This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for May 4, 2017: Kindred Spirit

May 4, 2017: Peter Minuit lands on Manhattan

Peter Minuit landed on the island of Manhattan on this date in 1626. Dutch fur traders had established a trading post on nearby Governors Island a few years earlier. In 1625, construction began on Manhattan Island in the form of a citadel, Fort Amsterdam. The Dutch West India Company appointed Minuit Director of the Colony of New Netherland. He arrived to find a small village already in place, with more land being cleared. There were stands of hickory, oak, and chestnut trees among the grasslands and salt marshes. Times Square was a red maple swamp. A creek ran through Midtown. On the west side of the island, there was a cemetery, a small farm, an orchard, and two wealthy estates. Most of the houses were built along the East River, since its shore was more protected from winds than the shore of the Hudson. The main street was built over an old Indian path running from the southern tip of the island north to what is now City Hall Park. First, it was called Heere Straat, or Gentlemen’s Street, but it eventually came to be known as Breede Wegh — which became the name we know it by today, Broadway.