Written documentation of the history of New York City began with the first European visit to the area by Estev„o Gomes, in command of a Spaniard ship, when he visited the region in 1524. He sailed for the King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. It is believed he sailed in Upper New York Bay where he encountered native Lenape, returned through The Narrows where he anchored the night of April 17, and then left to continue his voyage.
European settlement began on September 3, 1609 when Englishman Henry Hudson in the employ of the Dutch East India Company sailed the Half Moon through The Narrows into Upper New York Bay. Like Christopher Columbus, Hudson was looking for a westerly passage to Asia. He never found one, but he did make note of the abundant beaver population. Beaver pelts were in fashion in Europe, fueling a lucrative business. Hudson's report on the regional beaver population served as the impetus for the founding of Dutch trading colonies in the New World, among them New Amsterdam, which would become New York City. The beaver's importance in New York City history is reflected by its use on the city's official seal.