Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Peter Minuit Buys Manhattan
Minuit had been sent by the Dutch West Indian Company to take charge of the scattered Dutch settlements in present-day New Jersey and New York. Minuit decided to move most of the settlers to the southern tip of Manhattan. After buying the island, he built a crude fort and about 30 houses there. Minuit returned to Europe after five years, but the settlement continued to grow. Known as New Amsterdam, it became a busy port and the center of a thriving colony. It was renamed New York by the British, who seized it in 1664.
As for Peter Minuit, he returned to the New World in 1638, in the service of Sweden, and made another smart purchase. He bought land along the Delaware River from Native Americans. Today that land is the site of Wilmington, Delaware.
Peter Minuit was killed in a hurricane in 1638, while on a trading expedition to the West Indies.