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Early American Cartographies$
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Martin Bruckner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834695

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807838723_bruckner

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Closing the Circle Mapping a Native Account of Colonial Land Fraud

Closing the Circle Mapping a Native Account of Colonial Land Fraud

Chapter:
(p.248) Closing the Circle Mapping a Native Account of Colonial Land Fraud
Source:
Early American Cartographies
Author(s):

Martin Brückner

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807838723_bruckner.12

This chapter focuses on the descendants of the Algonquian peoples who once inhabited the region of New York Harbor. The descendants have recalled that the first Dutch colonists asked for as much land as the hide of a bullock could cover, then claimed as much land as that hide, cut into strips, could encircle. The author believes, however, that this fantastical story preserves the memory of an actual event. Moreover, the story threads the history of the founding of New Amsterdam together with those of other, far-flung maritime colonial outposts, and offers a window onto the cultural history of early modern European imperialism. This episode with the bullock's hide is the culmination of a longer historical tradition about “The Arrival of the Whites.” The first written version of this tradition is in an 1801 letter from the Moravian missionary John Heckewelder to the historian Samuel Miller.

Keywords:   Algonquian peoples, New York Harbor, Dutch colonists, New Amsterdam, maritime colonial outposts, European imperialism

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