Manhattan ripoff

A seminal moment in American history was the so called purchase of an island by the Dutch in 1626 from a tribe called the Manhattans reported for $24.00US . However, Britannica is more specific claiming the value of the goods traded was about 60 guilders, worth about one and a half pounds of silver. With the present day price for silver @ $4.80 per ounce, the price could more accurately be described as $86.40US today. My best information,(I wish I had better) leads me to believe Manhattan Island is approximately 26 square miles or 16,640 acres. That comes to** 52 cents per acre.**

I seem to recall land prices for large tracts in the west in the 19th century for such a low price, albeit at times when the dollar was worth more.

I’m trying to gain a better understanding as to was it really a major real estate ripoff?

** Is the Manhattan Tansfer the best real estate deal for the purchaser in the history of the US on the basis of price per acre, ignoring land use criteria for value?**

**Manhattan, if this turns into a debate could you please move it over? :slight_smile: **

Perhaps Seward’s Folly (Alaska) ranks up there. too (disregarding current rents, of course, in comparison to Manhattan).

Sort of. IIRC there was a historical note that the Chief of the Canarsee Indians who “sold” it, was pleased that he got a lot of goodies for a piece of land that wasn’t even properly (in the context of tribal zoning) considered to be “his” territory.

I just felt like pointing out that this essentially translates into “Manhattan, could you please do your job?”

This issue has been addressed by Cecil in this column:

He points out that by his calculation the Louisiana Purchase was a better deal than the purchase of Manhattan. He figures that you only need to assume a 5.3% annual inflation rate to show that the price paid for Manhattan, given inflation, is just about the price that the land in Manhattan is worth now.

Thanx for the link Wendell Is there a separate search engine for cecil’s columns? It’s somewhat embarrassing to ask a question that can be found in his columns.

You bet.

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