Published in 1651, this is the earliest known view of Nieuw Amsterdam (or "New Amsterdam"), the settlement the Dutch colonists established at the southern tip of Manhattan Island in the early seventeenth century.

Appearing in the Beschrijvinghe van Virginia, Nieuw Nederlandt, Nieuw Engelandt, en d'eylanden Bermudes, Berbados en S. Christoffel, the engraving shows the fort and around thirty houses the Dutch West India Company built to cement its presence and trading interests in the area. On the waters in front of the fort, several canoes with Native Americans are surrounded by a range of Dutch vessels, hinting at the colonists' displacement of local populations to achieve their ambitions of territorial expansion.

In 1664 the English took over the Dutch colony, naming it New York City after the Duke of York.

The print forms part of the collection Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes assembled to illustrate his magisterial six-volume Iconography of Manhattan Island (published in installments between 1913 and 1928). Stokes donated the collection in its entirety to the Library's Print Department in 1930.

As part of our month-long Dear NYC series, we're looking at New York City gems hidden away at the New York Public Library. The NYPL’s four research centers offer the public access to over 55 million items, including rare books, manuscripts, letters, diaries, photographs, prints, maps, ephemera, and more. Integral to these robust collections is the Library’s extensive material related to New York City, and as NY works to come together, cope, heal and recover from the 2020 pandemic, economic uncertainty, and the many issues that divide us, it is important to look at that history and remember: New York is resilient. New York is strong. New York has seen its share of hard times. And, as always, with Patience and Fortitude (the names given to the Library’s beloved lions in 1933 by Mayor LaGuardia for the virtues New Yorkers needed to get through the Great Depression) we will get through it, together.