In May 1624, the first settlers in New Netherland arrived on Noten Eylandt (Nut or Nutten Island, now Governors Island) aboard the ship New Netherland. Dutch West India Company wanted to protect the entrance to the Hudson River and sponsored 30 families to move from Nut Island to Manhattan Island, where a citadel to contain Fort Amsterdam was being laid out. By the end of 1625, the site had been staked out and by 1628, a small fort was built with walls containing a mixture of clay and sand. The fort also served as the center of trading activity.
In the 1630s and 1640s, New Amsterdam had a population of about 270 people. Settlers built mills and in 1642 a stone church was built within the fort. New Amsterdam received municipal rights on February 2, 1653.
On August 27, 1664, while England and the Dutch Republic were at peace, four English frigates sailed into New Amsterdam's harbor and demanded New Netherland's surrender. This was swiftly followed by the Second Anglo-Dutch War and in 1665, New Amsterdam was reincorporated under English law as New York City, named after the Duke of York (later King James II). He was the brother of the English King Charles II, who had been granted the lands.
In July 1673, during the Third Anglo-Dutch War, the Dutch briefly and quickly occupied New York City and renamed it New Orange. In 1674, the city was relinquished to the English and the name reverted to "New York".