Minuit, Peter mĭn´yo͞oĭt [key], c.1580–1638, first director-general of New Netherland, b. Wesel (then the duchy of Cleves). Sent by the Dutch West India Company to take charge of its holdings in America, Minuit purchased (1626) Manhattan from the Native Americans for trade goods costing 60 Dutch guilders and made New Amsterdam (later New York City) its center. Dismissed by the company in 1631, he later entered into negotiations with the Swedes and headed (1638) the group sent out to found New Sweden . He was lost in a hurricane in the West Indies.
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