Lower Manhattan’s homes and windmill in 1637

Windmills? Hills? Red-roofed houses?

If you sailed into the Battery and happened upon Manhattan island about 400 years ago, this is the modest fort and settlement that would have greeted you.


That’s according to this postcard, stamped 1910, that depicts “Fort Amsterdam ‘Now the Battery’ in Kieft’s Days,” as the back states.

“In 1632, Governor Minuet was recalled and succeeded by Von Twiller, who again was succeeded by Wm. Kieft in 1637,” the postcard reads. “Kieft was recalled for cruelty in 1646.”

Kieft was the fifth governor of New Netherlands. Considered spiteful and ignorant, he ordered the massacre of local Native Americans, which only served to unite various tribes against the Dutch.

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6 Responses to “Lower Manhattan’s homes and windmill in 1637”

  1. Lady G. Says:

    Totally amazing. Wish I had a time machine like in the movie where you could literally see time speeding forward or back.

  2. tomgeorgearts Says:

    not so modest now!…

  3. EV Grieve Etc.: Mourning Edition | NYC Real Estate News via Tigho Says:

    […] The scene on Lower Manhattan about 400 years ago (Ephemeral New York) […]

  4. Edward Says:

    A somewhat romanticized view of 17th Century New York living, for sure! More like a few huts, a dilapidated fort and pigs running wild through the muddy streets (all of which is true, I’m not being facetious). A very good account of Dutch New York can be found in Russell Shorto’s “Island at the Center of the World.”

  5. dsweetser Says:

    Beautiful! But this is a later rendition of New Amsterdam; surely after 1660.

  6. This is Lower Manhattan as it looked in 1642 | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] in the hundreds. Things were hardly rosy; the director of the profitable fur-trading colony launched a war against native Americans that almost doomed […]

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