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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 105 of Russell Shorto’s 2004 bestseller about the early history of Manhattan, The Island at the Center of the World:

The [Dutch] West India Company ran the place, and the West India Company never succeeded in making it financially viable; ergo, New Amsterdam never really took flight. But that logic overlooks a crucial turn of events. In 1640 the company gave up its monopoly on trade in the region, which had kept the place from developing in any areas except piracy and smuggling, and declared New Netherland a free trading zone. In this new free-market territory, New Amsterdam would be the “staple port,” the hub through which traders’ and merchants’ ships would pass, where they would pay duties and be cleared for travel. The effect was electric. Small-scale entrepreneurs in Amsterdam who were willing to brave the hazards of the ocean voyage now had, in Manhattan, a hub to exploit – a base around which the circle of Atlantic trade could turn….

On Manhattan, meanwhile, that small change would have far-reaching results. It gave rise, within the space of a few years, to an intensively active merchant class – people who wanted to buy, sell, grow, spend.

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