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Pierre Minuit

Founder of New York

Pierre Minuit (1580-1638) established Manhattan as a legal Dutch possession and so helped found New Amsterdam - the future New York City. His parents were Walloon Protestants from Tournai who fled to Germany to escape persecution. In 1626 he became Director-General of the Dutch colony in America called New Netherland, and he bought the island of Manhattan from Native Americans in exchange of various trade goods worth about US $1000. Unusually, Minuit strove to defend the interests of both the colonists and local Native Americans, but he was recalled in 1632.

The famous Wall Street dates back to Minuit's administration time, since it was built up by his Walloon Protestant fellows in order to set up a frontier between the colonist settlement and the Native neighbours.

The Walloon Protestant Church has been related to the Dutch Kingdom ever since the religious reformists in Netherlands supported their fellows fleeing from the neighbouring country and gave them shelter and protection. The expedition to New Amsterdam, the future New York, was therefore commissioned and funded by the Dutch reformist crown, but carried out by Walloon Protestant migrants.

The Walloon Protestant Church in nowadays Netherlands still exists and temple services are still carried out there in the Walloon language.

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