The New Amsterdam History Center is committed to providing resource tools for learning about New Amsterdam

Please explore the unique interactive learning tools that we have
developed to help you explore New Amsterdam then and New York now

Early New York

Mapping early New Amsterdam - compare it to today



Learning Resources

Audio tours, academic lesson plans and educational resources




Records of Ship Journeys, Marriages, Tax Lots, and more


An Introduction to New Amsterdam

Origins of a Global City

From its earliest beginnings as a ragged outpost of the Dutch commercial empire, New York was a city driven by global commerce. Trading voyages began soon after Henry Hudson’s voyage of discovery in 1609, initially backed by Dutch private investors and later controlled by the Dutch West India Company.

When the company abandoned its monopoly on the fur trade in 1639, private investment once again flowed into the colony, making the city of New Amsterdam a hub of Atlantic trade that linked Europe, Africa, South and Central America, the Caribbean, and other North American colonies. In an age of competing empires and international war, aggressive entrepreneurs risked their lives and fortunes in the hope of making a profit.

“All the people here are traders,” remarked an observer of seventeenth-century New Amsterdam. Merchants of all levels of wealth and prosperity joined by investors of many different occupations, captured the city’s commercial energy. Indeed, the dream of financial success encouraged Europeans of varied ethnicities and religions to sail to Manhattan where they interacted with each other and encountered Africans, both enslaved and free, and Native Americans. Commerce thus created a multicultural, dynamic, progressive city that was a model for New England and Chesapeake colonies and became the foundation for one of the world’s most spectacular cities.

There is no better way to understand and experience that energy than by examining the stories of its first inhabitants: indeed, the stories of the world’s first New Yorkers.

Other Resources

Virtual New Amsterdam Project Participants
If you would like to learn more about our educational initiatives, please contact us

The Mapping New York Project Team

Creative Contributors

Toya Dubin – Project Manager

Nitin Gadia – Mapping Director and Database Development

Eduard van Dijk – 3D Modeling

Daniel O’Toole – Database Developer

Mustafa Akbay – Drubal Developer

Drew Shuptar-Rayis – Algonkian Historical Consultant

Karl Phillips – Mapping Specialisty/Researcher

Firth Haring Faben, PhD. -Head of Scholarly Research

Esme Berg – Excutive Director