The Name of the River
Names. Shatemuc was one of the Indian names for the
Hudson River. In
1646 van der Donck was granted a patroonship from the Dutch
West India Company consisting of land from Shatemuc (Hudson)
river to the Aquchung (Bronx) river and from Spyten Duyvil
to Amackassin creek, just north of Yonkers.
as the name for the Hudson River in Washington Irving's
"Knickerbocker's History of New York" (1809).
“The Wappengi and Matteawan tribes called the Hudson
by this name, and the Highlands below the Matteawan, or
Fishkill Mountain, the Hills of the Shatemuc”. It was a common, local name of the Hudson River
before the Civil War and occurred in the writings of Elizabeth
Warton. Mahkannittuk or Muhheakunnuk and Skanehtade are also native names
for the River. Dutch settlers recorded Cahohatatea as the local Indian
name for the Hudson River in the Tappan Zee area.
report various meanings for Shatemuc.
“The Mohegans spoke of the river as the Shatemuc,
a word said to be derived from ‘shaita’, a pelican, though
it has not been proven that such was the Mohegan name for
this bird”. “Dr. Ives
Goddord of the Smithsonian Institution believes Shatemuc
may be a Mahican word.
He compares it with ‘sitemak’, an eastern Abenaki
word meaning ‘on this side of the large river’". William M. Carpenter, the first Captain of
the Shattemuc Canoe Club, writes in 1905 that it means "the
river that rises in the mountains and flows to the sea". Other sources state it means "the river
that flows both ways", although these sources do not
reference that translation.
Names Early maps of the New World call it Riviere
Vendome, Rio de Guames, Rio San Antonio, the Great River,
Manhattan, Mauritius, Nassau, Noorden Kill and Groote Kill. Noordt Rivier, or North River,
first appears on the De Laet-Gerritsz map of 1630. It distinguishes this river from the Zuyd Rivier,
or south river, which was the contemporary name of the Delaware
River. After the
English captured New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664, the
new governor renamed many of the formerly Dutch areas under
his domain. New
Amsterdam became New York after the English Duke of York,
and the North River became Hudson’s River, after the English
explorer who had discovered it on behalf of the Dutch
The Dutch recaptured New York in 1673 and renamed
it New Orange after the prince of Orange, and changed Hudson’s
to the Orange River. The name would soon change back to the North River, and not become
the Hudson River again until the early 1800’s.