New Amsterdam

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Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions

Cornelius Jacobsen May (1620-25)
Willem Verhulst (1625-26)
Peter Minuit (1626-32)
Sebastiaen Jansen Krol(1632-33)
Wouter van Twiller (1633-38)
Willem Kieft (1638-47)
Peter Stuyvesant (1647-64)

New Netherlander
Twelve Men
Eight Men

New Amsterdam (Dutch: Nieuw-Amsterdam) was a 17th-century Dutch colonial settlement that served as the capital of New Netherland. It later became New York City.

The town, outside of Fort Amsterdam on Manhattan Island in the New Netherland territory (1614–1674), was situated between 38 and 42 degrees latitude and was as a provincial extension of the Dutch Republic as of 1624. Provincial possession of the territory had been accomplished with the first settlement, established on Noten Eylandt (which the British would later rename Governors Island) in 1624. A year later in 1625, construction of a citadel comprising Fort Amsterdam was commenced on the southern tip of nearby Manhattan Island and the first settlers were moved there from Governors Island.[1]

By 1609, the harbor and the river had been discovered, explored and charted by an expedition of the Dutch East India Company captained by Henry Hudson when he first sailed by what is now Manhattan.[2] From 1611 through 1614, the territory was surveyed and charted by private commercial companies on behalf of the States General of the Dutch Republic and operated commercially before it became a provincial entity in 1624.

The town was founded in 1625 by Willem Verhulst who, together with his council, selected Manhattan Island as the optimal place for permanent settlement by the Dutch West India Company. That year, military engineer and surveyor Krijn Frederiksz laid out a citadel with Fort Amsterdam as its centerpiece. To secure the settlers' property and its surroundings according to Dutch law, Peter Minuit created a deed with the Manhattan Indians in 1626 which signified legal possession of Manhattan. He was appointed New Netherland's third director by the local council after Willem Verhulst returned home in November 1626.

The city, situated on the strategic, fortifiable southern tip of the island of Manhattan was to maintain New Netherland's provincial integrity by defending river access to the company's fur trade operations in the North River, later named Hudson River. Furthermore, it was entrusted to safeguard the West India Company's exclusive access to New Netherland's other two estuaries; the Delaware River and the Connecticut River. Fort Amsterdam was designated the capital of the province in 1625 and developed into the largest Dutch colonial settlement of the New Netherland province, now the New York Tri-State Region, and remained a Dutch possession until September 1664, when it fell provisionally and temporarily into the hands of the English.

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