New Netherland (Dutch: Nieuw Nederland; Latin: Nova Belgica or Novum Belgium) was a 17th-century colony of the Dutch Republic that was located on the east coast of America. The claimed territories extended from the Delmarva Peninsula to southwestern Cape Cod, while the more limited settled areas are now part of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut, with small outposts in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
The colony was conceived by the Dutch West India Company (WIC) in 1621 to capitalize on the North American fur trade. It was settled slowly at first because of policy mismanagement by the WIC and conflicts with American Indians. The settlement of New Sweden by the Swedish South Company encroached on its southern flank, while its northern border was redrawn to accommodate an expanding New England Confederation.
The colony experienced dramatic growth during the 1650s and became a major port for trade in the north Atlantic Ocean. The Dutch surrendered Fort Amsterdam on Manhattan island to England in 1664 (formalized in 1667), contributing to the Second Anglo-Dutch War. In 1673, the Dutch retook the area but relinquished it under the Treaty of Westminster (1674), ending the Third Anglo-Dutch War the next year.
The inhabitants of New Netherland were European colonists, American Indians, and Africans imported as slave laborers. The colony had an estimated population between 7,000 and 8,000 at the time of transfer to England in 1674, half of whom were not of Dutch descent.
New Netherland map published by Nicolaes Visscher II (1649–1702)
|Currency||Dutch rijksdaalder, leeuwendaalder|
|Today part of||United States|
During the 17th century, Europe was undergoing expansive social, cultural, and economic growth, known as the Dutch Golden Age in the Netherlands. Nations vied for domination of lucrative trade routes around the globe, particularly those to Asia. Simultaneously, philosophical and theological conflicts were manifested in military battles across the European continent. The Republic of the Seven United Netherlands had become a home to many intellectuals, international businessmen, and religious refugees. In the Americas, the English had a settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, the French had small settlements at Port Royal and Quebec, and the Spanish were developing colonies to exploit trade in South America and the Caribbean.
In 1609, English sea captain and explorer Henry Hudson was hired by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) located in Amsterdam to find a Northeast Passage to Asia, sailing around Scandinavia and Russia. He was turned back by the ice of the Arctic in his second attempt, so he sailed west to seek a Northwest Passage rather than return home. He ended up exploring the waters off the east coast of North America aboard the Flyboat Halve Maen. His first landfall was at Newfoundland and the second at Cape Cod.
Hudson believed that the passage to the Pacific Ocean was between the St. Lawrence River and Chesapeake Bay, so he sailed south to the Bay then turned northward, traveling close along the shore. He first discovered Delaware Bay and began to sail upriver looking for the passage. This effort was foiled by sandy shoals, and the Halve Maen continued north. After passing Sandy Hook, Hudson and his crew entered the Narrows into the Upper New York Bay. (The Narrows was actually discovered in 1524 by explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, and the modern bridge spanning them is named after him.) Hudson believed that he had found the continental water route, so he sailed up the major river that now bears his name. He found the water too shallow to proceed several days later, at the site of Troy, New York.
Upon returning to the Netherlands, Hudson reported that he had found a fertile land and an amicable people willing to engage his crew in small-scale bartering of furs, trinkets, clothes, and small manufactured goods. His report was first published in 1611 by Emanuel Van Meteren, the Dutch Consul at London. This stimulated interest in exploiting this new trade resource, and it was the catalyst for Dutch merchant-traders to fund more expeditions. Merchants such as Arnout Vogels sent the first follow-up voyages to exploit this discovery as early as July 1610.
In 1611–12, the Admiralty of Amsterdam sent two covert expeditions to find a passage to China with the yachts Craen and Vos, captained by Jan Cornelisz Mey and Symon Willemsz Cat respectively. In four voyages made between 1611 and 1614, the area between Maryland and Massachusetts was explored, surveyed, and charted by Adriaen Block, Hendrick Christiaensen, and Cornelius Jacobsen Mey. These surveys and charts were consolidated in Block's map, which used the name New Netherland for the first time; it was also called Nova Belgica on maps. During this period, there was some trading with the Indian population.
Fur trader Juan (Jan) Rodriguez was born in Santo Domingo of Portuguese and African descent. He arrived in Manhattan during the winter of 1613–14, trapping for pelts and trading with the Indians as a representative of the Dutch. He was the first recorded non-native inhabitant of New York City.
The immediate and intense competition among Dutch trading companies in the newly charted areas (especially in New York Bay and along the Hudson River) led to disputes in Amsterdam and calls for regulation. The States General was the governing body of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, and it proclaimed on March 17, 1614 that it would grant an exclusive patent for trade between the 40th and 45th parallels. This monopoly would be valid for four voyages. All of which had to be undertaken within three years after it was awarded. Block's map and the report that accompanied it were used by the New Netherland Company (a newly formed alliance of trading companies) to win its patent, which expired on January 1, 1618.
The New Netherland Company also ordered a survey of the Delaware Valley. This was undertaken by Cornelis Hendricksz of Monnickendam who explored the Zuyd Rivier (literally "South River," today known as the Delaware River) in 1616 from its bay to its northernmost navigable reaches. His observations were preserved in a map drawn in 1616. Hendricksz's voyages were made aboard the IJseren Vercken (Iron Hog), a vessel built in America. Despite the survey, the company was unable to secure an exclusive patent from the States General for the area between the 38th and 40th parallels.
The States General issued patents in 1614 for the development of New Netherland as a private, commercial venture. Soon thereafter, traders built Fort Nassau on Castle Island in the area of present-day Albany up Hudson's river. The fort was to defend river traffic against interlopers and to conduct fur trading operations with the natives. The location of the fort proved to be impractical, however, due to repeated flooding of the island in the summers; it was abandoned in 1618, which coincided with the patent's expiration.
The Dutch West India Company (WIC) (Geoctroyeerde Westindische Compagnie) was granted a charter by the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands on June 3, 1621. It was given the exclusive right to operate in West Africa (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Cape of Good Hope) and the Americas. In New Netherland, profit was originally to be made from the North American fur trade.
Among the founders of the WIC was Willem Usselincx. Between 1600 and 1606, he had promoted the concept that a main goal of the company should be establishing colonies in the New World. In 1620, Usselincx made a last appeal to the States General, which rejected his principal vision as a primary goal. The legislators preferred the formula of trading posts with small populations and a military presence to protect them, which was working in the East Indies, over encouraging mass immigration and establishing large colonies. The company did not focus on colonization in North America until 1654, when it was forced to surrender Dutch Brazil and forfeit the richest sugar-producing area in the world.
The first trading partners of the New Netherlanders were the Algonquian who lived in the area. The Dutch depended on the indigenous population to capture, skin, and deliver pelts to them, especially beaver. It is likely that Hudson's peaceful contact with the local Mahicans encouraged them to establish Fort Nassau in 1614, the first of many garrisoned trading stations to be built. In 1628, the Mohawks (members of the Iroquois Confederacy) conquered the Mahicans, who retreated to Connecticut. The Mohawks gained a near-monopoly in the fur trade with the Dutch, as they controlled the upstate Adirondacks and Mohawk Valley through the center of New York.
The Algonquian Lenape population around New York Bay and along the Lower Hudson were seasonally migrational people. The Dutch called the numerous tribes collectively the River Indians, known by their exonyms as the Wecquaesgeek, Hackensack, Raritan, Canarsee, and Tappan. These groups had the most frequent contact with the New Netherlanders. The Munsee inhabited the Highlands, Hudson Valley, and northern New Jersey, while Minquas (called the Susquehannocks by the English) lived west of the Zuyd Rivier along and beyond the Susquehanna River, which the Dutch regarded as their boundary with Virginia.
Company policy required land to be purchased from the indigenous peoples. The WIC would offer a land patent, the recipient of which would be responsible for negotiating a deal with representatives of the local population, usually the sachem or high chief. The Dutch (referred to by the natives as Swannekins, or salt water people) and the Wilden (as the Dutch called the natives) had vastly different conceptions of ownership and use of land—so much so that they did not understand each other at all. The Dutch thought that their proffer of gifts in the form of sewant or manufactured goods was a trade agreement and defense alliance, which gave them exclusive rights to farming, hunting, and fishing. Often, the Indians did not vacate the property, or reappeared seasonally, according to their migration patterns. They were willing to share the land with the Europeans, but the Indians did not intend to leave or give up access. This misunderstanding and other differences led to violent conflict later. At the same time, such differences marked the beginnings of a multicultural society.
Like the French in the north, the Dutch focused their interest on the fur trade. To that end, they cultivated contingent relations with the Five Nations of the Iroquois to procure greater access to key central regions from which the skins came.
The Dutch encouraged a kind of feudal aristocracy over time, to attract settlers to the region of the Hudson River, in what became known as the system of the Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions. Further south, a Swedish trading company that had ties with the Dutch tried to establish its first settlement along the Delaware River three years later. Without resources to consolidate its position, New Sweden was gradually absorbed by New Holland and later in Pennsylvania and Delaware.
The earliest Dutch settlement was built around 1613, and consisted of a number of small huts built by the crew of the "Tijger" (Tiger), a Dutch ship under the command of Captain Adriaen Block, which had caught fire while sailing on the Hudson. Soon after, the first of two Fort Nassaus was built, and small factorijen or trading posts went up, where commerce could be conducted with Algonquian and Iroquois population, possibly at Schenectady, Esopus, Quinnipiac, Communipaw, and elsewhere.
In 1617, Dutch colonists built a fort at the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers where Albany now stands. In 1624, New Netherland became a province of the Dutch Republic, which had lowered the northern border of its North American dominion to 42 degrees latitude in acknowledgment of the claim by the English north of Cape Cod.[nb 1] The Dutch named the three main rivers of the province the Zuyd Rivier (South River), the Noort Rivier (North River), and the Versche Rivier (Fresh River). Discovery, charting, and permanent settlement were needed to maintain a territorial claim. To this end in May 1624, the WIC landed 30 families at Fort Orange and Noten Eylant (today's Governors Island) at the mouth of the North River. They disembarked from the ship New Netherland, under the command of Cornelis Jacobsz May, the first Director of the New Netherland. He was replaced the following year by Willem Verhulst.
In June 1625, 45 additional colonists disembarked on Noten Eylant from three ships named Horse, Cow, and Sheep, which also delivered 103 horses, steers, cows, pigs, and sheep. Most settlers were dispersed to the various garrisons built across the territory: upstream to Fort Orange, to Kievits Hoek on the Fresh River, and Fort Wilhelmus on the South River. Many of the settlers were not Dutch but Walloons, French Huguenots, or Africans (most as enslaved labor, some later gaining "half-free" status).
Peter Minuit became Director of the New Netherland in 1626 and made a decision that greatly affected the new colony. Originally, the capital of the province was to be located on the South River, but it was soon realized that the location was susceptible to mosquito infestation in the summer and the freezing of its waterways in the winter. He chose instead the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the river explored by Hudson, at that time called the North River.
Minuit traded some goods with the local population, in one of the most legendary real estate deals ever made, and reported that he had purchased it from the natives, as was company policy. He ordered the construction of Fort Amsterdam at its southern tip, around which grew the heart of the province called The Manhattoes in the vernacular of the day, rather than New Netherland.
The port city of New Amsterdam outside the walls of the fort became a major hub for trade between North America, the Caribbean, and Europe, and the place where raw materials were loaded, such as pelts, lumber, and tobacco. Sanctioned privateering contributed to its growth. It was given its municipal charter in 1653, by which time the Commonality of New Amsterdam included the isle of Manhattan, Staaten Eylandt, Pavonia, and the Lange Eylandt towns.
In the hope of encouraging immigration, the Dutch West India Company established the Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions in 1629, which gave it the power to offer vast land grants and the title of patroon to some of its invested members. The vast tracts were called patroonships, and the title came with powerful manorial rights and privileges, such as the creation of civil and criminal courts and the appointing of local officials. In return, a patroon was required by the Company to establish a settlement of at least 50 families within four years who would live as tenant farmers. Of the original five patents given, the largest and only truly successful endeavour was Rensselaerswyck, at the highest navigable point on the North River, which became the main thoroughfare of the province. Beverwijck grew from a trading post to a bustling, independent town in the midst of Rensselaerwyck, as did Wiltwyck, south of the patroonship in Esopus country.
Willem Kieft was Director of New Netherland from 1638 until 1647. The colony had grown somewhat before his arrival but it did not flourish, and Kieft was under pressure to cut costs. At this time, a large number of Indian tribes which had signed mutual defense treaties with the Dutch were gathering near the colony due to widespread warfare and dislocation among the tribes to the north. At first, he suggested collecting tribute from the Indians, as was common among the various dominant tribes, but his demands were simply ignored by the Tappan and Wecquaesgeek. Subsequently, a colonist was murdered in an act of revenge for some killings that had taken place years earlier and the Indians refused to turn over the perpetrator. Kieft suggested that they be taught a lesson by ransacking their villages. In an attempt to gain public support, he created the citizens commission the Council of Twelve Men.
The Council did not rubber-stamp his ideas, as he had expected them to, but took the opportunity to mention grievances that they had with the company's mismanagement and its unresponsiveness to their suggestions. Kieft thanked and disbanded them and, against their advice, ordered that groups of Tappan and Wecquaesgeekbe be attacked at Pavonia and Corlear's Hook, even though they had sought refuge from their more powerful Mahican enemies per their treaty understandings with the Dutch. The massacre left 130 dead. Within days, the surrounding tribes united and rampaged the countryside, in a unique move, forcing settlers who escaped to find safety at Fort Amsterdam. For two years, a series of raids and reprisals raged across the province, until 1645 when Kieft's War ended with a treaty, in a large part brokered by the Hackensack sagamore Oratam.
The colonists were disenchanted with Kieft, his ignorance of indigenous peoples, and the unresponsiveness of the WIC to their rights and requests, and they submitted the Remonstrance of New Netherland to the States General. This document was written by Leiden-educated New Netherland lawyer Adriaen van der Donck, condemning the WIC for mismanagement and demanding full rights as citizens of the province of the Netherlands.
Peter Stuyvesant arrived in New Amsterdam in 1647, the only governor of the colony to be called Director-General. Some years earlier land ownership policy was liberalized and trading was somewhat deregulated, and many New Netherlanders considered themselves entrepreneurs in a free market.
During the period of his governorship, the province experienced exponential growth. Demands were made upon Stuyvesant from all sides: the West India Company, the States General, and the New Netherlanders. Dutch territory was being nibbled at by the English to the north and the Swedes to the south, while in the heart of the province the Esopus were trying to contain further Dutch expansion. Discontent in New Amsterdam led locals to dispatch Adriaen van der Donck back to the United Provinces to seek redress. After nearly three years of legal and political wrangling, the Dutch Government came down against the WIC, granting the colony a measure of self-government and recalling Stuyvesant in April 1652. However, the orders were rescinded with the outbreak of the First Anglo-Dutch War a month later. Military battles were occurring in the Caribbean and along the South Atlantic coast. In 1654, the Netherlands lost New Holland in Brazil to the Portuguese, encouraging some of its residents to emigrate north and making the North American colonies more appealing to some investors. The Esopus Wars are so named for the branch of Lenape that lived around Wiltwijck, today's Kingston, which was the Dutch settlement on the west bank of Hudson River between Beverwyk and New Amsterdam. These conflicts were generally over settlement of land by New Netherlanders for which contracts had not been clarified, and were seen by the natives as an unwanted incursion into their territory. Previously, the Esopus, a clan of the Munsee Lenape, had much less contact with the River Indians and the Mohawks.
New Netherlanders were not necessarily Dutch, and New Netherland was never a homogeneous society. An early governor, Peter Minuit, was a Walloon born in modern Germany who spoke English and worked for a Dutch company. The term New Netherland Dutch generally includes all the Europeans who came to live there, but may also refer to Africans, Indo-Caribbeans, South Americans and even the Native Americans who were integral to the society. Though Dutch was the official language, and likely the lingua franca of the province, it was but one of many spoken there. There were various Algonquian languages; Walloons and Huguenots tended to speak French, and Scandinavians brought their own tongues, as did the Germans. It is likely that the about 100 Africans (including both free men and slaves) on Manhattan spoke their mother tongues, but were taught Dutch from 1638 by Adam Roelantsz van Dokkum. The arrival of refugees from New Holland in Brazil may have brought speakers of Portuguese, Spanish, and Ladino (with Hebrew as a liturgical language). Commercial activity in the harbor could have been transacted simultaneously in any of a number of tongues.
The Dutch West India Company introduced slavery in 1625 with the importation of eleven black slaves who worked as farmers, fur traders, and builders. Although enslaved, the Africans had a few basic rights and families were usually kept intact. Admitted to the Dutch Reformed Church and married by its ministers, their children could be baptized. Slaves could testify in court, sign legal documents, and bring civil actions against whites. Some were permitted to work after hours earning wages equal to those paid to white workers. When the colony fell, the company freed the first slaves and some others, establishing early on a nucleus of free negros.
The Union of Utrecht, the founding document of the Dutch Republic, signed in 1579, stated "that everyone shall remain free in religion and that no one may be persecuted or investigated because of religion". The Dutch West India Company, however, established the Reformed Church as the official religious institution of New Netherland. Its successor church, the Reformed Church in America still exists today. The colonists had to attract, "through attitude and by example", the natives and nonbelievers to God's word "without, on the other hand, to persecute someone by reason of his religion, and to leave everyone the freedom of his conscience." In addition, the laws and ordinances of the states of Holland were incorporated by reference in those first instructions to the Governors Island settlers in 1624. There were two test cases during Stuyvesant's governorship in which the rule prevailed: the official granting of full residency for both Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews in New Amsterdam in 1655, and the Flushing Remonstrance, involving Quakers, in 1657. During the 1640s, two religious leaders, both women, took refuge in New Netherland: Anne Hutchinson and the Anabaptist Lady Deborah Moody.
Apart from the second Fort Nassau, and the small community that supported it, settlement along the Zuyd Rivier was limited. An attempt by patroons of Zwaanendael, Samuel Blommaert and Samuel Godijn was destroyed by the local population soon after its founding in 1631 during the absence of their agent, David Pietersen de Vries.
Peter Minuit, who had construed a deed for Manhattan (and was soon after dismissed as director), knew that the Dutch would be unable to defend the southern flank of their North American territory and had not signed treaties with or purchased land from the Minquas. After gaining the support from the Queen of Sweden, he chose the southern banks of the Delaware Bay to establish a colony there, which he did in 1638, calling it Fort Christina, New Sweden. As expected, the government at New Amsterdam took no other action than to protest. Other settlements sprang up as colony grew, mostly populated by Swedes, Finns, Germans, and Dutch. In 1651, Fort Nassau was dismantled and relocated in an attempt to disrupt trade and reassert control, receiving the name Fort Casimir. Fort Beversreede was built in the same year, but was short-lived. In 1655, Stuyvesant led a military expedition and regained control of the region, calling its main town "New Amstel" (Nieuw-Amstel). During this expedition, some villages and plantations at the Manhattans (Pavonia and Staten Island) were attacked in an incident that is known as the Peach Tree War. These raids are sometimes considered revenge for the murder of an Indian girl attempting to pluck a peach, though it was likely that they were a retaliation for the attacks at New Sweden. A new experimental settlement was begun in 1673, just before the British takeover in 1674. Franciscus van den Enden had drawn up charter for a utopian society that included equal education of all classes, joint ownership of property, and a democratically elected government. Pieter Corneliszoon Plockhoy attempted such a settlement near the site of Zwaanendael, but it soon expired under English rule.
Few Dutch settlers to New Netherland made their home at Fort Goede Hoop on the Fresh River. As early as 1637, English settlers from the Massachusetts Bay Colony began to settle along its banks and on Lange Eylandt, some with permission from the colonial government and others with complete disregard for it. The English colonies grew more rapidly than New Netherland as they were motivated by a desire to establish communities with religious roots, rather than for trade purposes. The wal or rampart was originally built at Wall Street due to fear of an invasion by the English.
Initially, there was limited contact between New Englanders and New Netherlanders, but the two provinces engaged in direct diplomatic relations with a swelling English population and territorial disputes. The New England Confederation was formed in 1643 as a political and military alliance of the English colonies of Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven. Connecticut and New Haven were actually on land claimed by the United Provinces, but the Dutch were unable to populate or militarily defend their territorial claim and therefore could do nothing but protest the growing flood of English settlers. With the 1650 Treaty of Hartford, Stuyvesant provisionally ceded the Connecticut River region to New England, drawing New Netherland's eastern border 50 Dutch miles (approximately 250 km) west of the Connecticut's mouth on the mainland and just west of Oyster Bay on Long Island. The Dutch West India Company refused to recognize the treaty, but it failed to reach any other agreement with the English, so the Hartford Treaty set the de facto border. Connecticut mostly assimilated into New England.
In March 1664, Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland resolved to annex New Netherland and "bring all his Kingdoms under one form of government, both in church and state, and to install the Anglican government as in old England." The directors of the Dutch West India Company concluded that the religious freedom, which they offered in New Netherland, would dissuade English colonists from working toward their removal. They wrote to Director-General Peter Stuyvesant:
. . . we are in hopes that as the English at the north (in New Netherland) have removed mostly from old England for the causes aforesaid, they will not give us henceforth so much trouble, but prefer to live free under us at peace with their consciences than to risk getting rid of our authority and then falling again under a government from which they had formerly fled.
On August 27, 1664, four English frigates led by Richard Nicolls sailed into New Amsterdam's harbor and demanded New Netherland's surrender. They met no resistance because numerous citizens' requests had gone unheeded for protection by a suitable Dutch garrison against "the deplorable and tragic massacres" by the natives. That lack of adequate fortification, ammunition, and manpower made New Amsterdam defenseless, as well as the indifference from the West India Company to previous pleas for reinforcement of men and ships against "the continual troubles, threats, encroachments and invasions of the English neighbors." Stuyvesant negotiated successfully for good terms from his "too powerful enemies". In the Articles of Transfer, he and his council secured the principle of religious tolerance in Article VIII, which assured that New Netherlanders "shall keep and enjoy the liberty of their consciences in religion" under English rule. The Articles were largely observed in New Amsterdam and the Hudson River Valley, but they were immediately violated by the English along the Delaware River, where pillaging, looting, and arson were undertaken under the orders of English officer Sir Robert Carr, Kt. who had been dispatched to secure the valley. Many Dutch settlers were sold into slavery in Virginia on Carr's orders, and an entire Mennonite settlement led by Pieter Corneliszoon Plockhoy, was wiped out, near modern Lewes, Delaware. The 1667 Treaty of Breda ended the Second Anglo-Dutch War; the Dutch did not press their claims on New Netherland, and the status quo was maintained, with the Dutch occupying Suriname and the nutmeg island of Run.
Within six years, the nations were again at war. The Dutch recaptured New Netherland in August 1673 with a fleet of 21 ships led by Vice Admiral Cornelius Evertsen and Commodore Jacob Binckes, then the largest ever seen in North America. They chose Anthony Colve as governor and renamed the city "New Orange," reflecting the installation of William of Orange as Lord-Lieutenant (stadtholder) of Holland in 1672, who became King William III of England in 1689. Nevertheless, the Dutch Republic was bankrupt after the conclusion of the Third Anglo-Dutch War in 1672–1674, the historic "disaster years" in which the republic was simultaneously attacked by the French under Louis XIV, the English, and the Bishops of Munster and Cologne. The States of Zeeland had tried to convince the States of Holland to take on the responsibility for the New Netherland province, but to no avail. In November 1674, the Treaty of Westminster concluded the war and ceded New Netherland to the English.
New Netherland grew into the largest metropolis in the United States, and it left an enduring legacy on American cultural and political life, "a secular broadmindedness and mercantile pragmatism" greatly influenced by the social and political climate in the Dutch Republic at the time, as well as by the character of those who immigrated to it. It was during the early British colonial period that the New Netherlanders actually developed the land and society that had an enduring impact on the Capital District, the Hudson Valley, North Jersey, western Long Island, New York City, and ultimately the United States.
The concept of tolerance was the mainstay of the province's Dutch mother country. The Dutch Republic was a haven for many religious and intellectual refugees fleeing oppression, as well as home to the world's major ports in the newly developing global economy. Concepts of religious freedom and free-trade (including a stock market) were Netherlands imports. In 1682, visiting Virginian William Byrd commented about New Amsterdam that "they have as many sects of religion there as at Amsterdam".
The Dutch Republic was one of the first nation-states of Europe where citizenship and civil liberties were extended to large segments of the population. The framers of the U.S. Constitution were influenced by the Constitution of the Republic of the United Provinces, though that influence was more as an example of things to avoid than of things to imitate. In addition, the Act of Abjuration, essentially the declaration of independence of the United Provinces from the Spanish throne, is strikingly similar to the later American Declaration of Independence, though there is no concrete evidence that one influenced the other. John Adams went so far as to say that "the origins of the two Republics are so much alike that the history of one seems but a transcript from that of the other." The Articles of Capitulation (outlining the terms of transfer to the English) in 1664 provided for the right to worship as one wished, and were incorporated into subsequent city, state, and national constitutions in the United States, and are the legal and cultural code that lies at the root of the New York Tri-State traditions.
Many prominent U.S. citizens are Dutch American directly descended from the Dutch families of New Netherland. The Roosevelt family produced two Presidents and are descended from Claes van Roosevelt, who emigrated around 1650. The Van Buren family of President Martin Van Buren also originated in New Netherland. The Bush family descendants from Flora Sheldon are descendants from the Schuyler family.
The blue, white and orange colors of the flag of New York City, of Albany and of Nassau County are those of the Prinsenvlag ("Prince's Flag"), introduced in the 17th century as the Statenvlag ("States Flag"), the naval flag of the States-General of the Dutch Republic.
The seven arrows in the lion's left claw in the Republic's coat of arms, representing the seven provinces, was a precedent for the thirteen arrows in the eagle's left claw in the Great Seal of the United States.
Any review of the legacy of New Netherland is complicated by the enormous impact of Washington Irving's satirical A History of New York and its famous fictional author Diedrich Knickerbocker. Irving's romantic vision of an enlightened, languid Dutch yeomanry dominated the popular imagination about the colony since its publication in 1809. To this day, many mistakenly believe that Irving's two most famous short stories, "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", are based on actual folk tales of Dutch peasants in the Hudson Valley.
The tradition of Santa Claus is thought to have developed from a gift-giving celebration of the feast of Saint Nicholas on December 6 each year by the settlers of New Netherland. The Dutch Sinterklaas was Americanized into "Santa Claus", a name first used in the American press in 1773, when, in the early days of the revolt, Nicholas was used as a symbol of New York's non-British past. However, many of the "traditions" of Santa Claus may have simply been invented by Irving in his 1809 Knickerbocker's History of New York from The Beginning of the World To the End of The Dutch Dynasty.
Pinkster, the Dutch celebration of Spring is still celebrated in the Hudson Valley.
Dutch continued to be spoken in the region for some time. President Martin Van Buren grew up in Kinderhook, New York, speaking only Dutch, later becoming the only president not to have spoken English as a first language. Pidgin Delaware developed early in the province as a vehicular language to expedite trade. A dialect known as Jersey Dutch was spoken in and around rural Bergen and Passaic counties in New Jersey until the early 20th century. Mohawk Dutch, spoken around Albany, is also now extinct.
Many Dutch words borrowed into English are evident in today's American vernacular and emanate directly from the legacy of New Netherland. For example, the quintessential American word Yankee may be a corruption of a Dutch name, Jan Kees. [nb 2] Knickerbocker, originally a surname, has been used to describe a number of things, including breeches, glasses, and a basketball team. Cookie is from the Dutch word koekje or (informally) koekie. Boss, from baas, evolved in New Netherland to the usage known today.[nb 3]
Early settlers and their descendents gave many placenames still in use throughout the region that was New Netherland. Using Dutch, and the Latin alphabet, they also "Batavianized" names of Native American geographical locations such as Manhattan, Hackensack, Sing-Sing, and Canarsie. Peekskill, Catskill, and Cresskill all refer to the streams, or kils, around which they grew. Schuylkill River is somewhat redundant, since kil is already built into it. Among those that use hoek, meaning corner, are: Red Hook, Sandy Hook, Constable Hook, and Kinderhook. Nearly pure Dutch forms name the bodies of water Spuyten Duyvil, Kill van Kull, and Hell Gate. Countless towns, streets, and parks bear names derived from Dutch places or from the surnames of the early Dutch settlers. Hudson and the House of Orange-Nassau lend their names to numerous places in the Northeast.
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Both in the way it was set up and in the extent of its rights, the council of Twelve Men, as did the two later advisory bodies ...
date = April and May 1911CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
Achter Kol (or Achter Col) was the name given to the region around the Newark Bay and Hackensack River in northeastern New Jersey by the first European settlers to it and was part of the 17th century province of New Netherland, originally administered by the Dutch West India Company. At the time of their arrival, the area was inhabited by the Hackensack and Raritan groups of Lenape.Adriaen van der Donck
Adriaen Cornelissen van der Donck (c.1618 – 1655) was a lawyer and landowner in New Netherland after whose honorific Jonkheer the city of Yonkers, New York is named. In addition to being the first lawyer in the Dutch colony, he was a leader in the political life of New Amsterdam (modern New York City), and an activist for Dutch-style republican government in the Dutch West India Company-run trading post.Enchanted by his new homeland of New Netherland, van der Donck made detailed accounts of the land, vegetation, animals, waterways, topography, and climate. Van der Donck used this knowledge to actively promote immigration to the colony, publishing several tracts, including his influential Description of New Netherland. Charles Gehring, Director of the New Netherland Institute, has called it "the fullest account of the province, its geography, the Indians who inhabited it, and its prospects … It has been said that had it not been written in Dutch, it would have gone down as one of the great works of American colonial literature."Van der Donck is a central figure in Russell Shorto's The Island at the Center of the World, which argues, based on newly translated records from the colony, that he was a great early American patriot, forgotten by history because of the eventual English conquest of New Netherland.Today, he is also recognized as a sympathetic early Native American ethnographer, having learned the languages and observed many of the customs of the Mahicans and Mohawks. His descriptions of their practices are cited in many modern works, such as the 2005 book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus.Bergen, New Netherland
Bergen was a part of the 17th century province of New Netherland, in the area in northeastern New Jersey along the Hudson and Hackensack Rivers that would become contemporary Hudson and Bergen Counties. Though it only officially existed as an independent municipality from 1661, with the founding of a village at Bergen Square, Bergen began as a factorij at Communipaw circa 1615 and was first settled in 1630 as Pavonia. These early settlements were along the banks of the North River (Hudson River) across from New Amsterdam, under whose jurisdiction they fell.Beverwijck
Beverwijck ( BEV-ər-wik; Dutch: Beverwijck), often written using the pre-reform orthography Beverwyck, was a fur-trading community north of Fort Orange on the Hudson River in New Netherland that was renamed and developed as Albany, New York, after the English took control of the colony in 1664.Cornelius Jacobsen May
Cornelis Jacobsen Mey (in English often rendered as Cornelius Jacobsen May) was a Dutch explorer, captain and fur trader. Cape May, Cape May County, and the city of Cape May, New Jersey, are named after him.Director of New Netherland
This is a list of Directors, appointed by the Dutch West India Company, of the 17th century Dutch province of New Netherland (Nieuw-Nederland in Dutch) in North America. Only the last, Peter Stuyvesant, held the title of Director General. As the colony grew, citizens advisory boards - known as the Twelve Men, Eight Men, and Nine Men - exerted more influence on the director and thus affairs of province.
There were New Netherland settlements in what later became the US states of New York, New Jersey, and Delaware, with short-lived outposts in areas of today's Connecticut, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. The capital, New Amsterdam, became the city of New York when the New Netherlanders provisionally ceded control of the colony to the English who renamed the city and the rest of the province in June 1665.
During the restitution to Dutch rule from August 1673 to November 1674, when New Netherland was under the jurisdiction of the City of Amsterdam, the first Dutch governor, Anthony Colve, was appointed.Fort Orange (New Netherland)
Fort Orange (Dutch: Fort Oranje) was the first permanent Dutch settlement in New Netherland; the present-day city of Albany, New York developed at this site. It was built in 1624 as a replacement for Fort Nassau, which had been built on nearby Castle Island and served as a trading post until 1617 or 1618, when it was abandoned due to frequent flooding. Both forts were named in honor of the Dutch House of Orange-Nassau. Due to a dispute between the Director-General of New Netherland and the patroonship of Rensselaerswyck regarding jurisdiction over the fort and the surrounding community, the fort and community became an independent municipality, paving the way for the future city of Albany. After conquest of the region by the English, they soon abandoned Fort Orange (renamed Fort Albany) in favor of a new fort: Fort Frederick, constructed in 1676.Kieft's War
Kieft's War, also known as the Wappinger War, was a conflict (1643–1645) between settlers of the nascent colony of New Netherland and the native Lenape population in what would later become the New York metropolitan area of the United States. It is named for Director-General of New Netherland Willem Kieft, who had ordered an attack without approval of his advisory council and against the wishes of the colonists. Dutch soldiers attacked Lenape camps and massacred the native inhabitants, which encouraged unification among the regional Algonquian tribes against the Dutch, and precipitated waves of attacks on both sides. This was one of the earliest conflicts between Native Americans and European settlers in the region. Displeased with Kieft, the Dutch West India Company recalled him and he died in a shipwreck while returning to the Netherlands. Peter Stuyvesant succeeded him in New Netherland. Because of the continuing threat by the Algonquians, numerous Dutch settlers returned to the Netherlands, and growth of the colony slowed.List of colonial governors of New Jersey
The territory which would later become the state of New Jersey was settled by Dutch and Swedish colonists in the early seventeenth century. In 1664, at the onset of the Second Anglo-Dutch War, English forces under Richard Nicolls ousted the Dutch from control of New Netherland (present-day New York, New Jersey, and Delaware), and the territory was divided into several newly defined English colonies. Despite one brief year when the Dutch retook the colony (1673–74), New Jersey would remain an English possession until the American colonies declared independence in 1776.
In 1664, James, Duke of York (later King James II) divided New Jersey, granting a portion to two men, Sir George Carteret and John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton, who supported the monarchy's cause during the English Civil War (1642–49) and Interregnum (1649–60). Carteret and Berkeley subsequently sold their interests to two groups of proprietors, thus creating two provinces: East Jersey and the West Jersey. The exact location of the border between West Jersey and East Jersey was often a matter of dispute. The two provinces would be distinct political divisions from 1674 to 1702.
West Jersey was largely a Quaker colony due to the influence of Pennsylvania founder William Penn and its prominent Quaker investors. Many of its early settlers were Quakers who came directly from England, Scotland, and Ireland to escape religious persecution. Although a number of the East Jersey proprietors in England were Quakers and First Governor Robert Barclay of Aberdeenshire Scotland (Ury served by proxy) was a leading Quaker theologian, the Quaker influence on the East Jersey government was insignificant. Many of East Jersey's early settlers came from other colonies in the Western Hemisphere, especially New England, Long Island, and the West Indies. Elizabethtown and Newark in particular had a strong Puritan character. East Jersey's Monmouth Tract, south of the Raritan River, was developed primarily by Quakers from Long Island.In 1702, both divisions of New Jersey were reunited as one royal colony by Queen Anne with a royal governor appointed by the Crown. Until 1738, this Province of New Jersey shared its royal governor with the neighboring Province of New York. The Province of New Jersey was governed by appointed governors until 1776. William Franklin, the province's last royal governor before the American Revolution (1775–83), was marginalized in the last year of his tenure, as the province was run de facto by the Provincial Congress of New Jersey. In June 1776, the Provincial Congress formally deposed Franklin and had him arrested, adopted a state constitution, and reorganized the province into an independent state. The constitution granted the vote to all inhabitants who had a certain level of wealth, including single women and blacks (until 1807). The newly formed State of New Jersey elected William Livingston as its first governor on 31 August 1776—a position to which he would be reelected until his death in 1790. New Jersey was one of the original Thirteen Colonies, and was the third colony to ratify the constitution forming the United States of America. It thereby was admitted into the new federation as a state on 18 December 1787. On 20 November 1789 New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.New Amsterdam
New Amsterdam (Dutch: Nieuw Amsterdam, pronounced [ˌniʋɑmstərˈdɑm] or [ˌniuʔɑms-]) was a 17th-century Dutch settlement established at the southern tip of Manhattan Island that served as the seat of the colonial government in New Netherland. The factorij became a settlement outside Fort Amsterdam. The fort was situated on the strategic southern tip of the island of Manhattan and was meant to defend the fur trade operations of the Dutch West India Company in the North River (Hudson River). In 1624, it became a provincial extension of the Dutch Republic and was designated as the capital of the province in 1625.
By 1655, the population of New Netherland had grown to 2,000 people, with 1,500 living in New Amsterdam. By 1664, the population had exploded to almost 9,000 people in New Netherland, 2,500 of whom lived in New Amsterdam, 1,000 lived near Fort Orange, and the remainder in other towns and villages.In 1664 the English took over New Amsterdam and renamed it New York after the Duke of York (later James II & VII). After the Second Anglo-Dutch War of 1665–1667, England and the United Provinces of the Netherlands agreed to the status quo in the Treaty of Breda. The English kept the island of Manhattan, the Dutch giving up their claim to the town and the rest of the colony, while the English formally abandoned Surinam in South America, and the island of Run in the East Indies to the Dutch, confirming their control of the valuable Spice Islands. Today much of what was once New Amsterdam is in New York City.New Netherland Company
New Netherland Company (Dutch: Nieuw-Nederland Compagnie) was a chartered company of Dutch merchants.
Following Henry Hudson's exploration of the east coast of North America on behalf of the Dutch East India Company in 1609, several Dutch merchants sent ships to trade with the Native Americans (mainly fur) and to search for the Northwest Passage. In order to maximize their profits these merchants decided to form the New Netherland Company and on October 11, 1614 they successfully petitioned the Estates-General for a charter of trading privileges. The charter granted a monopoly of trade between the 40th and 45th parallel for a period of three years, starting on January 1, 1615. In 1618 the Company's charter wasn't renewed because negotiations for the formation of the Dutch West India Company were well advanced. After 1618 New Netherland was open to all traders, but the majority of trade was still conducted by the founders of the New Netherland Company until the establishment of the Dutch West India Company in 1621.New Netherland Institute
The New Netherland Institute (formerly Friends of the New Netherland Project) is a non-profit organization created to support the translation and publication of 17th-century Dutch documents from the period of the Dutch colonization of New Netherland.
This effort began when the New Netherland Project was established in 1974 by the New York State Library and the Holland Society of New York. As of 2013, it has translated over 7,000 pages of documents. The Institute also supports the New Netherland Research Center, which opened in 2010 at the New York State Library.One of the primary goals of the Project is to make documentary evidence from the Dutch colony available to American scholars who are unable to read seventeenth-century Dutch, and the documents translated so far have already been used by researchers in a wide variety of disciplines. Among the better-known examples is Russell Shorto's book The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America (2004).New Netherlander
New Netherlanders were residents of New Netherland, the seventeenth-century colonial province of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands on the northeastern coast of North America, centered on the Hudson River and New York Bay, and in the Delaware Valley.
The population of New Netherland was not all ethnically Dutch, but had a variety of ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, including: other European ethnic groups (Germans, Scandinavians, French, Scots, English, Irish, Italians, and Croats); indigenous Amerindian tribes such as Algonquians and Iroquoians; Sephardic Jews (Jews of Spanish and Portuguese backgrounds) both from the Netherlands itself and the then recently lost colony of Dutch Brazil; and West Africans, the last mostly having been brought as slaves.Though the colony officially existed only between 1609 and 1674, the descendants of the original settlers played a prominent role in colonial America. New Netherland culture characterized the region (today's Capital District, Hudson Valley, New York City, western Long Island, northern New Jersey and the Delaware Valley) for two centuries. The concepts of civil liberties and pluralism introduced in the province would later become a mainstay of American political and social life.Patroon
In the United States, a patroon (English: ; from Dutch patroon) was a landholder with manorial rights to large tracts of land in the 17th century Dutch colony of New Netherland on the east coast of North America. Through the Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions of 1629, the Dutch West India Company first started to grant this title and land to some of its invested members. These inducements to foster colonization and settlement (also known as the "Rights and Exemptions") are the basis for the patroon system. In 1775, at the outbreak of the American Revolution, primogeniture and feudal tenure were abolished and thus patroons and manors evolved into simply large estates subject to division and leases.
The deeded tracts were called patroonships and could span 16 miles in length on one side of a major river, or 8 miles if spanning both sides. In 1640, the charter was revised to cut new plot sizes in half, and to allow any Dutch American in good standing to purchase an estate. The title of patroon came with powerful rights and privileges. A patroon could create civil and criminal courts, appoint local officials and hold land in perpetuity. In return, he was required by the Dutch West India Company to – sources vary – establish a settlement of at least 50 families within four years on the land, or "ship fifty colonists to it within four year". As tenants working for the patroon, these first settlers were relieved of the duty of public taxes for ten years, but were required to pay rent to the patroon. A patroonship sometimes had its own village and other infrastructure, including churches.
After the English takeover of New Netherland in 1664, the system continued with the granting of large tracts known as manors, and sometimes referred to as patroonships.Peter Minuit
Peter Minuit, Pieter Minuit, Pierre Minuit, or Peter Minnewit (between 1580 and 1585 – August 5, 1638) was a Walloon from Wesel, in present-day North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, then part of the Duchy of Cleves. His surname means "midnight" in French. He was the 3rd Director of the Dutch North American colony of New Netherland from 1626 until 1631, and 3rd Governor of New Netherland. He founded the Swedish colony of New Sweden on the Delaware Peninsula in 1638.
Minuit is generally credited with orchestrating the purchase of Manhattan Island for the Dutch from the Lenape Native Americans. Manhattan later became the site of the Dutch city of New Amsterdam, and the borough of Manhattan of modern-day New York City. A common account states that Minuit purchased Manhattan for $24 worth of trinkets. A letter written by Dutch merchant Peter Schaghen to directors of the Dutch East India Company stated that Manhattan was purchased "for the value of 60 guilders" in goods, an amount worth approximately $1,050 in 2015 dollars.Peter Stuyvesant
Peter Stuyvesant (English pronunciation (); in Dutch also Pieter and Petrus Stuyvesant); (1610–1672) served as the last Dutch director-general of the colony of New Netherland from 1647 until it was ceded provisionally to the English in 1664, after which it was renamed New York. He was a major figure in the early history of New York City and his name has been given to various landmarks and points of interest throughout the city (e.g. Stuyvesant High School, Stuyvesant Town, Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood, etc.).
Stuyvesant's accomplishments as director-general included a great expansion for the settlement of New Amsterdam beyond the southern tip of Manhattan. Among the projects built by Stuyvesant's administration were the protective wall on Wall Street, the canal that became Broad Street, and Broadway. Stuyvesant, himself a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, opposed religious pluralism and came into conflict with Lutherans, Jews, Roman Catholics and Quakers as they attempted to build places of worship in the city and practice their faiths.Twelve Men
The Council of Twelve Men was a group of 12 men, chosen on 29 August 1641 by the residents of New Netherland to advise the Director of New Netherland, Willem Kieft, on relations with the Native Americans due to the murder of Claes Swits. Although the council was not permanent, it was the first representational form of democracy in the Dutch colony. The next two councils created were known as the Eight Men and the Nine MenWillem Kieft
For the Dutch footballer named Willem (Wim) Kieft, see Wim KieftWillem Kieft (September 1597, Amsterdam – September 27, 1647) was a Dutch merchant and the Director of New Netherland (of which New Amsterdam was the capital) from 1638 to 1647.Wouter van Twiller
Wouter van Twiller (May 22, 1606 – buried August 29, 1654) was an employee of the Dutch West India Company and the Director of New Netherland from 1632 until 1638. He succeeded Peter Minuit, who was recalled by the Dutch West India authorities in Amsterdam for unknown reasons.
|New Netherland series|
|The Patroon System|
|People of New Netherland|
|New Netherland series|
|The Patroon System|
|People of New Netherland|