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Ships sailed from Amsterdam to the Baltic Sea, North America, and Africa, as well as present-day Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and Brazil, forming the basis of a worldwide trading network.
Amsterdam's merchants had the largest share in both the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company.
In the 19th and 20th centuries the city expanded, and many new neighborhoods and suburbs were planned and built.
The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam and the 19–20th century Defence Line of Amsterdam are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The certificate describes the inhabitants as homines manentes apud Amestelledamme (people residing near Amestelledamme).
Jews from the Iberian Peninsula, Huguenots from France, prosperous merchants and printers from Flanders, and economic and religious refugees from the Spanish-controlled parts of the Low Countries found safety in Amsterdam.
The influx of Flemish printers and the city's intellectual tolerance made Amsterdam a centre for the European free press.
This does not necessarily mean that there was already a settlement then, since reclamation of land may not have been for farming—it may have been for peat, for use as fuel.
From the 14th century on, Amsterdam flourished, largely from trade with the Hanseatic League.