The Canarsie Tribe Swindled the Dutch out of Manhattan!

Home Forums Politics The Canarsie Tribe Swindled the Dutch out of Manhattan!

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    They teach in public schools these days that we cheated the Indians out of Manhattan Island, that we bought Manhattan from them for the equivalent of 24 dollars. That also is not true. “A persuasive case can be made that the city of New York began with a swindle. For generations schoolchildren have been taught that a slick trick was played on unsuspecting Indians by the director of the Dutch West India Company, Peter Minuit. In 1626, he purchased the island of ‘Manna-hatin’ for sixty gilders worth of trinkets, about $24.

    “What Minuit did not know at the time, however, was that his masterful real estate deal had been struck with the Canarsie tribe, residents of Long Island; they held no title to [‘Manna-hatin’] the land they sold to the Dutch. In due course, the intruders from Amsterdam who thought they had pulled a sharp one on the locals were forced into negotiating a second, more costly deal with the” people who actually did own ‘Manna-hatin’! So it was the Dutch who got cheated by the Indians, not the other way around.


    If this account is true, they swindled him out of about $24, not Manhattan.


    A ganiv is a ganiv.


    1. As contracts go, the fact that the Europeans had canons and muskets renders such contract voidable due to duress (cf. if a mugger points his gun at you and asks for a gift of your wallet). The management in Europe was strongly against stealing from the Indians, but that had minimal impact on the people on the ground in the New World. The Indians knew they lacked the ability to work iron or make gunpowder, and took whatever they could.

    2. Most Indians did not have a European concept of “title” but rather a non-exclusive right to use the land. Buying access didn’t mean you owned the place. They weren’t “selling Manhattan” – at most they were granting an easement to build a trading post.


    I want to say that I’ve read that this tribe wanted to move, or they took the money and ran upstate. I remember something about Mohicans being connected. I thought I read this in the Wall Street Journal, but I can’t find it without doing some heavy duty searching.
    Since everything I learned in Public School has turned out to be a lie, I wonder how long these concise and nonsense textbooks can circulate for.

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