Map and Photos of Flatlands Called Amersfoort at its founding, Flatlands was the first settlement made by the Dutch on Long Island in 1636. The move from Manhattan to Long Island was due to the need for pasture land for cattle...Manhattan Island simply didn't have such land available, because it was rocky and hilly, and a lot of Long Island was cleared and flat. The land around Flatlands was also unusually fertile, which made for good farmland. In the first land rush of the New World between 1636 and 1638 most of the eastern half of what would become present-day Brooklyn was acquired by Dutch settlers who traded trinkets and everyday household items to the Native Americans in exchange for the land (the Native Americans had no concept of "ownership" of land). You can see a house preserved from 1675 Flatlands (the Mill Island / Mill Basin area) on the 4th floor of the Brooklyn Museum in Crown Heights -- the Jan Martense Schenck house.
Our primary source for neighborhood names and locations is the
New York City Department of City Planning. Additional information is from Kenneth Jackson and John B.
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