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New York City was originally called New Amsterdam. Established by the Dutch West India Company as a commercial center for the colony of New Netherlands, New Amsterdam was noted for its religious and ethnic diversity. When England pressed its claim on a virtually defenseless New Amsterdam, Director-General Peter Stuyvesant surrendered and the city was renamed New York in honor of James, Duke of York.


Munch, Janet Butler, “New Amsterdam,” In Colonialism: An International, Social, Cultural, and Political Encyclopedia. Eds. Melvin E. Page, and Penny M. Sonnenburg. Vol. 2. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2003: p. 413-414.



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