester in 1847. Susan B. Anthony lived in the Port of Rochester. At the end of the century, Emma Goldman defended the cause of laborers who worked in Port of Rochester sweatshops. During that era, the Port of Rochester was the site of much unrest focusing on race, anti-war, and labor protests.
In the late 19th Century, new industries sprang up in the Port of Rochester. They included Eastman Kodak and Bausch & Lomb. These new industries created thousands of jobs. In the 20th Century, the Port of Rochester was a center for the garment industry and the home of a pioneering automobile company.