Fort Amsterdam was the command center for Dutch, and subsequent British, rule in New York. It was built in 1625 and marks the founding of NYC. The fort was a strategic stronghold to protect movement up the Hudson River. It was torn down after the Revolutionary War ended.
Fort Amsterdam has undergone several name changes and uses, but
it laid the foundation for one of the most populated and well-known cities in
modern America. In 1620, the Dutch drew up plans for the fort. They needed a
fortification to protect Manhattan, then part of New Amsterdam—modern day New
York, and activities up the Hudson River. Ironically, the Dutch relied on plans
created by a British architect to construct the fort. The fort was to be
star-shaped, surrounded by a moat, and house an expansive array of weaponry.
The fort changed hands
eight times throughout its history. The Dutch built and maintained the fort
from 1625 to 1664. They used it to defend the New Netherlands colony up the
Hudson River, since the British also claimed the land and conducted fur trading
activities in the area. However, in 1664 the British forced the surrender
of the fort, and occupied it for about 10 years. The British changed the name
to Fort James, and renamed New Amsterdam “New York”. Consequently, the British
and Dutch continued to fight over the fort until the American Revolution. The
fort was finally taken under the leadership of George Washington in 1775.
Fort Amsterdam no longer
stands, and its surroundings are vastly different. In its early years, Fort
Amsterdam stood out among the New Amsterdam (Manhattan) wilderness. Some
information indicates that the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Customs House sits on
the location where Fort Amsterdam was. Additionally, when the fort stood on
Manhattan Island, it was on the shore. This changed when projects were undertaken
to fill in the coast areas with dirt.