Jan/Juan Rodrigues in 2014

We found this mural of New York’s  first non-native American settler, Jan Rodrigues, in Harlem River Park.  Jan/Juan, a native from Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), lived on these shores in the winter of 1613.  He was hired by the Dutch captain Thijs Volckenz Mossel of the ship ‘Jonge Tobias’ to serve as the translator on a 1613 trading voyage to the Native American island of Mannahatta. When Mossel’s ship returned to the Netherlands, Jan stayed behind (with or without Mossel’s permission, sources are not clear about that) and presumably set up his own trading post with goods given to him by Mossel, consisting of hatchets, some knives, a musket and a sword.

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