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 North America. The claimed territories
extended from the
Delmarva Peninsula to extreme southwestern Cape Cod,
while the more limited settled areas are now part of the Mid-Atlantic
States of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut, with small
Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
The colony was conceived by the
Dutch West India Company
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 surrender of Fort
England in 1664 was formalized in 1667, contributing to
the Second Anglo-Dutch War. In 1673, the Dutch retook the area but
relinquished it under the Second Treaty of Westminster, ending the
Third Anglo-Dutch War
Third Anglo-Dutch War the next year.
The inhabitants of
New Netherland were European colonists, American
Africans imported as enslaved laborers. The colony had an
estimated population between 7,000 and 8,000 at the time of transfer
England in 1664, half of whom were not of Dutch descent.
Descendants of the original settlers played a prominent role in
colonial America, and
New Netherland Dutch culture characterized the
region for two centuries, encompassing today's Capital District around
Albany, the Hudson Valley, western Long Island, northeastern New
Jersey, and New York City.
2.1 Chartered trading companies
2.2 Pre-colonial population
2.3 Early settlement
2.4 North River and The Manhattans
2.5 Kieft's War
2.6 Director-General Stuyvesant
4 Expansion and incursion
4.1 South River and New Sweden
4.2 Fresh River and New England
5 Capitulation, restitution, and concession
6.1 Political culture
7 See also
9 Further reading
9.1 Primary sources
10 External links
Map based on Adriaen Block's 1614 expedition to New Netherland,
featuring the first use of the name. It was created by Dutch
cartographers in the Golden Age of Dutch exploration (ca.
1590s–1720s) and Netherlandish cartography (ca. 1570s–1670s).
New Netherland and New England, with north to the right
During the 17th century,
Europe was undergoing expansive social,
cultural, and economic growth, known as the
Dutch Golden Age
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 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, the French had small settlements at Port
Royal and Quebec, and the Spanish were developing colonies to exploit
South America and the Caribbean.
In 1609, English sea captain and explorer
Henry Hudson was hired by
Flemish émigrés running the
Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company (VOC)
located in Amsterdam to find a northeast passage to Asia, sailing
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 vlieboot 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
St. Lawrence River and Chesapeake Bay, so he sailed south to the Bay
then turned northward, traveling close along the shore. He first
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. (Unbeknownst to Hudson, the
narrows had already been discovered in 1524 by explorer Giovanni da
Verrazzano; today, the bridge spanning them is named after
Verrazzano.) Hudson believed that he had found the continental
water route, so he sailed up the major river that later bore his name.
He found the water too shallow to proceed several days later, at the
site of present-day 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, an Antwerp émigré and 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
Flemish Lutheran émigré merchants such as Arnout Vogels
sent the first follow-up voyages to exploit this discovery as early as
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 present-day
Massachusetts was explored, surveyed, and charted by Adriaen Block,
Hendrick Christiaensen, and Cornelius Jacobsen Mey. The results of
these explorations, surveys, and charts made from 1609 through 1614
were consolidated in Block’s map, which used the name New Netherland
for the first time. On maps, it was also called Nova Belgica. During
this period, there was some trading with the native population.
Fur trader Juan Rodriguez (known as Jan Rodrigues among the Dutch) was
Santo Domingo of Portuguese and African descent. He arrived in
Manhattan during the winter of 1613–14, trapping for pelts and
trading with the local population as a representative of the Dutch. He
was the first recorded non-native inhabitant of what became New York
Chartered trading companies
The West India House in Amsterdam, headquarters of the Dutch West
India Company from 1623 to 1647
The storehouse of the
Dutch West India Company
Dutch West India Company in Amsterdam, built in
1642, became the headquarters of the board in 1647 because of
financial difficulties after the loss of Dutch Brazil.
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.
New Netherland Company
New Netherland Company also ordered a survey of the Delaware
Valley. This was undertaken by Cornelis Hendricksz of
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.
Dutch West India Company
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
West Africa (between the
Tropic of Cancer
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
Dutch Brazil and forfeit the richest sugar-producing area
in the world.
Part of a series on
of the Americas
First wave of European colonization
Colonization of Canada
Colonization of the United States
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
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
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
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
Main article: Governors Island
Fortifications of New Netherland
Fortifications of New Netherland and New Netherland
Map showing the area claimed by the Dutch in North-America and several
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
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,
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
VOC 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 Kievets 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).
North River and The Manhattans
Main article: New Amsterdam
See also: History of Brooklyn; History of Albany, New York; Rondout,
New York; and Bergen, New Netherland
Map (c. 1639),
Manhattan situated on the North River (North arrow
pointing to the right)
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
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
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
Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions
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.
Main article: Kieft's War
Willem Kieft was Director
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 Keift, 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
New Netherland lawyer Adriaen van der Donck,
condemning the VOC for mismanagement and demanding full rights as
citizens of the province of the Netherlands.
St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery, site of Stuyvesant's grave
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
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.
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 VOC, 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
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
the Portuguese, encouraging some of its residents to emigrate north
and making the North American colonies more appealing to some
Esopus Wars are so named for the branch of
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
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
Manhattan spoke their mother tongues, but were taught Dutch
from 1638 by Adam Roelantsz van Dokkum. English was already on the
rise to become the vehicular language in world trade,
and settlement by individuals or groups of English-speakers started
soon after the inception of the province. 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.
Dutch West India Company
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
Anne Hutchinson and the
Anabaptist Lady Deborah Moody.
Expansion and incursion
South River and New Sweden
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
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
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.
Fresh River and New England
Nicolaes Visscher I
Nicolaes Visscher I (1618–1679), Novi Belgii Novæque Angliæ,
reprint of 1685, which is not a completely correct representation of
the situation at the time. The border with New
England had been
adjusted to 50 miles (80 km) west of the Fresh River, while the
Lange Eylandt towns west of Oyster Bay were under Dutch jurisdiction.
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
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. Developing simultaneously with that of
New Netherland, the English colonies grew more rapidly, since
settlement by religious groups (rather than trade) was the impetus for
their creation and growth. The wal, or rampart, was originally built
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.
New England Confederation
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
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
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.
assimilated into New England, although the western part of the state
maintained stronger ties with the Tri-State Region.
Capitulation, restitution, and concession
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In March 1664, Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland resolved to
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.
Early image of "Nieuw Amsterdam", made in 1664, the year it was
surrendered to English forces under Richard Nicolls
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
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
Mennonite settlement was wiped out, led by Pieter Corneliszoon
Plockhoy 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
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.
Dutch Republic was bankrupt after the conclusion of
Third Anglo-Dutch War
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
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
New Netherland to the English.
The original settlement has grown into the largest metropolis in the
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
New Amsterdam that "they have as many sects of
religion there as at Amsterdam".
Dutch Republic was one of the first nation-states of
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
Martin Van Buren also originated in New Netherland. The Bush family
descendants from Flora Sheldon are descendants from the Schuyler
The Prinsenvlag or "Prince's Flag", featuring the blue, white, and
orange of New York City's flag and some others
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
Flag"), the naval flag of the States-General of the Dutch Republic.
They are also seen in materials from New York's two World's Fairs and
the uniforms of the
New York Knicks
New York Knicks basketball club, the New York Mets
baseball club, and the
New York Islanders
New York Islanders hockey club.
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
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
"Main Street" for the province, the Noort Rivier, was one of the three
main rivers in New Netherland. In maritime usage, North River is still
the name for that part of the Hudson between
Hudson County and
Dutch continued to be spoken in the region for some time. President
Martin Van Buren
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.
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]
Main article: Toponymy of New Netherland
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.
New York City
New York City portal
New Jersey portal
New York portal
New Netherland series
Fort Nassau (North)
Fort Nassau (South)
Fort Goede Hoop
Fort Nya Korsholm
Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions
Cornelius Jacobsen May (1620–25)
Willem Verhulst (1625–26)
Peter Minuit (1626–32)
Sebastiaen Jansen Krol (1632–33)
Wouter van Twiller
Wouter van Twiller (1633–38)
Willem Kieft (1638–47)
Peter Stuyvesant (1647–64)
People of New Netherland
New Netherland fortifications
New Netherland settlements
New Holland (Acadia)
New Netherland 1614-1667 - Documentary
New Netherland Project to translate and publish 17th century Dutch
documents about the colony
Congregation Shearith Israel, Jewish temple founded in the colony in
First Shearith Israel Graveyard, the only remaining 17th century
structure in Manhattan.
Dutch American, an inhabitant of the
United States of whole or partial
Dutch Colonial, an architectural revival movement
Holland Society of New York
List of English words of Dutch origin
List of place names of Dutch origin
^ see John Smith's 1616 map as self-appointed Admiral of New England
^ Yankee : from Jan Kees, a personal name, originally used
mockingly to describe pro-French revolutionary citizens, with allusion
to the small keeshond dog, then for "colonials" in New Amsterdam. The
Oxford English Dictionary has quotations with the term from as early
^ From Dutch baas, a term of respect originally used to address an
older relative. Later, in New Amsterdam, it came to mean a person in
charge who was not a master.
^ a b "The
New Netherland Dutch". The People of Colonial Albany live
here. Feb 2003.
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The New York Times". The New York Times (New York ed.). p. 39.
ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 6, 2009.
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^ a b c "The Dutch in America, 1609–1664" (The Library of Congress
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^ Sandler, Corey.
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^ a b c "The
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^ Wroth, Lawrence (1970). The Voyages of Giovanni da Verrazzano,
1524–1528. New Haven: Yale University Press.
^ Nieuwe Wereldt ofte Beschrijvinghe van West-Indien, uit veelerhande
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Bonaventure & Abraham Elseviers, 1625)p.84:"/tot by de 43 graden
by noorden de linie/ alwaer de rivier heel nauw werdt ende ondiep/ soo
dat sy terugghe keerden."("up to 43 degrees north by the line/ where
the river got very narrow and shallow/ upon which they returned")
^ Nieuwe Wereldt ofte Beschrijvinghe van West-Indien, uit veelerhande
Schriften ende Aen-teekeningen van verscheyden Natien (Leiden,
Bonaventure & Abraham Elseviers, 1625) p.84: "Hendrick Hudson met
dit raport wederghekeert zijnde 't Amsterdam/ zoo hebben eenighe
koop-lieden in den jare 1610 weder een schip derwaerts gezonden/ te
weten naer deze tweede rivier/ de welcke zij den naem gaven van
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to which they gave the name Manhattes")
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scholarly history to 1674 online 1st edition
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from Dutch Days to the Present (1956)
Several primary sources (both translated and in the original Dutch)
can be found in Online Publications at the website of the New
Netherland Institute. Also included on the NNI site is a comprehensive
list of scholarly, nonfiction publications broadly related to the
seventeenth-century Dutch colony and its legacy in America.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to New Netherland.
The Mannahatta Project
Slavery in New York
New Netherland Museum and the Half Moon
New Netherland Institute
Dutch Portuguese Colonial History
New Netherland and Beyond
A Brief Outline of the History of
New Netherland at the University of
Old New York: Hear Dutch names of New York
Colonies and trading posts of the Dutch East India Company
Northeast coast of Java
West coast of Sumatra
Colonies and trading posts of the Dutch West India Company
Colonies in the Americas
Curaçao and Dependencies
Sint Eustatius and Dependencies
Trading posts in Africa
1 Governed by the Society of Berbice
2 Governed by the Society of Suriname
Settlements of the
Noordsche Compagnie (1614–1642)
Colonies of the Kingdom of the
Dutch East Indies
Curaçao and Dependencies 3
3 Became constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands;
Suriname gained full independence in 1975,
Curaçao and Dependencies
was renamed to the
Netherlands Antilles, which was eventually
dissolved in 2010.
Kingdom of the
Public bodies of the Netherlands
European colonization of North America
1 Article also discusses colonization in Central and Sout