Manahatta to Manhattan

Here’s a great reading booklet from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian about the first New Yorkers

The Lenape, Manhattan’s original inhabitants,  called the island Manahatta, which means “hilly island.”

Rich with natural resources, Manahatta had an abundance of fruits, nuts, birds, and animals. Fish and shellfish were plentiful and the ocean was full of seals, whales, and dolphins. Migrant birds flew to local marshes based on the available food supply or weather conditions.

The body of water off the coast of Lower Manhattan is an estuary, a place where saltwater from the Atlantic Ocean mixes with freshwater from the Hudson River. Estuaries are particularly good places for wildlife to live.

The Lenape called the Hudson River Shatemuc, meaning “the river that flows both ways,” because the river alternates its flow from north to south along with the Atlantic tides. Shatemuc was an important water route for the Lenape who traded with other Native people living in villages along its banks.

To read more, click here.

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