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Old August 2nd, 2006, 05:12 AM   #1

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Why would you trade land for a couple beads?


I have heard before that the Native Americans traded Manhattan island to the white settlers for a couple of beads. :shock:

What's up with that? Is this the biggest rip off in history? What's worse giving away Manhattan for some beads, or selling all the land west of the Mississippi River for $15 million
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Old August 2nd, 2006, 06:00 AM   #2
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The Natives probably thought they were getting a steal. So they just moved west a bit to some new land. They did what made sense to them at the time. They did not know of economics and real estate back then.
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Old August 2nd, 2006, 06:10 AM   #3

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Yeah, I mean they had a whole friggen country to call their own. Manhattan would have been small to them. It's not like they had to go out and find them a plot and then get a loan from the bank to purchase it.
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Old August 2nd, 2006, 08:15 AM   #4

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Would you sell your posessions for a handful of diamonds? I know I would and risk that in the future people will laugh at me for giving away priceless artifacts for a bunch of rocks.
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Old August 2nd, 2006, 08:51 AM   #5

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The natives thought they were getting the better end of the deal because in their belief system you can't "own" land. The Native Americans thought that everyone had rights to everywhere on the Earth. They thought the stupid white people were paying them to use land that the white people already had access to. I guess you could say that this was an amazing deal for both sides with respect to their belief systems, but unfortunately for the Native Americans their system did not come to rule the continent.
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Old February 10th, 2016, 04:02 PM   #6

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Did they sign over the deed? You know, even at that time, one needed a title or deed to own property. Did they, by chance, even get a receipt for the beads? Are they sure the "Indians" they were speaking to even owned the island to begin with? No, there is no documentation whatsoever. I think the whole story is fake since the English were lying opportunists.

But to answer the question: No. Nobody would give away that amount of land for a few trinkets.

Last edited by StoryMan; February 10th, 2016 at 04:16 PM.
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Old February 10th, 2016, 04:24 PM   #7
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"10 boxes of shirts, 10 ells of red cloth, 30 pounds of powder, 30 pairs of socks, 2 pieces of duffel, some awls, 10 muskets, 30 kettles, 25 adzes, 10 bars of lead, 50 axes and some knives.”

It wasn't the English. It was the Dutch. The above was what Staten Island was sold for. Manhattan was supposed to be for 60 Dutch Guilders, which is probably several thousand dollars in today's money, not beads. It isn't clear that whoever sold those islands had authority to do so.
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Old February 10th, 2016, 04:53 PM   #8

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Apparently payment was accepted by some natives from upstate, who were only passing through, and eagerly accepted "10 boxes of shirts, 10 ells of red cloth, 30 pounds of powder, 30 pairs of socks, 2 pieces of duffel, some awls, 10 muskets, 30 kettles, 25 adzes, 10 bars of lead, 50 axes and some knives" which did not cost them anything.

Last edited by Edgewaters; February 10th, 2016 at 04:55 PM.
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Old February 11th, 2016, 01:27 AM   #9

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More probable it was an alliance deal, in which the Dutch gave that stuff and the Indians OK-ed their presence. The big part of course was an alliance against other tribes in the same area.
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Old February 11th, 2016, 10:49 AM   #10
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The Ruskies flogged Alaska to the yanks in 1867 for $7.2 million = $121 million. I imagine they were a bit miffed when so much oil was discovered. But then Sarah Palin?
The commies got themselves a bargain.
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