Here’s how Amsterdam turned into New York overnight. New Amsterdam was renamed New York on September 8, 1664, in honor of the then Duke of York (later James II of England), in whose name the English had captured it. In 1667 the Dutch gave up their claim to the town and the rest of the colony, in exchange for control of the Spice Islands. Was it a good deal? Well, possibly, but what spices? And why is that man hanging in the middle of the picture below?