Minuet, Or Miuuits (properly Minnewit), Peter, an American colonial governor, born in Wesel, Germany, in the latter part of the 16th century, died near Fort Christiana, Delaware, in 1641. He was a Protestant deacon in his native town, and on Dec. 19, 1625, was appointed by the Dutch "West India company its director general in New Netherland, and landed on Manhattan island May 4, 1626. His first measure was to purchase the island from the aborigines for 60 guilders. He built Fort Amsterdam, and maintained the right of the Dutch against the claims of English supremacy over New Netherland. The colony prospered under his administration, but the West India company held him responsible for abuses which had led to the accumulation of landed property in the hands of the patroons, and he was recalled in August, 1631. He sailed in March, 1632. Stress of weather drove his ship into Plymouth, England, where it was attached at the suit of the council of New England, on a charge of illegally trading within the English dominions.
The Dutch ambassador in London protested, but the ship was not released till May 27. Minuit, failing to regain his position under the West India company, offered his services to the Swedish government in 1637, and toward the close of that year sailed from Gothenburg under the auspices of Oxenstiern, and with a commission from the queen of Sweden authorizing him to plant a new colony on the W. coast of Delaware bay. He anchored in Chesapeake bay in March, 1038, and soon began to build Fort Christiana, 2 m. from the continence of Minqua's Kill with the South river, near the present site of Wilmington, and despite the opposition of the Dutch he increased the settlement, which he called New Sweden. It was the first permanent European settlement of Delaware, and was annexed to the Dutch possessions in 1055.