Peter Minuit

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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

Peter Minuit, Pieter Minuit, Pierre Minuit or Peter Minnewit (1580 – August 5, 1638) was a Walloon from Wesel, in present-day North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, then part of the Duchy of Clèves. He was the Director-General of the Dutch colony of New Netherland from 1626 until 1633, and he founded the Swedish colony of New Sweden in 1638. According to tradition, Minuit purchased the island of Manhattan from Native Americans on May 24, 1626 for goods to the value of 60 Dutch guilders, which has erroneously been said to be the equivalent of $24 USD. In reality, it was the equivalent of 37.98 USD.


Early life and education

Peter Minuit was born in 1580 in Wesel. This was during a period of religious tensions between Protestants and Catholics polities following the Protestant Reformation that culminated in the Thirty Years' War. Minuit's Walloon family, originally from the French-speaking city of Tournai in modern day Belgium, was among those Protestants who migrated away from suppression under the Roman Catholic government of the Spanish Netherlands. In 1580, Minuit's family took refuge in the city of Wesel, which had become a haven for Protestants as early as 1540.

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