Representations of Urban Space in Edith Wharton and Anzia Yezierska
5. Appendix:A Brief History of New York City until 1900 - 255
5. Appendix: A Brief History of New York City until 1900241 5.1. Earliest Evidence: 1524–1621 It is believed that European fishermen had visited the waters around Manhattan and ventured up the Hudson River in the first decade of the sixteenth century. A first record was kept by Giovanni da Verrazzano who, under orders of King Francis I of France, was piloting the “La Dauphine” to find a northern route to China. “La Dauphine” briefly anchored in the Narrows in March 1524 before sailing further north. A year later, Esteban Gomez, of Portuguese descent, sailed up the Hudson River, but decided that it did not lead to China. Fur traders are thought to have followed these explorers in the following decades, especially after the French had discovered the St. Lawrence River Valley in 1535. The traders must have ventured up the Hudson River to trade with the local Lenape Indians well before Henry Hudson anchored off Sandy Hook in September of 1609 with his “Halve Moon”, a Dutch ship sent by the East India Company. Looking for a shortcut to the Indies, Hudson also turned around some ninety miles upstream the river later named for him. Nevertheless, the fertile land and the beaver furs he brought back convinced Dutch merchants and captains that it would be worthwhile their efforts to sail across the Atlantic for furs and pelts. 241 For this historical summary, I am deeply indebted to Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace and their concise and interesting work:...
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