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CRITICAL MASS: Our cheating hearts — From Peter Minuit to Jose Altuve – Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

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The common story is the Dutch bought Manhattan from the American Indians for 60 guilders, which they say is the equivalent of $24.

Like most common stories, it’s not entirely true.

Peter Minuit, in his capacity as director of the Dutch North American colony of New Netherlands, did negotiate a deal with Seyseys, chief of the Lenape (also known as the Canarsees), to buy the island. A letter written by a Dutch merchant to the directors of the Dutch East India Company in November 1626 stated that the purchase price was “60 guilders worth of trade” which would seem to indicate no hard currency actually changed hands. Maybe beads and trinkets were involved.

We say they paid $24 because, in 1846, historian and diplomat John Romeyn Brodhead figured 60 Dutch guilders in 1626 were roughly equal to $23 and change in his pocket. If we’re talking today’s dollars, that’s about $800, according to online inflation calculators I consulted.

Elsewhere on the internet, you might read that the Dutch paid the equivalent of about $1,015 today. In 1959, Nathaniel Benchley, writing for American Heritage magazine, wrote that it was about $2,000 in 1959…



Read More: https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2020/jan/26/our-cheating-hearts-from-minuit-to-altu/

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Source: https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2020/jan/26/our-cheating-hearts-from-minuit-to-altu/

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