The Dutch claim in the new world, including the territory they called Albania (now New Jersey) emanated from Henry Hudson’s explorations of the area in 1609. As early as 1613 there was a small trading post at the tip of Manhattan Island. In 1616 Peter Minuit was appointed the West Indian Company Director of New Netherlands Company with a mission to establish a fort and port on the southern tip of Manhattan. However, the major interest of the Dutch in the new world was the lucrative fur trade, which they conducted with the Indians, up and down the Hudson River. By 1640 New Amsterdam was still a small settlement with a multi-lingual and culturally diverse population, engaged in supporting trade. This was the Golden Age of the Netherlands, the wealthiest and most liberal country in the world in the 17th Century, and there was little interest among its population to leave home to colonize far away Dutch territories. Land grants encoursged some Dutch Patroons to establish large farms north of New Amsterdam and on Staten Island. In 1644 the Dutch even granted an association of Englishmen the right to establish a settlement at Hempstead, Long Island, close to New Amsterdam, in return for promising to bring 100 families there within five years.
The Dutch did even less to develop or explore their territory west of the Hudson. A few Dutch “plantations” were settled across the river at Pavonia, Hoboken, Bayonne, and Hackensack. In 1643 the Dutch accused the Raritan Indians of crimes and sent eighty Dutch soldiers a cross the Hudson; murdering native men, women and children as they slept. The natives retaliated, destroying homes and the small Dutch settlements. The war, known as Kief’s War, raged up and down the west bank of the Hudson, laying waste to settler’s homes and most of the Dutch retreated to the east side of the Hudson. A flimsy treaty was signed in 1643 with the seven tribes, chiefly with the Lenni Lenape. A second and last war, known as the Peach Tree War (1655-1660), involved the Hackensacks. A farmer near Hoboken resolved to stop the pilfering of Indians from his fruit trees. When he saw someone approaching the orchard he fired and killed an Indian girl. The Indians built beacon fires and swarmed the west side of the Hudson. Soon the whole series of little settlements, from Weehawken to Staten Island, were in flames, and over 100 whites were killed, and one hundred and fifty taken captive, with three hundred left homeless. The Dutch paid a ransom for twenty-eight of the captives. Most of the remaining Dutch settlers retreated to east of the Hudson. After the peace in 1660, the Dutch established a small settlement on the west side of the Hudson River at Bergen.