A Wall by Any Other Name

Consider the Wall…In 1653, the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam built a fortification along the northern edge of the town, running from the Hudson River (today's Greenwich Street) to the East River (then lapping at Pearl Street). As we now can prove, this wall was originally built to protect the City from the English. Eventually the English captured the city, and named the street that ran along that old fortification Wall Street. But what did the Dutch call it? In a prime example of a misreading of the historic record, one of the more common Wall Street myths circulating on the Internet is that the Dutch called the street de Waal Straat. Another myth is that the street was only named Wall Street after the wall was removed. An even more absurd myth is currently gaining traction: Hollanders think the street name is derived from a slang word for French-speaking Walloons. The source of this myth notes that the Dutch word for a wall is wal, not waal

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