Peter Minuit

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Peter Minuit, the first governor of Newe Netherland, was born in 1580 in Wesel in the Duchy of Cleves, now a part of Germany. He was appointed director general of Newe Netherland by the Dutch West India Company in 1626. One of his first actions was to buy Manhattan Island from the local tribes for 60 guilders, considered the equivalent of about $24, in various trinkets.

The settlement at New Amsterdam flourished, but in 1631 he was recalled by the company because of his alleged responsibility for the large holdings of the patroons.

In 1637 Minuit returned to the New World as leader of a band of Swedes for the Swedish West India Company. A settlement was made on the Delaware River, where Wilmington is today, and Fort Christina was built. Minuit skillfully avoided serious troubles both with the natives and the Dutch at New Amsterdam. He died in 1638.