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History101.NYC is an ad-free learning resource available to the public at no charge. The project is dedicated to exploring New York’s fascinating past. We restore vintage photographs and prints that document the City's history and heritage. We also research the natural forces that shaped the environment, along with the people who formed the landscape and culture.

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 Mannahatta

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. Wikimedia Commons

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. New York Public Library

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. Wikimedia Commons

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. New York Public Library

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. The National Archives

1624: The Commercial Beginning of New York

Illustration of merchants trading and felling trees along the New York Harbor.

Artist Credit: Carl Emil Doepler. Reprinted with permission. New York Public Library

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. New York Public Library

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. New York Public Library

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. New York Public Library

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. New York Public Library

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. New York Public Library

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. New York Public Library

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. Library of Congress

1664: Peter Stuyvesant Surrenders New Amsterdam

Printed illustration shows Dutch soldiers, lead by Director General Peter Stuyvesant, leaving New Amsterdam after ceding it to the English.

Artist Credit: Charles Harris. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

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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