During the Civil War, New York City almost became its own country.
In January 1861, as the South began seceding from the Union, New York City Mayor Fernando Wood came up with an unusual idea. Declaring disunion "a fixed fact," the Tammany Hall Democrat proposed that New York become an independent nation composed of three islands--Manhattan, Long Island, and Staten Island--called "Tri-Insula." The city council approved the plan. "I would have New York a free city," declared one supporter, "not a free city with respect to the liberty of the negro, but a free city in commerce and trade." Independence would have concrete economic benefits, since it would enable New Yorkers to continue their lucrative trade in Southern cotton. The Free City of Tri-Insula might've become a reality, if it weren't for the attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861, which triggered an outpouring of patriotism throughout the North and effectively killed Wood's proposal. Later that year, he lost his re-election campaign, and Tri-Insula became another footnote in the long history of American secession.