Peter Minuit


Public life


NA/Mid-Atlantic region


Europe's Reconnaissance (1351-1640)






The governor/director general of the Dutch colony of New Netherland from his arrival in 1626 to his recall to Holland in 1632. Effected the purchase in 1626 of Manhattan Island from local Indians, but likely not from those with the best claims to owning the island. Helped institute trading relations between his Dutch settlement and the English settlements of Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and eastern Long Island. He reorganized the scattered Dutch settlements, closing some and consolidating activities in New Amsterdam. He also encouraged settlement up the Hudson River by making generous land grants(patroonships) to potential Dutch settlers (including Amsterdam diamond merchant, Killem van Rensselear)and by favoring free trade as against defending the Dutch West Inies Company monopoly on trade.

Following his recall in 1632, he became an investor in the settlement of Swedes in what was later Wilmington, Delaware, which he visited briefly in 1637. From there he engaged, along with a grandson, in some privateering against the Spanish in the Caribbean, where he died in 1638, the victim of a hurricane.

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