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Peter Minuit buys Manhattan

In the 1620s settlers from Holland founded a colony they called New Netherlandas along the banks of the Hudson River. There was placed the new town called New Amsterdam, then called New York. At the mouth of the Hudson lies Manhattan Island, where live the Amerindian people of the Shinnecock. They used the island for hunting and fishing.

Peter Minuit was the first Dutch governor of the New Netherlands and in 1626 he «bought» Manhattan from the Shinnecock. He paid them about $24, worth of cloth, beads and other little things. Like all the Amerindians, the Sinnecock believed that land belonged to all men. So, they thought that what they were selling to the Dutch was the right to share Manhattan as a place of hunting and fishing. But the Dutch believed that they had bought the right to use the land they alone.

(Taken from Bryn O’Callaghan, An Illustrated History of the USA, Essex, Longman, 1990, p. 19.)

Was the sale a fraud or was it legal? What do you think?

1 Comentario

  1. It was a fraud, with no doubt!

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