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Its enslaved Africans built whatever New Amsterdam needed.
  • A wall and a fort to protect against native peoples and rival English colonies.
  • A dock to receive cargoes from the Hudson Valley and from overseas.
  • Roads into the interior of bountiful Manhattan Island.
Eventually the Africans won "half-freedom." They still had to pay an annual tax and could be called back to work for the Dutch West India Company. But they had their own homes and the chance to create one of the first free black communities in North America.

The Dutch built and grew wealthy on the Atlantic's first empire of sugar, slaves, and ships and they bound their colony of New Amsterdam into a trading network by the mid-17th century. Enslaved Africans were at work in New Amsterdam from its beginning. They cleared land, grew crops, and built roads, houses, and forts. But some of them secured their freedom and the Dutch allowed them to settle nearby in "the land of the blacks."
Granting "Half-Freedom" to New Amsterdam's First Blacks.
Manuel was Kidnapped at Sea.
The Life of Dorothy Creole.