The Dutch Arrive

Hired by the Dutch to find the Northwest Passage to Asia, English explorer Henry Hudson sailed into the wonderfully sheltered bay at Manhattan Island, one of the greatest natural harbors in the world, in September 1609. Spurred by Hudson's tales of a fur-trading paradise, the Dutch West India Company colonized this new region in 1624, calling it New Netherlands. The following year, they established a Dutch trading post, named New Amsterdam, on Manhattan's southern tip. Soon, the Dutch began other settlements in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, building a fortification to protect the colony from potential English or Native American invasions. This wall encompassed the area we now know as Wall Street.

How did Coney Island get its name?

The Dutch settled Manhattan in 1624 and inhabited Coney Island soon afterward. Since the Dutch word for rabbit was konijn and the barrier beach island had a large population of wild rabbits, this may have led to the name.

In 1664, Peter Stuyvesant, then the governor, had to deal with a struggling colony where the lure of trading in spices or slavery was more lucrative for many Dutch. Then the British invaded. At first, Stuyvesant vowed to fight them, but when the leading merchants petitioned him to give up and not ruin their city, he relented. The new English governor offered free passage back to Holland for those who didn't wish to stay, but reportedly no one left. Two days later, on August 29, 1664, New Amsterdam was renamed New York after the Duke of York, as a birthday present from his brother King Charles.

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