September 1st, 2009
Document: The Purchase of Manhattan Island, 1626

This letter from Peter Schaghen, written in 1626, makes the earliest known reference to the company’s purchase of Manhattan Island from the Lenape Indians for 60 guilders. Schaghen was the liaison between the Dutch government and the Dutch West India Company. In the letter, Schaghen reports the arrival of the ship Wapen van Amsterdam from the New Netherland colony. The original of this document is held by the Rijksarchief in The Hague, but is on display in New York City at the South Street Seaport Museum from September 2009 through January 2010. Read a translation.

[ ] 5
Rcvd. 7 November 1626

High and Mighty Lords,
Yesterday the ship the Arms of Amsterdam arrived here. It sailed from New Netherland out of the River Mauritius on the 23d of September. They report that our people are in good spirit and live in peace. The women also have borne some children there. They have purchased the Island Manhattes from the Indians for the value of 60 guilders. It is 11,000 morgens in size [about 22,000 acres]. They had all their grain sowed by the middle of May, and reaped by the middle of August They sent samples of these summer grains: wheat, rye, barley, oats, buckwheat, canary seed, beans and flax. The cargo of the aforesaid ship is:

7246 Beaver skins
178½ Otter skins
675 Otter skins
48 Mink skins
36 Lynx skins
33 Minks
34 Muskrat skins

Many oak timbers and nut wood. Herewith, High and Mighty Lords, be commended to the mercy of the Almighty,

In Amsterdam, the 5th of November anno 1626.

Your High and Mightinesses’ obedient, P. Schaghen

  • Mark Henschel

    It looks like a morgen is the same size as a hectare. (100 meters by 100 meters or 10,000 square meters.)

  • :Nanya-ahk:Heru:EL

    the island of manhatten is back in the hands of the indigenous peoples aboriginal to the land,has been exported on to atlan turtle island by the plenipotentiary of Atlan-Turtle Island Maku:Nanya-Shaabu:EL for:Nanya-Ahk:Heru:EL

  • lucien

    I am Dutch and one thing I can say = at least it was bought from the indians not conquered or stolen. 60 guilders maybe isn’t much but in 1626 it had some value.

  • Kowman

    Yes, the Dutch treated the natives better than French, English and Spanish in order of rapacity by my historical lights. An interesting problem is to work the value of the money given at some interest rate to the present day value — which winds up equalling the present day value of Manhattan or close to it. I wish I could have seen the Island as it was then and walked around Long Island ..

  • Donna Van Horn Bluejacket

    I was told at an early age that the Van Horn (Van Hoorn) family was an owner of the Island of Manhattan. My father said there was a document in his monther’s bible, which disappeared after her death. Does anyone have any knowledge of the fact?

  • Barry Horn

    I was also told at a young age that our family was a early owner of manhatten,he also stated there was documentation,but did not know who had it.

  • Sale of Manhattan is not legal ….

    There is no deed, bill of sale, or formal title to back up the legend of the sale of Manhattan. This 1626 letter only makes suggestion of this sale. IT IS NOT A DEED! Hmmm? If you had a letter that talked about your deed to property ownership, but you couldn’t produce a title signed by two parties, would it be legal? No it wouldn’t. So this brings up the question “Is this letter legal documentation for land ownership of what is now the great New York City?”

  • Lisa Durham

    I have also been told from a young age a story that our family where early owners of Manhatten but the deeds where burnt in a fire.

  • Bridget Grogan

    My maternal grandmother was a geneologist in NY. She researched my maternal granfather (Claude Plank) lineage (Van Vlierdan I believe), and discovered that there were businessmen (investors)from Holland who engineered the purchase. They were referred to as “The Seven”. This is all I can recall from her discussion of topic, as I was a teenager at the time.

  • Robert Lunger

    Peter Minuit purchased the island back in the 1600’s and from what I know the family was loyal to the King during the American Revolution and had to flee for their lives (to Canada) before returning back to America. The courts indefinetly postphoned the case and never came to be heard in a court of law. This is what was was told by my father. Peter Minuit is my 5th Great Grandfather.

  • Let’s Stop Self Justifying Genocide and Theft of Indigenous Land

    This was not a purchase nor a sale. Even in the temporal period of this alleged “purchase” there would have at least been a hand print from the seller. The self justification by us of the genocidal practices of our European ancestors whether Dutch, French, Spanish or otherwise is only believed by us as white americans. First the Natives, then Blacks and now Mexican Americans and American Muslims have all been oppressed by us. What do the indigenous people of Manhattan have to say, or have they all mysteriously died off? The Dutch were just as demonic towards the Native Americans as anyone else. The indigenous people that were once %100 of the population of this country in 1492 (when Columbus arrived) in 2010 were %.09 (not even %1) of the population according to our US census. That ladies and gentlemen is the most mass genocide of a people the world has ever known. Let’s not exacerbate myths of phony purchases of their sacred lands by believing this propaganda. Where is their representation or accounts in the videos posted below? As a Christian I believe “the truth will set you free”. Free yourself.

  • Lucien

    Back again. Some people seem to know everything. As if the natives have been there for millions of years. They are Asians, and for a little part ice-time Europeans. But that isn’t important. As if white people only killed Indians and other coloured people only. In Europe lots of people also were killed. Holland belonged to Spain for a while before it became independent, Spanish soldiers have killed a lot of Dutch people. In germany a lot of people were killed because of there religion in the 17th century. People in the middle ages belonged as some kind of slaves to a Knight. Many wars killed many white Europeans also. And if the Indians/natives didn’t kill each other also. Many Dutch people in South-Africa died because of the British. And if I go further back- how many people did the Roman Empire kill. That is how it goes. And I also can buy something from an other person without a handprint or something. If the other person gives it to me and I give him money back then it belongs to me. If the other person agrees with it then it is okay, I do not need a handprint or 2 letters especcially not when the olher person can’t read or write. And for example take the aztecs, mayans – how many people did they kill on top of there temples? And also many Indians died of sickness. How many people died in Europe because of the black dead at the end of the middle ages?, millions. I live in an area were people 100 years ago had to work in swamps and lived like dogs in very small grass houses, that is not long ago. The money the Dutch made in about 1600 was not for all the Dutch, only for a few people. So the word -us- is not correct, it should be some of us. I haven’t killed anyone, have not fought with Indians, didn’t own slaves and so on. Some people did.

  • Attractions in Sunriver, Oregon

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  • Askia

    In 1947, John D Rockefeller III purchased Manhattan Island for $8,500,000 (today $89,219,162.79). The check was accepted by Trygve Lie, First Secretary-General of the United Nations.

    No one really knows what happened back in the 1600s especially since the history of American Colonialism-Indian Holocaust has been erased from the books and rewritten as Pocahontas. Based on the times back then it is easy to say the island was stolen from the Indians. Any documents coming out today would show as counterfeits.

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  • Liz Levesque

    Dear Lucien: We do know everything. We have relatives there. Still there. We are from there. Our people, the Mohawk built the Twin Towers. Where are you? In Holland? How would you know what we know here? You are not from here. So, let me school you, okay? When you meet up with people who have no concept of “buying the land” and who actually need the land to live on and you give them US 24 dollars then you are a thief. Bar none. It is just that simple. The Dutch not only took the land but 7246 Beaver pelts for hats for European ladies and do you know how valuable the Beaver is to the ecology for those rivers and streams? Huge. They also took many other valuable animal pelts. So, not only did they “thieve” the land but they took the animals we needed for food and clothing. You cannot justify that at all. My great grandmother, Mary Catherine Van Osdol live in the Southern United States among the Cherokee Nation and she was respectful of their ways. Do the “Dutch” a service and be respectful of Indian Land, ways and heritage and just “own up” to the theft, okay? No need to justify something so patently unjustifiable. Liz Levesque, Iroquois Nation, Haudenosaunee Six Nations, Syracuse/Redfield, New York. USA

  • Liz Levesque

    Dear Askia: We know. We were there. We have it recorded in our Lenape/Mohawk history. We have ways of writing things down you don’t know about and don’t ask questions about. All you have to do is come on over here and talk to us and we will “school” you. Liz Levesque, Haudenosaunee Six Nations, Syracuse/Redfield, New York, USA.

  • Liz Levesque

    Dear Barry: Is this Dutch Document Legal according to the Great State of New York? Let me “school” you on “legal” over here. The Lenape are a Sovereign Nation. In 1626 they could negotiate their own territory. However, they did not understand that 60 guilders was a payment. They thought they were getting a “gift”. Some “gift” huh? To be forcibly removed from their land by the Dutch. But, it was still a contract in the Dutch mind. Not in the Lenape. Their land was “thieved” and they were “Forcibly removed.” Does that sound like a proper contract or negotiation to you? the STATE of New YOrk did not exist then. After the American Revolution all foreigners who “owned” land , and I use that term loosely, had to deal with the Americans. Today, the Lenape, like all 500 Indian Nations, who are left over, from the 1500 who were systematically murdered, by the Dutch, English, French, Spanish, and Americans, have a Treaty with the United States Government. So, the Lenape ended up negotiating with George Washington. The First “Great White FAther” and they have sovereignty but little else. This is the way of the Great White Father and his race. To squeeze Indian people onto a match stick space of land and give them sub standard education and a medical clinic with aspirin. You should visit. You can see first hand what it is like out here. Liz Levesque, Six Nations, Syracuse/Redfield, New York, USA

  • Liz Levesque

    The Lenape ( /ˈlɛnəpiː/ or /ləˈnɑːpi/) are Native American people in Canada and the United States. They are also called Delaware Indians after their historic territory along the Delaware River.[4] As a result of disruption following the American Revolutionary War and later Indian removals from the eastern United States, the main groups now live in Ontario (Canada), Wisconsin, and Oklahoma.[5] In Canada, they are enrolled in the Munsee-Delaware Nation 1, the Moravian of the Thames First Nation, and the Delaware of Six Nations. In the United States, they are enrolled in three federally recognized tribes, that is, the Delaware Nation and the Delaware Tribe of Indians, both located in Oklahoma, and the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, located in Wisconsin. The Ramapough Mountain Indians and the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape identify as Lenape descendants and are recognized as tribes by the state of New Jersey. [6]
    At the time of European contact in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Lenape inhabited a region on the mid-Atlantic coast in what anthropologists call the Northeastern Woodlands.[citation needed] Although never politically unified, it is frequently referred to as Lenapehoking (“Lenape country”). It roughly comprised the area around and between the Delaware and lower Hudson rivers, and included the western part of Long Island in present-day New York.[7] Lenapehoking hosted over two dozen Lenape polities. Some of their place names, such as Manhattan, Raritan, and Tappan were adopted by Dutch and English colonists to identify them. Based on the historical record of the mid-seventeenth century, it has been estimated that most Lenape polities consisted of several hundred people.[8] It is conceivable that some had been considerably larger prior to contact. Even regions at a distance from European settlement, such as Iroquoia in upstate New York and central Pennsylvania, had been devastated by smallpox by the 1640s

  • Liz Levesque

    17th century
    New Amsterdam was founded in 1624 by the Dutch in what would later become New York City. Dutch settlers also founded a colony at present-day Lewes, Delaware on June 3, 1631 and named it Zwaanendael (Swan Valley).[31] The colony had a short life, as in 1632 a local band of Lenape killed the 32 Dutch settlers after a misunderstanding escalated over Lenape defacement of the insignia of the Dutch West India Company.[32] In 1634, the Iroquoian-speaking Susquehannock went to war with the Lenape over access to trade with the Dutch at New Amsterdam. They defeated the Lenape, and some scholars believe that the Lenape may have become tributaries to the Susquehannock.[33] After the warfare, the Lenape referred to the Susquehannock as “uncles.” The Iroquois added the Lenape to the Covenant Chain in 1676; the Lenape were tributary to the Five Nations (later Six) until 1753, shortly before the outbreak of the French and Indian War (a part of the Seven Years War in Europe).
    The Lenape’s quick adoption of trade goods, and their need to trap furs to meet high European demand, resulted in their disastrous over-harvesting of the beaver population in the lower Hudson Valley. With the fur sources exhausted, the Dutch shifted their operations to present-day upstate New York. The Lenape who produced wampum in the vicinity of Manhattan Island temporarily forestalled the negative effects of the decline in trade.[34] Lenape population fell sharply during this period, due to high fatalities from epidemics of infectious diseases carried by Europeans, such as measles and smallpox, to which they had no natural immunity, as the diseases had arisen on the Asian continent and moved west into Europe, where they had become endemic in the cities.

  • Liz Levesque

    English Ousted the Dutch: The Lenape had a culture in which the clan and family controlled property. Europeans often tried to contract for land with the tribal chiefs, confusing their culture with that of neighboring tribes such as the Iroquois. The Lenape would petition for grievances on the basis that not all their families had been recognized in the transaction (not that they wanted to “share” the land).[35] After the Dutch arrival in the 1620s, the Lenape were successful in restricting Dutch settlement until the 1660s to Pavonia in present-day Jersey City along the Hudson. The Dutch finally established a garrison at Bergen, which allowed settlement west of the Hudson within the province of New Netherland. This land was purchased from the Lenape after the fact.[35]

    Benjamin West’s painting (in 1771) of William Penn’s 1682 treaty with the Lenape
    In the early 1680s, William Penn and Quaker colonists created the English colony of Pennsylvania beginning at the lower Delaware River. A peace treaty was negotiated between the newly arriving English and Lenape at what is now known as Penn Treaty Park. In the decades immediately following, some 20,000 new colonists arrived in the region, putting pressure on Lenape settlements and hunting grounds. Although Penn endeavored to live peaceably with the Lenape and to create a colony that would do the same, he also expected his authority and that of the colonial government to take precedence. His new colony effectively displaced many Lenape and forced others to adapt to new cultural demands. Penn gained a reputation for benevolence and tolerance, but his efforts resulted in more effective colonization of the ancestral Lenape homeland than previous ones.

  • Liz Levesque

    Nanya-Ahk: the Island of Manhattan is in no way, shape or form, back in the hands of Indigenous people, let alone the Lenape. Please re-read this legal form. thank you.

  • Liz Levesque

    The Lenape were removed to Ontario, Subsumed into Delaware Nation, Oklahoma, Kansas and elsewhere. Please read their history more carefully. thank you.

  • Liz Levesque

    21st Century Lenape/Delaware Legal Battle: 21st century
    The Cherokee Nation filed suit to overturn the independent federal recognition of the Delaware. The tribe lost federal recognition in a 2004 court ruling in favor of the Cherokee Nation, but regained it on 28 July 2009.[60] After recognition, the tribe reorganized under the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act. Members approved a constitution and bylaws in a May 26, 2009 vote. Jerry Douglas was elected as tribal chief.[58]
    In 2004, the Delaware Nation filed suit against Pennsylvania in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, seeking to reclaim 315 acres (1.27 km2) included in the 1737 Walking Purchase to build a casino. In the suit titled “The Deleware Nation v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania” the plaintiffs acting as the successor in interest and political continuation of the Lenni Lenape and of Lenape Chief “Moses” Tundy Tatamy, claimed aboriginal and fee title to the 315 acres of land located in Forks Township in Northampton County, near the town of Tatamy, Pennsylvania. After the Walking Purchase Chief Tatamy was granted legal permission for him and his family to remain on this parcel of land known as “Tatamy’s Place. In addition to suing the state the tribe also sued the township, the county and elected officials, including Gov. Ed Rendell.
    The court held that the justness of the extinguishment of aboriginal title is nonjusticiable, including in the case of fraud. Because the extinguishment occurred prior to the passage of the first Indian Nonintercourse Act in 1790, that Act did not avail the Delaware.
    As a result the court granted the Commonwealth’s motion to dismiss. In its conclusion the court stated: … we find that the Delaware Nation’s aboriginal rights to Tatamy’s Place were extinguished in 1737 and that, later, fee title to the land was granted to Chief Tatamy-not to the tribe as a collectivity.

  • Liz Levesque

    Moses Tunda Tatamy (c1690-1760) or Tashawaylennahan was a Lenape translator and guide.
    He was born around 1690 in New Jersey and was a translator and guide for the early settlers of New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the early 18th century. He lived near what is now Stockertown, Pennsylvania and Forks Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, north of Easton, Pennsylvania in the Lehigh Valley, along the Delaware River. He moved from New Jersey as early as 1733. The Lenape were displaced from their land by the Walking Purchase, but on April 28, 1738 Tatamy was given 325 acres (1.32 km2) by John, Thomas and Richard Penn, the descendants of William Penn. Worried that he would be displaced from his land, he formally purchased it in 1741 for 48 pounds, 16 shillings, and 5 pence. This made him the first native-born individual to make a formal purchase of land in Pennsylvania. After the Native Americans were forced to leave the Lehigh Valley, Tatamy petitioned the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania for the right to remain on his land. In 1745, Tatamy was the first Native American baptized by David Brainerd. He died in 1760 and around 1780, Tatamy’s neighbors, Henry and Mattias Strechen, claimed the property, and transferred it to William Allen. Tatamy’s widow was listed on the first United States Census, 1790.
    Contents [hide]
    1 Casino
    2 Legacy
    3 References
    4 External links

    In 2003 two Delaware Indian tribes based in Oklahoma claimed the land once owned by Tatamy. At the time of the lawsuit, the parcel was occupied by Binney & Smith, the maker of Crayola crayons, as well as 25 single-family homes. The tribes went to court to regain title to the land with the intention of opening a casino.

  • Liz Levesque

    Legal History: Lost Case in 2004

    The Lenape people were divided into three dialectal divisions, which later became the basis for the three Clans of the Lenape. These divisions were the Monsi (Munsee) or Wolf, the Unami or Turtle, and the Unilactigo or Turkey. Today the clans are known as the Tùkwsit (Wolf Clan), Pùkuwànko (Turtle Clan), and Pële (Turkey Clan). The Delaware Nation is the Pùkuwànko (Turtle Clan).
    The Delaware Nation was the first Indian nation to enter into a treaty with the newly formed government of the United States; the treaty was signed on September 17, 1778.
    The Oklahoma branches were established in 1867, with the purchase of land by Delaware from the Cherokee Nation; they made two payments totaling $438,000. A court dispute followed over whether the sale included citizenship rights for the Delaware within the Cherokee Nation. The Curtis Act of 1898 dissolved tribal governments and ordered the allotment of tribal lands to individual members of tribes. The Lenape fought the act in the courts but lost, and in 1867 the courts ruled that they had only purchased rights to the land for their lifetimes. The lands were allotted in 160-acre (650,000 m²) lots in 1907, with any land left over sold to non-Indians.
    The tribe became federally recognized on July 5, 1958 as the “Delaware Tribe of Western Oklahoma.” They ratified their current constitution in 1972. In November of 1999, the tribe officially changed its name to the Delaware Nation.
    In 2004 the Delaware of Oklahoma sued Pennsylvania over land lost in 1800. This was related to the colonial government’s Walking Purchase of 1737, an agreement of doubtful legal veracity

  • Liz Levesque

    Nanya: The At-Sik-Hata Clan of Native American Moors filed a UCC Financial Statement with the State of Georgia, Macon County, for a petition as a debtor claiming right and title but this in no way reverts the Island of Manhattan back to the Lenape/Delaware, okay?

  • Carroll Vanscoy Robison

    Liz, Thanks for the history you have written. One question, do you know of a VanSchaick that married an indian princess back in the later 1600’s? I think it is something like Begttii. Not sure. My sister and I are doing research on the VanSchaick’s of New Amsterdam in 1600 and 1700 to now. Thanks for any help you might be. Carroll Vanscoy Robison

  • lilah hawkins

    i cant even read this dumb shit

  • KIMA

    no need to be soo smart out the mouth dat y ya dum ass cant read STUPID!!!!!

    • Truth

      Obviously, your uneducated ass doesn’t even know how to write in English… so you’re no one to even complain about anyone being stupid other than yourself, that’s why you said that N—– can’t help you because you’re ignorant…IDIOT!!!

  • Jan Fredericks

    We can learn a lot from the Native Americans who respected their God-given land. They were forced out and they deserve respect.

  • what recovery

    These documents are so important. They show the birth of a new Nation, people willing to uproot themselves and go to a new unexplored land and start new. With out this fearless nature in man and woman the US might not be what it became. Even though we have many problems caused by government today we the people have the god given right to change the course of our nation for the better, this is in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

  • *anonymous

    i will soon discover the truth to all of this it is to be told it was sold out from under my family years ago and when i find the truth we will rightfully get back what was truely ours

The year 2009 marks the 400th anniversary of explorer Henry Hudson's voyage to New York State and the river that bears his name. Check out the links below for more information about Dutch New York and happenings in and around the state during New York's quadricentennial.