9. Governors Island

Governor's Island

On Governors Island was a village called Paggank, or Nut Island, which was named for the area’s abundance of hickory, oak, and chestnut tree nuts. The island, which was used seasonally, was ample for fishing and agriculture for local tribes. The village spoke Canarsee, but there is little evidence that there were any permanent settlements on the island.

Exactly 100 years after Giovanni da Verrazzano first observed the village’s residents in 1524, the first settlers in New Netherland settled on what the Dutch called Noten Eylandt. Wouter van Twiller commandeered the island for his personal use, and he drew up a deed with two Lenape leaders so he could cultivate a farm on the island.