Never forget September 11, 1609
Henry Hudson invaded Lenapehoking
“Some Monster of the Sea”
Excerpt from Penhawitz and Wampage and the
Seventeenth-Century World They Dominated
by Anne-Marie Cantwell
Oral tradition has it that when the Munsee saw a European ship in their waters, they wondered if it was “some monster of the sea” (Jameson 1909 :293; see also Heckewelder 1841) . And in many ways they may have been right. This “monster” almost certainly refers to the Halve Maen, the ship that Henry Hudson sailed into New York harbor in 1609. That voyage was marked by exchanges of goods and violence, both heralds of the trade and bloodshed in the century ahead. The area’s potential for the fur trade was quickly realized and Dutch traders soon followed Hudson into Lenapehoking. In the 1620s, the Dutch West India Company acquired a trade monopoly in the new colony of New Netherland and “the monster of the sea” began to settle down in Lenapehoking. Although the details of the first European settlement of what would become New York City have been lost (Jacobs 2005:42), roughly it seems that in 1624 (or 1623) the Company sent a small group to lay claim to New Netherland. Some from that party were left on what is now Governors Island, in New York Harbor, one of the finest natural harbors in North America.