New Amsterdam was founded in July, 1625, when a settlement was established by the Dutch West India Company. A pentagonal fort was built and a street connecting the two gates was laid out, with a market place in the center. Due to Indian troubles, the settlers at Fort Orange were moved to New Amsterdam in 1626. Two roads, now known as Whitehall and Pearl streets, and two canals, now covered by the pavements of Broad and Beaver streets, formed the limits of the settlement.
In spite of difficulties, the town grew. A new fort, girded with stone, was constructed. In 1637, the unwise and brutal policy of Director Willem Kieft towards the Indians resulted in an Indian was that threatened the town`s existence. Peace was made in 1645.
Peter Stuyvesant arrived in 1646 to succeed Kieft. New ordinances were passed to curb drunkeness in the town and steps were taken to repair the fort, finish the church, and build a school. In 1652, Stuyvesant granted the town a "burgher government," that allowed a degree of autonomy.
A census in 1656 identified 120 houses and enumerated 1000 inhabitants in the city. New Amsterdam was transferred to British control in 1664 with the fall of New Netherland and renamed New York City. It was recaptured by the Dutch in 1673 but control and the new name became finally established when the British regained control in 1674.