- from Early Settlements
Fur hats were very fashionable in Europe during the early 1600s, and Dutch merchants were determined to make money from the fad. The biggest source of fur was animals in the huge North American forests. The best way to get the fur was to trade with the American Indians.
The first explorer for the Netherlands was an Englishman, Henry Hudson. 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.