Yomamakaren's Reviews > The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America

The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto
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U 50x66
's review
May 18, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: currently-reading

Yo! I love history books and this one is great...
Did you know that a group of Walloons, Pirates and religiously open-minded people were the first European occupants of New York?

They had "...a cultural sensibility that included a frank acceptance of differences and a belief that individual achievement matters more than birthright."

"Something was happening that was quite unlike the unfolding of society at the two English colonies to their north, where the rigid Puritans, who arrived in 1630, and the even more rigid Pilgrims maintained, in their wide-brimmed piety, monocultures in the wild. This was a business settlement, a way station on the rising Atlantic trade circuit. News of its existence spread to places as far afield as the Amazonian thickets of Bahia and Pernambuce in Brazil, the newly founded Portuguese slave trading port of Luanda in Angola, and Stockholm, where an energetic monarch, Gustavus Adolphus, set his sights on making Sweden, long a frozen boondocks of Europe, a military and trading power to rival Spain and the rising nations of England and the Dutch Republic.
Days got livlier; with nightfall, the soft slap of waves along the shore was drowned out by drinking songs and angry curses. New Amsterdam was not a city with its own governance but literally a company town."

I strongly suggest this book.

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