Contribution from NYC.GOV visitor Hyman Raiklen
COLONIAL NEW YORK CITY
The Indians on Manhattan Island were basically Algonquins with many dialects. Some of them were hostile to each other; and they experienced a common hostility towards the Iroquois of the upper Hudson valley.
Manhattan was a vast forest of oak, maple, chestnut, and pine trees; and abounded with berry bushes.
The first white man to see Manhattan was the Italian explorer, Giovanni da Verrazano, working for the King of France—April 1524.
3. A storm prevented him from landing; and he put his ship Dauphine out to sea. A year later, the Spanish King sent the Portugese navigator, Esteban Gomez out to explore the eastern shores of America. His ship reached Manhattan , but heavy ice prevented him from an exploration of the island. The third attempt to explore Manhattan was finally accomplished by an English navigator, Henry Hudson who was employed by the Dutch East India Company. His ship, the Half Moon, sailed into the Lower Bay of New York, in September 1609. The ship anchored and he landed on Manhattan. A month later the ship left Manhattan, never to return.
In 1610, a thriving trade began between the Indians and the Dutch. Dutch ships were numerous ;gold was bartered for precious furs. Under pressure that England reminded the Dutch government of England's claim to the New World, the Dutch government granted a charter in 1621 to a group of merchants who organized the Dutch West India Company. It's purpose was to monopolize Dutch trade in America and Africa.
The first settlers to arrive in Manhattan were Dutch emigrants-May 1623, which was three years later than the Pilgrim landing in Plymouth, Massachussetts. A number of the original Dutch emigrants were French-speaking who came from the South of Belgium. For security reasons, the small numbers of emigrants moved to Governors Island. Subsequent emigrants arrived and the larger population gave them a sense of security, whereby they moved back to Manhattan Island, which became a large fur trading post.
The first director-general of the Manhattan Colony was Peter Minuit. One of his goals was to purchase Manhattan Island from the Indians. The island was eventually purchased; however, Peter Minuit was recalled since there appeared to be some evidence that he was partial to a group of farmers who were bent on fur smuggling. The new director-general was Wouter Van Twiller. During his regime, a church, a sawmill, and a bakery were constructed. And at the same time, he furthered his own interests by purchasing from the Indians: Welfare and Governors Islands. He was replaced byWillem Kieff. Fur smuggling and his taxation of the Indians were his worst problems. The Indians and the Dutch began a slaughter episode. The Dutch were almost helpless since they were greatly outnumbered. An English mercenary, John Underhill and his paid followers carried out a merciless slaughter of Indian tribes. The latter finally sued for peace which began in August 1645. The new dirctor-general was blamed for the poor performance of his colony and he was recalled to Holland; on the way his ship sunk and he perished.
Peter Stuyvesant left Holland for New Amsterdam to become the new director-general.
4. He was strict. And beset with the residual problems of the previous tenures. There was the smuggling of goods, the non-payment of taxes, and the killing of Indian families by both the Dutch soldiers and civilians. He set up advisory groups to help him resolve these problems; however, he made it known that he was running the colony-in words and deeds. Many changes were made. Among these were the construction of the first hospital and the first lottery. It was only in 1653 that New Amsterdam had most of the privileges of those living in the homeland. Bowling (Bowling Green) was introduced; the present site of the UN was a tobacco plantation; and the Dutch maidens washed their linens in a stream (now Maiden Lane) near Wall Street.
During this period, British ships seized Dutch Merchant ships. Events blossomed into war in 1652 between England and Holland. The English colonies in New England were ready to war against New Netherland; the English insisted that the Dutch were conspiring with the Indians to takeover New England territory. Stuyvesant had built a fortified wall (now Wall Street) , about one-half mile long, from the East to the Hudson rivers. War was averted and peace between England and Holland reigned.
Religious freedom did not exist in New Netherland. The Quakers who had fled Boston seeking religious freedom were harshly treated; they met secretly in Flushing (close to the Shea Stadium) to persue their religious beliefs. The 3 day Peach war between the Dutch and Indians was the result of an Indian woman being shot for stealing peaches.
It appeared that both the English and Dutch were vying for all the land and trading goods in the New World. Toward this end, the English King, Charles II, presented in 1664 a large land gift which include New Netherland, to his brother, the Duke of York, James Stuart. The ships of the Duke sailed to Coney Island. The leader of this expedition, Colonel Nicolls, asked for the surrender of New Amsterdam. Peter Stuyvesant was furious and was ready to fight to the last man. However, his advisors convinced him that they did not stand a chance, and there would be much hardship. He gave in and had the white flag raised. The city of New Amsterdam, forty years old, became New York in name of the English Duke of York.
5. Not satisfied with this victory, the English declared war on Holland; trade and fishing being the motivators. The year 1667 brought peace between the English and Dutch. New York ,s population was increasing; some New Englanders arrived to purchase real estate. Agriculture, fishing, tobacco became a flourishing business. Boat activity on the Hudson river increased between New York and New Jersey.
Religious toleration was more apparent under the English occupation. A horseback postal service was initiated between New York and Boston in 1673. Peter Stuyvesant passed away at his retirement home in New York. A pact between the Kings of England and France (cousins) set out to obliterate the successful Dutch trade routes. The Dutch government immediately sent ships with troops to New York and successfully regained control of the city in 1673. New York was renamed New Orange. Back in
Holland, the Dutch were protecting their country against French invaders. The Dutch government realized that they could not war successfully against two large empires, England and France, and reluctantly returned New Orange to the English. This hand-over occurred in the winter of 1674; New Orange survived a little over one year. England appointed Major Edmund Andros as governor of New York City.
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