Things were different back in 1626 | New York, USA

And the fact that the East River covered what are now several square miles of streets, sidewalks and buildings in Lower Manhattan back then was the least impressive.

In 1626, the Dutch – who had been using the southern tip of Manhattan as a fur trading post, purchased the entire island from the Lenape, a Native American tribe, for 60 guilders (whose value was estimated at about $1000 in 2006) and called it New Amsterdam.

About four decades later, in 1664, the Dutch surrendered New Amsterdam to the English, who promptly renamed it New York, in exchange for Dutch control over Run, which was deemed to be a much more valuable asset at the time.

The fact that I just had to look up what Run is (a 3-by-1 km island which is now part of Indonesia, if you’re curious) just goes to show the Dutch lack of foresight, although it is anybody’s guess if New York would have become what it is today had it remained under control of the Netherlands. Somehow, “If I can make it there / I’ll make it anywhere / It’s up to you / New Amsterdam, New Amsterdam” doesn’t have the same ring to it, but who knows, it might be just a prejudice on my part.

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