What did they do?
Many of the people who lived in New Netherland were involved in the fur trade with the Indians, particularly the Mohawks. Beaver pelts and other skins were shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to make felt hats and fur coats for Europeans. But not all colonists were traders, and many traders did other work. Most were farmers; others were bakers, shipbuilders, millers, shopkeepers, tailors, brewers, butchers, carpenters, wheelwrights, blacksmiths, coopers, and school teachers. But almost everyone traded in furs.
The colonists of New Netherland rarely used coins to buy goods and services. Instead they paid with furs or with shell beads, called wampum or sewant. These beads also served a ceremonial and decorative function among Indians.