New Amsterdam Becomes New York

The British seize Manhattan from the Dutch—and alter the trajectory of North American history

On September 5, 1664, two men faced one another across a small stretch of water. Onshore, just outside the fort at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, stood Peter Stuyvesant, director-general of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, his 52-year-old frame balanced on the wooden stump where he had lost a leg in battle a quarter century earlier. Approaching him aboard a small rowboat flying a flag of truce was John Winthrop, governor of the Connecticut colony, until very recently a man Stuyvesant had called his friend. Read more »

The $24 Swindle

The Indians who sold Manhattan were bilked, all right, but they didn’t mind—the land wasn’t theirs anyway

By now it is probably too late to do anything about it, but the unsettling fact remains that the so-called sale of Manhattan Island to the Dutch in 1626 was a totally illegal deal; a group of Brooklyn Indians perpetrated the swindle, and they had no more right to sell Manhattan Island than the present mayor of White Plains would have to declare war on France.Read more »