An Englishman by the name of Henry Hudson was employed by the Netherlands to be one of many explorers who tried to find a route to the Orient by sailing towards the Northwest Passage that will eventually be known as America. Although he sailed on the Dutch ship far up the North River, which was later named after him, he did not succeed in discovering a route to the Orient. Nevertheless, the Dutch claimed all the land for the Dutch East India Company on either side of the Hudson River, despite the fact that the action drove a wedge through English possessions. By 1614, the Netherlands was able to claim the land between Cape Cod and Delaware Bay, and the area was called New Netherland. The first person to become an inhabitant in the land, with the exception of the Native Americans already living there, was Juan Rodriguez, who serves as a merchant for the natives.
In 1624, the inhabitants of New Netherland founded a fur trading settlement on Governors Island. In 1626, they bought Manhattan Island from the natives for 60 Dutch guilders, which was equivalent to only 24 dollars. They built a settlement in the area and called it Fort Amsterdam. In the year 1647, they appointed a governor to take care of the territory and its inhabitants, and this governor was the non-legged Dutchman named Peter Stuyvesant. During his tenure, he was effective in implementing law and order in the land, but many people disagree on his many decisions. One of the reasons why he has a high rate of disapproval among the inhabitants is that he tried to take control of the Dutch Reformed Church, who was completely independent of the government. Because of his fondness of controlling the said church, he alienated other religious groups, such as the Lutherans and Jews, and tried to block them from influencing people to join their religion. Furthermore, Stuyvesant also put forth regulations when it comes to buying and selling liquor or alcohol in his time as the governor.
Stuyvesant eventually let go of his control of New Netherland in 1664, after a fleet of warships sent by James, Duke of York, sailed from England and asked the governor to surrender. The settlement gave up without firing a shot, and although the governor did all he could to make his men fight, they refused to do the Stuyvesant’s favors. After the governor’s surrender, Richard Nicolls, the colonel for the Duke of York, was able to seize control of the businesses in New Netherland. The Dutch inhabitants were allowed to continue living in the settlement, and they were also granted religious freedom.
In honor of James, Duke of York, the settlement’s name of New Netherland was changed to New York. The Duke of York would eventually become James II, the King of England, from 1685 to 1688. The transfer of ownership from the Dutch to the English was finalized in the Treaty of Breda in 1667, which also became the last year of the Second Anglo-Dutch War.
There was another change in New York’s name that happened in 1673 when a Dutch captain named Anthony Colve seized control of the settlement during the Third Anglo-Dutch War. Much like the English soldiers who named the settlement after their leader, the Dutch also changed the name of the colony again to honor their prince, which was William III, the Prince of Orange. For a short time, New York became “New Orange,” and the name was reverted to its previous name after the Dutch gave the settlement to the English again in November 1674 after signing the Treaty of Westminster. After the American Revolutionary War in 1783, the settlement remained as New York, mainly because the countrymen have already become accustomed to its name.
The Big Apple
Besides New York, the city is also known by another name, The Big Apple. This nickname is said to have originated in 1909, from a book written by Edward S. Martin titled The Wayfarer in New York, wherein he used a “big apple” as a metaphor for New York City. This is currently the most accepted origin of the nickname, although there are some skeptics who believed that “The Big Apple” came from the horse racing roots of the city.
According to historical records, the first use of the term “The Big Apple” to signify New York City was during the 1920s, when John J. Fitz Gerald, a writer for the New York Morning Telegraph, often refer to the city as “the big apple” whenever he writes about horse races. The nickname became popular soon after, and Fitz Gerald later used “The Big Apple” in many of his articles that are not horse-racing related. The Big Apple would also find its way on articles written by other writers. In addition, jazz musicians adopted the term to refer to New York City in their songs, and because of the widespread acclaim of the genre during that time, the nickname experienced a surge in popularity.
Both locals and tourists came to know New York City as The Big Apple in the years after the 1920s, and in 1997, the nickname was officially adopted by the local government to indicate the corner of West 54th Street and Broadway. Today, The Big Apple nickname is still being used to refer to the city, with some sports teams even utilizing a large apple as the team mascot.