- from Early Settlements
In the early 1600s, fur hats were a big hit in Europe. Dutch merchants wanted to make money from this fad. Where could you find the most fur? On creatures in the vast forests of North America. And the best way to get fur was to trade with the American Indians.
Henry Hudson, an Englishman, was the first explorer for the Netherlands. In 1609, he was 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 this river for the Netherlands. By 1614, these lands were being called New Netherland. It covered parts of what we know today as New York and New Jersey. In 1621, the government of the Netherlands gave the Dutch West India Company control over all the fur trading in the area.