Did you know that New York was once called New Amsterdam?
Today, it’s difficult to imagine that New York could ever have had another name, but it was not so long ago that the city was renamed. New York was once called New Amsterdam and it was the capital of New Netherland.
New York’s name history can be traced to a time during the 17th century when Britain, France and Netherlands all struggled to expand their territories and establish more colonies.
Though Britain and France were rivals, they could still co-operate and form an alliance against their common enemy – the Netherlands, a small country that for 80 years fought for independence and now started to conquer the world.
The Netherlands became more and more powerful. One of the goals was to set up colonies in North America.
The first recorded exploration by the Dutch of the area around what is now called New York Bay was in 1609 with the voyage of the ship Halve Maen.
In 1626, Dutch governor Peter Minuit formally purchased Manhattan from the local Indian tribe. According to a legend, the Manhattans–Indians of Algonquian linguistic stock agreed to give up the island in exchange for trinkets valued at only $24.
At the southern tip of Manhattan Island, a Dutch settlement was established. It was considered a good strategic location. A fort was built and the city served as the seat of the colonial government in New Netherland.
It did not take long before a conflict broke out between the Dutch settlements and the Indians who were ignorant of European customs of property and contracts. The Dutch and Indian conflict resulted in the death of more than 1,000 Indians and settlers.
In 1664, New Amsterdam passed to English control, and English and Dutch settlers lived together peacefully.
The English had renamed the Colony the Province of New York, after the king’s brother James, Duke of York and on June 12, 1665 appointed Thomas Willett the first of the Mayors of New York Town. The city grew northward, and remained the largest and most important city in the Province of New York and became the third largest in the British Empire after London and Philadelphia.
Some years later, in 1673, the Dutch managed to regain control of their settlement, but not for long. The following year, they lost the city again and New York was returned to the Englishmen.
After the American Revolution, the Treaty Of Paris was ratified and New York became the first capital of the United States.
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