Adriaen Block (fl. 1610-1624) was a Dutch navigator who explored the coastal and river valley areas between present-day New Jersey and Massachusetts during the 1610s following the 1609 expedition by Henry Hudson. He is noted for establishing early trade with the Indians, and for the map of his voyage on which many features of the mid-Atlantic region appear for the first time, and on which the term New Netherland is first applied to the region. He is credited with possibly being the first European to enter Long Island Sound and the Connecticut River.
Early Voyages (1610-1612)
Following Hudson's contact with the Indians in the Hudson Valley in 1609, the Dutch merchants in Amsterdam had deemed the area worth exploring as a potential source of trade for beaver pelts, which were a lucrative market in Europe at the time.
The following year in 1610, at the commission of a group of merchants, Block and fellow captain Hendrick Christaensen revisited the area Hudson had explored, bringing back furs and two sons of a native sachem. The prospect of successful fur trade prompted the Dutch East India Company, which had sent Hudson on his original voyage, to send Block on two additional voyages to the Hudson River in 1612 aboard the Fortuyn  (http://olivetreegenealogy.com/nn/mm_shipamny.shtml).
The 1613-1614 Expedition
In 1613, he made a fourth voyage to the lower Hudson in the Tyger accompanied by several other ships especially equipped for trading. While moored along southern Manhattan, the Tyger was accidentally destroyed by fire. Over the winter, he and his men, with help from the Lenape, built the 42-foot ship 16-ton Onrust.
In this latter ship, he explored the East River and was the first known European to navigate the Hellegat (now called Hell Gate) and to enter Long Island Sound. Travelling along Long Island Sound, entered the Housatonic River (which he named "River of Red Hills") and the Connecticut River, which he explored it at least as far as present day Hartford  (http://www.bio.umass.edu/biology/conn.river/block.html). Leaving Long Island Sound, he charted Block Island, which is named for him and Narragansett Bay, where he possibly named "Roode Eylandt" after the red (Dutch roode) color of its soil  (http://international.loc.gov/intldl/awkbhtml/kb-1/kb-1-2-5.html). On Cape Cod, the rendezvoused with one of the other ships of the expedition and left the Onrust behind before returning to Europe.
United New Netherland Company
Upon returning, Block compiled a map of his voyage together with known information of the time. The Block map was the first to apply the name "New Netherland" to area between English Virginia and French Canada, as well as the first to show Long Island as an island.
On October 11, 1614, Block, Christiaensen, and a group of twelve other merchants presented to the States General as a petition to receive exclusive trading priviliges for the area. Their company, the newly-formed United New Netherland Company, was granted exclusive rights for three years