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In 1524, Giovanni da Verrazano, an Italian exploring for France, sailed into the New York Harbor. He was the first European to enter the harbor. Although Verrazano explored the area, no Europeans decided to settle or further explore the area until much later (Microsoft, New York).
The Dutch East India Company hired Henry Hudson, an Englishman, to explore northern America in search for a Northwest Passage to Asia. On September 3, 1609 he and his crew sailed into the New York Harbor on the Half Moon. After further exploration he sailed as far as Albany on the Hudson River, which naturally was named after him (Microsoft, New York).
The Dutch East India Company established the first permanent settlement in what is now New York City in 1624. A group of French-speaking Walloons came from Europe in the New Netherland. Almost all of the 110 men, women, and children continued on to Fort Orange, but about eight people stayed on Manhattan Island (Purvis, ?).
Soon, in 1625, the small Island community was backed up by more families, and was named community New Amsterdam. The same year the Dutch West India Company made New Amsterdam its North American trade headquarters (Purvis, ?).
For a while the colonists suffered good and bad times. Problems with the Indians and to many traders compared to the amount of people who really wanted to settle the colony and build farms. They lived in rude dugouts and bark huts clustered around a trading fort. But gradually things got better. The emphasis changed from completely trading to only partial. They began growing crops and wooden houses were replacing the huts. They started acting like New Amsterdam was their home (Rich, 49).
After several years the Dutch began really feeling like this was their home. This is when their life started getting a lot better. They got permanent houses like they had had in Holland. The houses were either built from red or yellow brick or wood with brick ends. The houses were tall and narrow with the side walls rising higher than the front one, and going down in steps, creating a sloping roof of thatch. Some houses were created with fancy brick patterns, and the owners’ name imprinted in the bricks. Soon red tiles replaced the thatch because the thatch caught fire too easily (Rich, 51).
The Dutch houses also had many other things different about them. The houses had doors with a lower and higher half of the door that opened separately. This allowed airflow without the door being opened. Another difference about Dutch houses is that they had steops. A steop is a porch without a hangover. These housing styles are still seen in some places today (Rich, 51-52.
New Netherlands first official was Peter Minuit. He arrived on May 4, 1626 and served as director general. Minuit set up Fort Amsterdam to protect the citizens from Indians, and the British. He later purchased Manhattan Island from the Canarsee Indians in 1626, for a mere 60 guilders ($24). Because of differences with the Dutch India Company, he was recalled to Europe in 1631. Later in 1637, he went back to America and built Fort Christina in what is now Wilmington, Delaware. A few months later he died at sea in a hurricane (Microsoft, Minuit).
The French initially were on good relationship with the Indians, but when settlers started taking more and more of Manhattan Island things changed. Although at first disputes were minor, Dutch cattle wandering onto Indian cornfields, an Indian dog attacking Dutch livestock, things really got bad when the Dutch tried taxing the Indians to help pay for building Fort Amsterdam. The Indians refused to pay (Americana, 237).
William Kieft, the third governor of New Amsterdam, responded by attacking an Indian village, killing more than 100 men, women, and children. The Indians counterattacked and the war lasted for two years before the Indians were forced to peace. He is also known for buying large amounts of land, for New Amsterdam (Americana, 237).
One person who was most responsible for making New York prosper was Peter Stuyvesant. Serving as director general after William Kieft, he improved the city. Stuyvesant straightened the streets, fixed fences and built a canal through the town. Under Stuyvesant, New Amsterdam began, for the first time, to have religious tolerance (Americana, 237).
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American folklore, Bayard family, Peter Stuyvesant, New Amsterdam, New Netherland, Fort Amsterdam, Peter Minuit, Stuyvesant, Manhattan, Fort Orange, Director of New Netherland, Leislers Rebellion
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