In the years after Adrian Van der Donck won a municipal charter for New Amsterdam, and under Peter Stuyvesant's stern but capable rule, the city flourished. Even English residents of New England and Virginia sent their goods to Europe via the future New York Harbor, because the Dutch were so good at the business of shipping. Dutch features that would become part of American culture — from cookies and cole slaw to Santa Claus — became ingrained. Most importantly, the Dutch notions of tolerance, which fostered a multi-ethnic society, and free trade, became rooted in Manhattan.
But in London, King Charles II and his brother, James, the Duke of York, were eager to build an empire. Their plan involved taking over slaving posts in West Africa, reorganizing their American colonies, and taking the Dutch colony, with its strategically located capital. And soon, they would send a squadron of warships to Manhattan.
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