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Lenape and New Netherland: prehistory - 1664
Prehistory in the area began with the geological formation of the peculiar territory of what is today New York City. The area was long inhabited by the Lenape; Lenape in canoes met Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first European explorer to enter New York Harbour, in 1524. Giovanni da Verrazzano named this place New Angoulême in the honour of the French king Francis I. Although Verrazano sailed into New York Harbour, he is not thought to have travelled further than the present site of the bridge that bears his name, and instead sailed back into the Atlantic. It was not until the voyage of Henry Hudson, an Englishman who worked for the Dutch East India Company, that the area was mapped.
He discovered Manhattan Island on September 11, 1609, and continued up the river that bears his name, the Hudson River, until he arrived at the site where New York State's capital city, Albany, now stands.
European settlement began with the founding of a Dutch fur trading settlement in Lower Manhattan in 1613 later called New Amsterdam (Nieuw Amsterdam) in the southern tip of Manhattan in 1624. Later in 1626, Peter Minuit established a long tradition of shrewd real estate investing when he purchased Manhattan Island and Staten Island from native people in exchange for trade goods. (Legend, now long disproved, has it that the island was purchased for $24 worth of glass beads.) Minuit's settlement was also a haven for Huguenots seeking religious liberty.
Willem Kieft became director general in 1638, but five years later was embroiled in Kieft's War against the Native Americans. The Pavonia Massacre, across the Hudson River in present day Jersey City resulted in the death of eighty natives in February 1643. Following the massacre, eleven Algonquin tribes joined forces and nearly defeated the Dutch. Holland sent additional forces to the aid of Kieft, which took part the overwhelming defeat of the Native Americans, leading to a peace treaty on August 29, 1645 to end the war.
On May 27, 1647, Peter Stuyvesant was inaugurated as director general upon his arrival, and ruled as a member of the Dutch Reformed Church. He curtailed the city's religious freedoms and closed all of the city's taverns. The colony was granted self-government in 1652 and New Amsterdam was formally incorporated as a city February 2, 1653. In 1664, the British conquered the area and renamed it "New York" after the English Duke of York and Albany. The Dutch briefly regained it in 1673, renaming the city "New Orange", before permanently ceding the colony of New Netherland to the British for what is now Surinam in November 1674.
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