04 Sep Dutch Manhattan – Henry Hudson’s Big Mistake | 1
In 1609, a headstrong English sea captain named Henry Hudson set out on behalf of the Dutch East India Company to find a trade route to Asia — and promptly found himself and his crew stranded in icy waters off the coast of Norway. As supplies dwindled, Hudson announced to his frostbitten crew that the ship would change course. They set off across the Atlantic Ocean in search of an alternative route through the North American continent.
Hudson never found the Northwest Passage, but he did come across something else on that journey — a small island the native people called Manna-hatta. That settlement would eventually give rise to a new Dutch colony called New Netherland, with Manhattan Island, or New Amsterdam, as it would come to be known, as its capital. New Amsterdam would come to be defined by two key Dutch values: tolerance and capitalism. This series by Russell Shorto, based on his book The Island at the Center of the World, traces how Manhattan’s brief chapter as a Dutch colony shaped the city for centuries to come.