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Although earlier explorers such as Giovanni da Verrazzano and Henry Hudson plied the waters around present-day Manhattan in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, respectively, colonization of the region did not officially take place until 1624. In May of that year, under the authority of the Dutch West India Company, the Nieu Nederlandt brought 30 families of Belgian Protestants called Walloons to join the few traders who had already settled in the Dutch province of New Netherland. The following year, the settlers were moved from Noten Eylant (present-day Governors Island) to a site on the southern tip of Manhattan Island (near today's Battery Park), where a fort was constructed to protect the entrance to the Hudson River from England and France and to consolidate the colony's trade operations. In 1626, Peter Minuit was named director general of New Netherland and purchased Manhattan from the Delaware Indians to ensure the legality of Dutch land ownership. Over the next four decades, and especially under Peter Stuyvesant, who served as director general from 1647 to 1664, New Amsterdam continued to grow, reaching a population of nearly 9,000 in 1664. That year, the Dutch were forced to surrender the colony to the English, and the settlement was renamed New York, in honor of James Stuart, the Duke of York.
About the Author:
Tim McNeese is associate professor of history at York College in York, Nebraska
Table of Contents
Trade and Strife in the New World 7
Early Contacts 15
Henry Hudson's Legacy 26
Traders Along the Hudson 41
New Netherland 51
Peter Minuit Takes Charge 63
Incompetent Governors 73
"Silver Leg" 81
Further Reading 102