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This 1685 reprint of a 1656 map indicates "Wickquaskeck" in Westchester County above Manhattan island and "Manhattans" on it.

The Wecquaesgeek (also Manhattoe and Manhattan) were a Munsee-speaking band of Wappinger people who once lived along the east bank of the Hudson River in the southwest of today's Westchester County, New York.[1]

As was common practice early in the days of European settlement of North America, a people came to be associated with a place, with its name displacing theirs among the settlers and those associated with them, such as explorers, mapmakers, trading company superiors who sponsored many of the early settlements, and officials in the settlers' mother country in Europe.

Known by many generally similar spellings,[a] they fished the region's streams and lakes with rods and nets.[3] Their main settlements flanked the then Saeck Kill—today's Saw Mill River—at its confluence with the Hudson at Getty Square in present-day Yonkers.


The main Weckquaesgeek settlements flanked the then Saeck Kill—today's Saw Mill River—at its confluence with the Hudson River in present-day Yonkers. It was bordered by the Sintsink to the north, below today's Ossining, and inland toward Long Island Sound to that of the Siwanoy, both related Wappinger bands.[1]

To the south their range included the upper three-quarters of Manhattan island, which they did not permanently occupy but used as a hunting ground.[4] Effectively it was their land that the Canarsee people of today's Brooklyn, who only occupied the very southern end of Manhattan island, an area known as the Manhattoes, sold to the Dutch.

The Dutch ended up with the island, and the Wecquaesgeek being called the "Manhattoe" or "Manhattan" Indians.


  1. ^ Including Wiechquaeskeck, Wickquasgeck, Weckquaesgeek[2]


  1. ^ a b Their presence on the east bank of the Hudson River in today's Westchester County is clearly labeled on the 1685 revision by Petrus Schenk Junior, Novi Belgii Novæque Angliæ , of a 1656 map by Nicolaes Visscher.
  2. ^ Cohen, Doris Darlington. "The Weckquaesgeek" (PDF). Ardsley Historical Society.
  3. ^ French, Alvah P. (1925). History of Westchester County, New York. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company. LCCN 25018271. OCLC 3554289. OL 22135974M.
  4. ^ "The $24 Swindle", Nathaniel Benchley, American Heritage, 1959, Vol. 11, Issue 1

See also[edit]

  • Canarsee, the Native American band that sold Manhattan to the Dutch

External links[edit]