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History of NYC - 1600s

In the 1620’s, the Dutch settled what would be known as New Amsterdam – a modern european village in a pristine New World. For four decades it endured, until the first Anglo-Dutch war which led to the Netherlands surrendering the colony to Great Britain, eventually leading to the creation of New York in its place.

1626: Purchase of the Island of Manahatta

A letter written by merchant Peter Schaghen to directors of the Dutch East India Company stated that Manhattan was purchased for 60 guilders worth of trade.

Artist Credit: Alfred Fredericks. Reprinted with permission.

1630: Coat of Arms of New Netherland

Much of the symbolism of New York's Official seal is derived from its Dutch roots in the form of New Amsterdam's Official Coat of Arms.

Artist Credit: Unknown. Reprinted with permission.

1650: Fort Amsterdam

Fort Amsterdam circa 1650. Taken from "De Nieuwe en Onbekende Weireld," by Arnoldus Monatanus, Amsterdam

Artist Credit: Arnoldus Monatanus. Reprinted with permission.

1660: Residence of Jacob Leisler

Illustration of the home of German-born colonist and entrepreneur Jacob Leisler located on "the Strand", or what we know today as Whitehall Street.

Artist Credit: NYPL Wallach Division. Reprinted with permission.

1660: Map of New Amsterdam, Manhattan Island

An illustrated map displaying early settlements and boundaries of New Amsterdam - a fledgling town occupied by an increasing amount of Dutch settlers.

Artist Credit: Alfred Fredericks. Reprinted with permission.

1664: Earliest View of New Amsterdam

Earliest known image of New Amsterdam from a copperplate made by Augustyn Heermanns.

Artist Credit: Augustyn Heermanns. Reprinted with permission.

1643: Massacre of Hoboken Natives

Illustration showing Dutch Colonists attacking indigenous camps on February 25, 1643, killing 120 people, including women and children.

Artist Credit: Unknown. Reprinted with permission.

1644: A Treaty With Native Americans

Illustration of Dutch settlers striking up a peace treaty with indigenous communities in order to reduce violence and open up trade.

Artist Credit: Unknown. Reprinted with permission.

1644: Posting The Notice of Wall Street

Illustration of a man posting a notice regarding the building of Wall Street on March 31, 1644, rallying local colonists to join together to build a wall to fend off attacks by natives.

Artist Credit: Unknown. Reprinted with permission.

1653: Wall Street Palisade

A wall constructed along the city's northernmost boundary, erected back in 1653 between the Hudson and East River to protect the town from marauding tribes.

Artist Credit: Augustine E Costello. Reprinted with permission.

1647: Arrival of Peter Stuyvesant in New Amsterdam

Illustration of Peter Stuyvesant reaching New Amsterdam after the failure of his predecessor Willem Kieft to build a lasting peace with native communities.

Artist Credit: Howard Pyle. Reprinted with permission.

1659: Broad Street Canal

Illustration depicting views of the "Graft", or canal in Broad Street, and the Fish Bridge which once spanned it.

Artist Credit: Unknown. Reprinted with permission.

1664: Dutch Surrender of New Amsterdam

On August 27, 1664, four English frigates sailed into New Amsterdam's harbor and demanded its surrender, eventually convincing Peter Stuyvesant to cede the territory.

Artist Credit: Unknown. Reprinted with permission.

1664: Peter Stuyvesant vs the British

Print shows Peter Stuyvesant with local settlers pleading with him not to open fire on the British who have arrived in warships to claim New Amsterdam for England.

Artist Credit: Unknown. Reprinted with permission.

1676: New York City Hall and The Great Dock

Illustration of the old Great Dock near City Hall, one of the primary ports welcoming travelers and merchants to the New York Harbor.

Artist Credit: Unknown. Reprinted with permission.

Next Chapter: History of NYC - 1700s

During the 18th Century, New York City was still largely rural, but rapidly expanding as more settlers arrived from Europe. The city would also play instrumental roles in attain... Continue Reading

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History of NYC - 10,000+ Years Ago

Learn all about NYC’s fascinating past by exploring the natural forces that shaped the environment and landscape, along with the people who would transform the “Island of Many Hills” into the greatest and most influential city in the world.


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