- from Early Settlements
In the early 1600s, fur hats were popular in Europe. Dutch merchants set out to make money from the fad. The biggest source of fur was animals in the vast forests of North America. The best way to get it was to trade with the American Indians.
Henry Hudson, an Englishman, was the first explorer for the Netherlands. In 1609, looking for a Northwest Passage to the Pacific, he sailed up what was then called the North River. It was later renamed the Hudson River after him. Hudson claimed the lands around the river for the Netherlands. By 1614, land that now includes parts of New York and New Jersey was being called New Netherland. In 1621, the government of the Netherlands gave the Dutch West India Company control over all the fur trading in the area.