What was the reason for founding New York in the 1600s?

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When the English explorer Henry Hudson first came to what is modern-day New York, he was looking for a passage to Asia, just like Christopher Columbus before him. He never found it, of course, but he did notice that Upper New York Bay had a large and thriving beaver population. At that time, beaver pelts were highly fashionable in Europe, and Hudson immediately saw the opportunity to make a lot of money out of this lucrative trade.

In the wake of Hudson's discovery, a number of Dutch settlements were established in Lower Manhattan to take advantage of the huge trading opportunities the New World had to offer. Soon the area prospered, and its growing wealth allowed the Dutch to establish the city of New Amsterdam. But Dutch rule was not destined to last. At that time, the Dutch were engaged in a bitter naval rivalry with England, a rivalry that crossed the Atlantic. The English used their superior naval firepower to conquer New Amsterdam, which they renamed New York after the Duke of York, who in due course would become King James II.

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