Wantagh (pronounced /WAHN-taw/) is a hamlet and census-designated place (an unincorporated section of the Town of Hempstead) in Nassau County, New York, United States. The population of Wantagh was 18,971 at the time of the 2000 census.
Wantagh is known as "The Gateway to Jones Beach" due to its location directly north of the famous Jones Beach State Park-developed State Park.
The Wantagh area was inhabited by the Merokee (or Merikoke) tribe of the Metoac indians prior to the first wave of European settlement in the mid-17th century. The Merokee were part of the greater Montauk tribe that loosely ruled Long Island's Native Americans. Wantagh was the sachem (chief) of the Merokee tribe in 1647, and was later the grand sachem of the Montauk tribe from 1651-1658. The Dutch settlers came east from their New Amsterdam colony, and English settlers came south from Connecticut and Massachusetts settlements. When the English and Dutch settled their competing claims to Long Island in the 1650 treaty conducted in Hartford, the Dutch partition included all lands west of Oyster Bay and thus the Wantagh area. Long Island then was ceded to the Duke of York in 1663-64, but then fell back into Dutch hands after the Dutch regained New York in 1673. The Treaty of Westminster in 1674 settled the land claims once and for all, incorporating Long Island into the now-British colony of New York.