New Amsterdam

See also: New Amsterdam, Indiana

New Amsterdam (Dutch: Nieuw Amsterdam) was the name of a Dutch colony at the location of current Manhattan, forming part of the New Netherlands. New Amsterdam was part of Dutch colonization of the Americas.

When the Dutch arrived in the area it was inhabited by various groups of native Americans speaking Algonquian languages. A Dutch colony on Manhattan was established in 1624 by the Dutch West India Company, possibly when its trading post at Albany was experiencing difficulties. In 1625 or 1626 Peter Minuit, a Walloon, arrived in the colony and as governor was credited with the purchase of the island from the natives in 1626—maybe from a Metoac tribe known as the Canarsees —in exchange for trade goods valued at 60 guilders. This figure is from a letter by Peter Schagen to the board of the Dutch West India Company: a traditional conversion to $24US using 19th century exchange rates is not particularly meaningful. The trade goods are sometimes identified as beads and trinkets, but that may also have been an embellishment by 19th century writers.

New Amsterdam was incorporated on February 2, 1653.

In a war between England and the United Netherlands, the New Netherlands were seized by the English, with director general Peter Stuyvesant surrendering New Amsterdam on September 24, 1664. The colony was subsequently renamed New York, after the duke of York—brother of the English king Charles II—who had been granted the lands.

In 1667, the Dutch withdrew their claims on the colony in the Treaty of Breda, as they were granted the rights to Suriname. However, in a subsequent war between the English and the Dutch, the Dutch recaptured the colony briefly in 1673 before handing it over for good after the signing of the Treaty of Westminster on February 19, 1674.

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