Monday, October 6, 2008

A Little Taste Of History (41)

Topic: Happenings During the 1600s in NYC #3

The first trading ships between Manhattan, or New Amsterdam, and Holland were the "Little Fox'' and the "Little Crane," which were brought here in 1611 upon a speculating trading voyage, and spent a, considerable time in bartering the trinkets and other trifies, so much coveted by the Indians for beaver and peltry, of which the country afforded a bountiful supply at the time. The adventure was a great success for the promoters, and we .find the "Little Fox" making several voyages to the river at later dates. This vessel was the first one built at New Amsterdam, was 44 1-2 feet long, 16 1-2 feet wide and 16 tons burden and named "Onrest." She was used in exploring the coast for a distance to the north of Long Island Sound, and it was in this vessel that Capt. Block was the first, it is thought, of any Europeans, to have visited Block Island, that lies at the entrance of Long Island Sound.

Adriaan Block who sailed in "The Tiger." It is likely that he was the first man who intended to make the Hudson River the headquarters for the trade, for he had been guided in his sailing by Hudson's directions. Block, then, may well have been the first to realize the importance of the place, the first to conceive the idea of New York. We know that he was the first ship-builder on the river. Kindly assisted by the Indians, he built a small bark to supplant his own ship which had caught fire, and used this bark in exploring the coast near the New York Harbor. In 1614 other Dutch skippers found him and rescued him, and from this moment on a regular trade in the Hudson Valley began. Small posts sprang up along the river, at Fort Nassau, and at Manhattan, and another was set up on the South River.

In 1623 the first colonists came to the new territory. The greater part of these settlers were Walloons, some of whom, under George Jansen de Rapalje, settled on the shores of Long Island at Waalbogt (Walloon's bay), now called Wallabout. The most powerful and extensive tribe of Indians inhabiting western Long Island at this time were the Canarsees. They were the first inhabitants of the New World to welcome Hendrik Hudson.

In 1625, three ships and a yacht, bringing a number of families, with their furniture, farming implements, and a hundred and three head of cattle, arrived at manhattan. Fearing lest the cattle might stray away into the forests, the settlers landed them on Nutten's, now Governor's Island, until further provision could be made for them; but finding the island destitute of water, they were compelled at once to carry them in boats to Manhattan. Two more vessels soon arrived, and the colony now numbered some two hundred persons.

Under Minuet in 1626, the Provincial Government was organized. It was liberal and republican. No one was ostracized in consequence of his religious belief. Hither came the persecuted of all crimes. The Quakers fled from Massachusetts and Puritan bigotry to find a happy home among the Dutch. The liberal spirit manifested and the wise rules and regulations adopted by the early settlers for the government of the New Netherlands were the germ from which the immortal Jefferson caught his idea and received the inspiration to draw up and present to a waiting people the grandest document ever penned y human hand, the glorious Declaration of Independence.


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