Fort Amsterdam was the first fort to be built in 1631 by the Dutch settlers in the Caribbean. The Spaniards seized the fort two years later and chose to enlarge it and strengthen its defenses in order to protect the sea route to the Greater Antilles and Puerto Rico and to control access to Great Bay, opposite Philipsburg.
In 1644, Peter Stuyvesant, founder of New York, then New Netherlands, lost a leg in an attempt to recapture the fort for the Dutch. When the Spanish abandoned the island in 1648, the fort was destroyed.
The ruins and foundations have been uncovered in recent archaeological digs. In 1737 the Dutch proclaimed it Fort Amsterdam. It was then successively occupied by the French and English until the year 1816.