Muncie - whose name derives from the Munsees
, an Indian tribe that originally inhabited the area - grew rapidly from the 1880s onwards with first gas then glass, steel and motor industries.
Though the Stuyvesant administration was "by far the most successful in New Netherland's history" this period saw renewed conflicts with the Munsees
and the loss of the colony to the English in 1664, despite a brief restoration of Dutch rule in 1673-1674 (76).
The tracing of negotiations between land-hungry, less than honorable European settlers and mid-Atlantic Indian nations is more shaded with vague defenses and clever bounded titles than is commonly inferred, causing a delay of 150 years or more in court analysis which may have had the effect of buying the Munsees
time to deal with their displacement and removal.
Living mainly in what is now New York and New Jersey, the Munsees
were some of the first native people to be displaced from their traditional lands by European settlers.
In fact, Kaiser shows that Moravians often had difficulty converting Munsees
, when the Moravians went to live among them.
Already joined by Indians driven from the Housatonic valley of Massachusetts, the Oneida lived alongside the Munsees
and Brothertowns, and discussed a voluntary westward migration to escape the pressures of white society.
Through Dutch eyes, the Esopus region was a frontier within the claimed boundaries of New Netherland, a territory where ships and traders passed, sometimes stopping to trade with local Munsees.
The Esopus, like the Dutch, traveled and traded on the Hudson and were part of a larger community of Munsees whose territory stretched, like New Netherland, along the Delaware and Hudson Rivers.
The Munsees were alongshore people in their reliance on both waterways and the flat lands surrounding them for both fishing and farming.
A Dutch presence in the area provided them with easier access to Dutch trade on the Hudson, reducing the interference from Mohawks near Fort Orange and other Munsees at New Amsterdam as well as bringing the Dutch into established Esopus trade networks.
After the so-called Peach War of 1655, which took place primarily in the vicinity of Manhattan and Staten Islands, the Munsees of the lower Hudson lost their sovereignty.
The combination allowed the Mohawks to extend their influence and the longhouse rafters of the Iroquois along the upper and middle Hudson and into the Esopus region, where the Munsees remained a significant presence.