New Amsterdam

New Amsterdam

By 1655, the population of New Netherland had grown to 2,000 people, with 1,500 living in New Amsterdam. By 1664, the population had exploded to almost 9,000 people in New Netherland, 2,500 of whom lived in New Amsterdam, 1,000 lived near Fort Orange, and the remainder in other towns and villages. [1] [2]

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Verhulst, with his council, was responsible for the selection of Manhattan as a permanent place of settlement and for situating Fort Amsterdam. He was replaced as the company director-general of New Amsterdam by Peter Minuit in 1626. According to the writer Nathaniel Benchley, to legally safeguard the settlers' investments, possessions and farms on Manhattan island, Minuit negotiated the "purchase" of Manhattan from a band of Canarse from Brooklyn who occupied the bottom quarter of Manhattan, known then as the Manhattoes for 60 guilders' worth of trade goods. Minuit conducted the transaction with the Canarse chief Seyseys, who was only too happy to accept valuable merchandise in exchange for an island that was actually mostly controlled by the Weckquaesgeeks. The deed itself has not survived, so the specific details are unknown. A textual reference to the deed became the foundation for the legend that Minuit had purchased Manhattan from the Native Americans for twenty-four dollars' worth of trinkets and beads, the guilder rate at the time being about two and a half to a Spanish dollar. The price of 60 Dutch guilders in 1626 amounts to around $1,100 in 2012 dollars. Further complicating the calculation is that the value of goods in the area would have been different than the value of those same goods in the developed market of the Netherlands.

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