Thursday, October 16, 2014

1626 - Pieter Minuit buys Manhattan

Purchase of Manhattan Island
March 1626 - William Bradford is reelected governor of the Plymouth colony for the 5th time.

April 19, 1626 -  Governor of Virginia Sir George Yardley receives new instructions from England.
He has to send without delay a report on the colony with the census of plantations and settlers as well as an inventory of the properties that held the Virginia Company in 1623 and of what can be reserved for public use.

The newcomers should be welcomed and enjoy certain privileges. 
The people landing in the colony should be provided with a special authorization to prevent the entry of foreign enemies.
Drunkenness should be deleted. 
The settlers should be encouraged to plant corn rather than tobacco.
The planters are prohibited from receiving Indians home without special permission.

Spring, 1626 - Daniel van Crieckenbeeck, who commands Fort Orange on the banks of the Hudson Rivers is involved in the war between Mohawks and Mahicans. He joins a party of Mahican warriors with six of his men and dies in an ambush set by the Mohawks

These resented the Dutch who were supposed to remain neutral in this war for betraying them. Crieckenbeck's carelessness fortunately corresponded to the return of Pieter Minuit in the colony. He sent Peter Barentsz, a merchant who was familiar with the Indian language, to explain them that the commander of the fort had acted on his own and that such an incident would not repeat.
Minuit knew the country well and was aware that taking sides in wars between tribes could put in danger the small Dutch colony. 
The Mohawks were part of the six major Iroquois nations. They derived their name from the Mohawk River crossing their territory but they were called Kanienkehaka in Algonquian language which meant "Man-Eater"; the French meanwhile called them Agniers and the Dutch Maquas
The Mahicans lived in the upper Hudson valley. Their name meant "wolf" in Algonquian but the Dutch called them Indians of the River. They were about 16 000 in the early 17th century when the Europeans landed but this number had dropped to 1000 in 1672.

Spring, 1626 - Mount Wollaston - accused by Thomas Morton to have sold as slaves young people of their group, Henry Wollaston flees to Virginia with some of his supporters. Morton takes over the colony government that he renames "Merry Mount".

Thomas Morton ensued on an utopian experience declaring  all the settlers to be free men eager to integrate Algonquian culture. He aimed at civilizing the local Native American tribes by converting them to a form of liberal Christianity and supplying them free salt for preserving food and accordingly give up hunting in favour of a sedentary life. He began to write a diary the " Memories of New Canaan " in which he denounced the methods of the Puritans, according to him reproachable.
On the other hand, he considered himself as a " loyal subject " to the British Royalty.

Pieter Minuit
May 4, 1626 - Pieter Minuit, newly appointed Director General of New Netherland arrives at Fort Amsterdam.
He decides to dismantle Fort Wilhelmus, built two years earlier on an island of the Delaware, and to repatriate the families who settled there but chooses, on the other hand, to maintain a garrison in Fort Nassau located 35 miles upstream.

May 24, 1626 - Pieter Minuit buys for $24 worth of trade goods the island of Manhattan to the Wappinger tribe (or Canarsee, a sub-tribe linked to the Lenape) even though the northern part belongs to the Reckgawawanc.
New African slaves from Angola are landed in Fort Amsterdam.

Pieter Minuit (Wesel, Duchy of Kleve, 1580 - 1638) - 
Born in Tournai, his parents had fled to Rhineland to escape the Spanish religious persecutions which struck down the Protestants. 
He became famous by buying the island of Manhattan to the Indians in exchange for beads and other trinkets for 60-guilder equivalent (24$). As Director General of the colony of New Netherland, he was anxious to defend the interests of the settlers as the Indians' ones, under the principle that the harmonious integration of both cultures was better than rejection of the "less" civilized, bringing most often conflicts.

The Wappingers occupied in the early 17th century the eastern bank of the Hudson River between Dutchess County and Manhattan until the present-day Connecticut limit. They kept close relations with Lenape and Mahicans, two Algonquian speaking tribes.
According to the tradition, the alleged purchase price of Manhattan would have amounted to $24 but it has never been confirmed.

July 27, 1626 - Sailing from Holland, the Arms of Amsterdam (Wapen van Amtserdam), captained by Adriaen Joris Thienpont, arrives in New Amsterdam (Manhattan). Among the passengers can be found Isaack de Rasieres, the new secretary of the colonial government.

September 23, 1626 - the Arms of Amsterdam leaves Manahattan with a 7200 beaver pelts -cargo, as well as hundreds of wildcat, otter and mink skins.... It arrives in Amsterdam on November 4.

Autumn, 1626 - Roger Conant founds, with John Woodbury and Peter Palfry, a settlement at Naumkeag which will soon take the name of Salem.

Roger Conant
Roger Conant (East Budleigh, Devonshire April 9 1592- Salem 1679)
He first worked as apprentice in the London saltings. He immigrated to Plymouth in 1623 with his wife Sarah and his son Caleb, but soon found disagreed with the strictness of the puritan rules imposed in the colony. He left next year to settle at Nantasket where he met Thomas Morton and minister John Lyford.
He got noticed by John White, representative of the Dorchester Company who asked him to head his business in Cape Anne, what Conant agreed in autumn, 1625. Fishing and corn planting had not, so far, given the expected results and the idea to vacate the premises had been considered especially as the Dorchester Company was on the verge of bankruptcy. Conant himself found that Cape Anne (Gloucester) was mismatched and chose to transfer to Salem, located 16 miles to the south, with 40 settlers who lived there. He became the first governor of the new colony and John Lyford was appointed as the priest of the Anglican Church.

October 1626 - Governor Francis Wyatt and the Virginia Council order that all the dwellings would have to be paled before May 1, 1627.

As it has been suggested when met the House of Burgesses, plans were also made for running pale in the forest in order to ensure a better defense against the Indians.

November, 1626 - the Sparrowhawk, a small ship from England sailing to Virginia, wrecks on the coast of Cape Cod. All safe and sound, its 25 passengers are taken in by the people of Plymouth.

November 15, 1626 - The Pilgrim Fathers of Plymouth buy back their shares to the investors of London.

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