At the bottom of Manhattan, this statue shows a Dutchman buying the island for $24 worth of beads in 1626. The truth is nothing so sweet. The Dutch gave perhaps $2400 worth of trade goods -- metal kettles, steel axes and knives, guns, and brightly colored wool blankets -- to the Canarsies, who lived in Brooklyn and had no claim to Manhattan. The Weckquaesgeeks, who did live on Manhattan, were not amused. Then in the 1640s, with help from the Canarsies, the Dutch exterminated most of the Weckquaesgeeks. Ever since, the $24 myth has made Indians look silly, because telling what really happened might make the Dutch look immoral.
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