A Tour of New Netherland



It was large enough to maintain a settlement. It was defensible. It lay near the mouth of the most vital river on the North American coast, and so served as a waystation for traffic coming from the fur-trading areas to the north. It was the natural place for the capital of the colony of New Netherland.

Of course, Indians knew of it long before any Europeans arrived. The Mohawk called it Ganono, meaning "reeds," no doubt because of the reedy marshes that surrounded much of it. But the Delaware name--variously recorded as Manados, Manahata, Manahtoes, Manhattos--is the one that stuck. It meant "the place where we get bows," or "the place where we get the wood to make bows." The Dutch settlers picked up the name and used it. And the rest is history.

About the New Netherland Institute

For over three decades, NNI has helped cast light on America's Dutch roots. In 2010, it partnered with the New York State Office of Cultural Education to establish the New Netherland Research Center, with matching funds from the State of the Netherlands. NNI is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. More

The New Netherland Research Center

Housed in the New York State Library, the NNRC offers students, educators, scholars and researchers a vast collection of early documents and reference works on America's Dutch era. More


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By supporting NNI you help increase awareness of the 17th century Dutch colony of New Netherland and its legacy in America.