History : Dec 2015-Jan 2016
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC HISTORY 17 seeing it as a source of tribal shame. However, the value of such objects was relative. For the Dutch, they may have been worth barely a few dozen guilders, but for the Indians, they were exotic items, valuable either in daily life or for trading with other tribes. What’s more, within the native Indian world- view this was not a definitive transfer of ownership, but rather a kind of usufruct or temporary cession of the territory. To indigenous peoples land and water could not be privately owned in the way they were in Europe. At first the Dutch did not understand this and later, when they did, they decided it was in their best interests to ignore it. The First New Yorkers And so it was that a permanent settle- ment called New Amsterdam took root on the southern tip of Manhattan and became the capital of the Dutch West India Company’s territories. Soon there were livestock, vegetable gardens, a church, and two windmills, as well as at least 30 wooden houses along the shore. It is estimated that there were around 300 original settlers, many of them young people from poor families recruited by the company in Amster- dam. From the start great care was tak- en to ensure the town’s safety. Minuit built Fort Amsterdam on the southeast- ern end of the island, and a later gover- nor erected a defensive rampart on the northeastern landward side—the Waal from which Wall Street takes its name. Encounters with the Indians were frequent but not always peaceful. The company considered themselves owners of the land and deemed the natives “savages” and a problem “like the wolves and the snakes.” Conflicts arose when Indian dogs attacked Dutch livestock or the cattle trampled Indian crops. Violence often followed when “a savage offended the Dutch,” who would take revenge by killing innocent Indians. The colonists fought with the Wappinger from 1643 to 1645, with the Susquehanna in 1655, and with the Del- aware Esopus two years later. Howev- er, New Amsterdam’s most menacing enemy was not the natives but the En- glish. Throughout the 17th century the two seafaring nations waged a series of wars to secure naval domination and trade routes. These Anglo-Dutch wars carried far beyond the European theater to the Indies in the east and Americas in the west. In 1664 the Dutch governor of New Amsterdam, Peter Stuyvesant, handed the city over to an English na- val squadron sent by King Charles II’s brother, the Duke of York. It was in his honor that the city was given its new name—New York. — Carlo A. Caranci BRIDGEMAN/ACI Fort Amsterdam Mills Heere Gracht (Canal Street) Heere Straat (Broadway) Waal Straat (Wall Street) Before New York THIS MAP was drawn up in 1660, a few years before the English takeover, and shows New Amsterdam as a typically Dutch town, with canals, windmills, farm plots, and rows of houses. Governors Island New Amsterdam Brooklyn Harlem ENLARGED AREA PLACE-NAMES in New York still maintain traces of their Dutch origins. Brooklyn was called Breuckelen in the 17th century, named after a city near Utrecht. Harlem, in northern Manhattan, takes its name from Haarlem in northern Holland.