New Amsterdam c. 1660

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Map Code: Ax00660

The Dutch first arrived in the territory they would christen New Netherland in 1609. Over the next few years they surveyed and laid claim to a broad swathe of the coastline, its primary attraction initially being to source beaver fur. The first settlements were established on the Delaware and Hudson Rivers, but in 1625, the need for effective defence against colonial rivals led to the founding of Fort Amsterdam on Manhattan Island by the newly formed Dutch West Indies Company. By 1653 a substantial settlement had developed, with a main thoroughfare, De Heere Straet, running north from the fort, and a fortified wall and ditch protecting its land border from incursion. This was necessary because a massive Indian attack in 1655 left 100 settlers dead and 150 captive, their farms ravaged. In 1664, New Amsterdam would be ceded to England prior to the Anglo-Dutch war, and renamed New York.

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