Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Dutch Got Had...!

Regardless of what we were all taught in school, the sale of Manhattan was a bigger deal than we thought!

Seems as though the "clueless" native Americans were not as dumb as we thought. In fact, I'd say they were pretty slick sales people. Guess the old saying is true...if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't!

Native Americans Didn’t Sell Manhattan For $24 Of Beads
By J. Wisniewski on Sunday, October 20, 2013

In a single landmark real estate deal, Dutch settlers supposedly purchased the entire island of Manhattan for some worthless glass beads. But what actually happened in 1626? Dutch settlers bought the use of Manhattan in exchange for iron kettles, axes, knives, and cloth. And as it later turned out, the tribe who sold the land at such a deep discount were taking payment for lands which didn’t even belong to them.

The story of the $24 Manhattan purchase is a myth which insinuates that the settlers, by virtue of being so darn clever, “deserved” the land. Of course, the valuation of anything at $24 should be immediately suspect as the dollar obviously didn’t exist in the 17th century. The idea that the goods were worth only $24 stems from a flawed currency conversion made by a 19th-century historian. And records from the time suggest it is actually the Dutch settlers who were tricked.

Letters from the period, detailing other Dutch purchases, make it clear what goods were typically exchanged for land in the American Northeast. The manufactured goods, while not extremely valuable to the Europeans, were obviously scarce in America and thus valuable to Native traders. In similar fashion, discarded beaver pelt clothing was garbage to Native Americans, yet European traders couldn’t get enough, because they used the fur to make stylish hats. Determining a trade’s winner and loser is really just a matter of perspective. “Glass beads” is a pernicious exaggeration of the idea that Manhattan was purchased for worthless goods.

Of course, the biggest problem with the Manhattan purchase isn’t the price: It’s the identity of the sellers. The Dutch conducted their business with the Canarsee tribe who were actually based out of what is now Brooklyn. However, we should be fair to perpetrators of the glass beads myth: The Canarsee probably would have taken anything in exchange for the use of Manhattan, as the island actually belonged to the Wappinger Confederacy, another group of Native Americans. As a result, the Dutch claim to Manhattan was later contested, and the Dutch compensated the rightful owners. Thus, the Dutch settlers actually paid for Manhattan twice.

Sounds to me as though the Dutch got punked...big time! Gotta watch out for those pesky native types and their wares, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Pumpkin pie and cool whip anyone?


Chickenmom said...

Interesting, Mr. Hermit. Will have to delve further into that. Always learning something new! Warm here @ 57 - snowstorm for us tomorrow. I'll take a big slice of that pumpkin pie!

linda m said...

I had heard that story on one of the history channels on TV that I watch. I find it interesting that people who were regarded as being ignorant back then actually outsmarted the white men. Let's hear it for the so-called ignorant people. Snowed under here this AM - about 5 inches of white wet stuff. I would love a slice of pumpkin pie to fuel my body for snow removal duty.

JO said...

I read this not to long ago while reading up on Native Americans of the east. Yes score one for the Native Americans.

Have to hit the grocery store soon to pick up my supplies for pumpkin cheese cake and apple pie. But first some nice hot coffee before I wander out the cold door. It's warmer here this morning at 42 degrees

Mamahen said...

Pretty smart for "dumb savages" wouldn't you say? Proud to say I have Native American blood mixed in my veins :)) 40° here this a.m. and sunny but bad weather is on the way they say.....Love me some pumpkin pie :))

Dizzy-Dick said...

It is easy for people considered dumb and uneducated to take advantage of the higher educated group. Why? Because the educated look down on them and believe them to be dumb, which they are not.