Three Worlds Meet: Native Americans, Europeans (Dutch & English) & African Slaves

Essential Question: How did the diverse cultures (Dutch, English, Native American and Slave) interact and affect each other in New York in the 1600's?

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Learning from Original Source Documents

Source: Cultures, Commerce & Community - A Teacher's Resource Guide for the Study of the 17th Century City of New Amsterdam, The New-York Historical Society, 2002

The West India Company and Early Contact

Objective #1

Students will be able to identify the natural boundaries of the New Netherland colony by examining historical maps.

1.1 Map of New Netherlands, Engraving by Nicholas Visscher, 1651 - 1655

Collection of The New-York Historical Society (44436)

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Click on the image to access the website and zoom in closer.

Click on the following document for student assignment.

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Image Source: Gotham: A History of New York City to 1895, Edwin G. Burrows & Mike Wallace, Oxford University Press, 1999, p7

Task: Using the map above, list the names of the Lenape tribes who lived in this area when Henry Hudson arrived in 1609.

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Task: Using the graphic organizer above, design Flippity quiz questions that begin "In what season did the Lenape people ...(do a specific task)?

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Using the graph above, discuss with your partner possible reasons for the death of the Lenni Lenape people.


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New Amsterdam, 1638 - Original Land Grants

List of Original Land Grantees

Objective #2:

Students will be able to describe the instructions by the West India Company for the conduct of settlers and company officials in dealing with native groups.

1.2 Further Instructions to Verhulst From the West India Company, 1624

A.J. F van Lear, ed. and trans. Documents Relating to New Netherland 1624-1629

San Marino, CA: The Henry Huntington Library and Art Gallery, 1924

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Lesson Two: The $24 Myth

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Peter Minuit Buying Manhattan Island from the Native Americans. Legend says he paid $26.00, or a penny per acre for the entire island. What does the historical evidence say?


Students will be able to describe and evaluate the historic evidence behind the legendary barter of Manhattan Island for $24 by examining a letter and a painting.


The myth suggests that Peter Minuit purchased the Island of Manhattan from the Lenape people for $24 worth of "beads and trinkets" in 1626.

2.1 Letter from Pieter Schaghen to the Dutch Government in The Hague, November 1626

Reprinted, by permission from the Collection of The Hague, Algemeen Rijksarchiet

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Lesson Eight: The Bread and Butter of Dutch Community Life

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Source: Map of New Amsterdam - 1660, by children's book author and illustrator Peter Spier.see:"The Legend of New Amsterdam", Spier P (1979): Doubleday and Company. AND "Nieuw Amsterdam. Rotterdam", Spier P (1983): Lemniscaat.

8.1 Redraft of the Castello Plan, New Amsterdam 1660

Drawn by John Walcott Adams, 1916

Collection of The New-York Historical Society (M32-3.15)

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click on the image to access the map and zoom in closer.

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Artist's Rendering of New Amsterdam, 1663. Notice the height of the wall in the back.

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New Amsterdam in 1660 as seen from the Hudson River

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Canal Street, New Amsterdam in 1660
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Patroon's House Inside Fort Amsterdam, 1660

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Peter Minuit, First Director-General (1626) and Peter Stuyvesant, Fourth Director-General

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Director Willem Kieft, 1642-1647Click on the image to access the source and learn more about him.

Daily Life in New Amsterdam

Click here to learn more about daily life, clothing, religion, education and the result of Dutch culture.

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Trade in Beaver Fur

The most valuable resource found in the New World was the fur of the large rodent we call a beaver.

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The fur was warm and waterproof. Beaver fur was the "coin of the realm" in Dutch New Amsterdam in 1660 and people were paid in beaver pelts like this on. Click on the image to learn more about the "Beaver Wars".

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Click on the image to learn more about the Beaver Wars

The fur pelts were sent to Europe where they were made into hats like these. European men wanted these hats! They were the fashion!

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D'Orsay Beaver Hat and a Continental Beaver Hat

Click here for more research

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Indentured Servants in New Amsterdam

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Definition: An indentured servant is a person who wants to go to America and doesn't have the money to get there. So they borrow the money and voluntarily enters into a written agreement, saying they will work off their debt for a specific length of time. The term was usually seven years.

Why Did Europeans Become Indentured Servants in New York in the 1600's?

O R I G I N S - Slaves in North America - Triangular Slave Trade

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Three Worlds Collide - Timeline

O R I G I N S - Native Americans in North America

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On the Trail of the First Americans [Interactive]

New discoveries have focused researchers on two possible migration routes | Scientific American - October 18, 2011 |

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Dutch New York

Watch Dutch New York on PBS. See more from New York Documentaries.