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 at the end of the colony in the Delaware Valley.

The population of New Netherland was not all ethnically Dutch,[1] 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.[2]

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 and northern New Jersey) 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.


The Dutch in 1602 created the East India Company that acted with sovereign powers. The Company first essential base, was trade, but control of some goods go to occupy territories. The colonial administration was autonomous and the Company preferred to rule through agreements with local leaders.

In 1621, the West India Company was founded, whose greatest benefit came from the slave trade and piracy, which operated out of Zeeland, especially against Spanish ships. The Dutch Company dominated the slave trade during the seventeenth century. In 1648, the Dutch had three major settlements in America and were involved in the fur trade to the north. And they had problems on trading, because of the large amount of people that traded.

On the Atlantic coast, their bases for the slave trade and smuggling with the Spanish colonies. In the Caribbean and partly in Brazil and Suriname, plantations were done by native Indians and African slaves.[3] There were around 1,000 whites there, joined by Brazilian Jews, attracted by religious freedom which was granted to all the settlers.

The first non-Native American to settle in Manhattan was Juan Rodriguez (transcribed as Jan Rodrigues in Dutch), a Dominican man of African and Portuguese descent born in Santo Domingo.[4][5][6][7] The second Director of New Netherland, Peter Minuit, was a German-born Huguenot who worked for the Dutch West India Company.[8]

New Amsterdam was founded in 1624. The ship Nieu Nederlandt departed with the first settlers, consisting of thirty Flemish Walloon families. The families were spread out over the entire territory claimed by the company. To the north a few families were left at the mouth of the Connecticut River, while to the south some families were settled at Burlington Island on the Delaware River. Others were left on Nut Island, now called Governor's Island, at the mouth of the Hudson River, while the remaining families were taken up the Hudson to Fort Orange. Later in 1624 and through 1625 six additional ships sailed for New Netherland with colonists, livestock and supplies.

Differences in conceptions of property rights between the Europeans and the Lenape resulted in widespread confusion among the Lenape and the eventual loss of their lands. After the Dutch arrival in the 1620s, the Lenape were successful in restricting Dutch settlement until the 1660s to Pavonia in present-day Jersey City along the Hudson.

It soon became clear the northern and southern outposts had to be abandoned. Also, due to a war between the Mohawk and Mahican tribes in 1625,

The Dutch finally established a garrison at Bergen, which allowed settlement west of the Hudson within the province of New Netherland. the women and children at Fort Orange were forced to move to safety. At this point, in the spring of 1626, the Director General of the company, Peter Minuit, came to the province. Minuit motivated to get a safe place, purchased the island of Manhattan. He immediately contracted engineer Cryn Fredericksz to start the construction of Fort New Amsterdam.

Because of the dangers and hardships of life in the colony some colonists decided to return to the homeland in 1628. By 1630 the total population of New Netherland was about 300, many being French-speaking Walloons. It is estimated about 270 lived in the area surrounding Fort Amsterdam, primarily working as farmers, while about 30 were at Fort Orange, the center of the Hudson valley fur trade with the Mohawks.

The Lenape's quick adoption of trade goods, and their need to trap furs to meet high European demand, resulted in their disastrous over-harvesting of the beaver population in the lower Hudson Valley. With the fur resources exhausted, the Dutch shifted their operations to present-day upstate New York. While the Lenape produced wampum in the vicinity of Manhattan Island, temporarily forestalling the negative effects of this decline in trade,[9]

Dutch settlers founded a colony at present-day Lewes, Delaware, on June 3, 1631, and named it Zwaanendael (Swan Valley).[10] The colony had a short existence, as in 1632 a local band of Lenape Indians killed the 32 Dutch settlers after a misunderstanding escalated over Lenape defacement of the insignia of the Dutch West India Company.[11] In 1634, the Iroquoian-speaking Susquehannock went to war with the Lenape over access to trade with the Dutch at New Amsterdam. They defeated the Lenape, and some scholars believe that the Lenape may have become tributaries to the Susquehannock.[12]

Lenape population fell, due mostly to epidemics of infectious diseases carried by Europeans, such as measles and smallpox, to which they had no natural immunity.

Early ships to the new colony carried mostly Walloon passengers and Africans being brought as slaves, many of whom later became free.[13] Sephardi Jews arrived after the loss of Dutch Brazil.[14] Sarah Rapelje[15] was the first female child of European parentage born in the colony of New Netherland.[16][17]

An early settler from Africa was a wealthy Muslim, and land owner, Anthony Janszoon van Salee although really he was a religious refugee from Spain. From 1340 Portugal populated desert atlantic islands. Colonization was a success and provided a growing population for other Atlantic colonies. The route from Europe passed through the Azores islands. By 1490 were 2,000 Flemings living in the islands of Terceira, Pico, Faial, São Jorge and Flores. Because there was such a large Flemish settlement, the Azores became known as the Flemish Islands or the Isles of Flanders. Prince Henry the Navigator was responsible for this settlement. His sister, Isabel, was married to Duke Philip of Burgundy of which Flanders was a part. King Manuel I of Portugal populated the São Tomé and Príncipe islands, in the slave trade route, with about 2,000 entrepreneurs Sephardic Jews refugees after their expulsion from Spain. The first group of Spanish and Portuguese Jews arrived in New York (New Amsterdam) in September 1654.

The Dutch set up two forts, Fort Nassau in 1614 and Fort Orange in 1624, both named for the Dutch noble House of Orange-Nassau. This established a Dutch presence in the area. In June 1620, the Dutch West India Company was established by the States-General and given enormous powers. In the name of the States-General, it had the authority to make contracts and alliances with princes and natives, build forts, administer justice, appoint and discharge governors, soldiers, and public officers, and promote trade in New Netherland.[18]

The black population is dated by Dutch West India Company in 1625 with the importation of eleven black slaves. When the colony fell, the company freed all its slaves, establishing early on a nucleus of free negros.[19]

The arrival of the immigrants did not necessarily mean the departure of the indigenous people. The concept of ownership as understood by the Swannekins, or salt water people, was foreign to the Wilden, or natives.[20] The exchange of gifts in the form of sewant or manufactured goods was perceived as trade agreement and defense alliance which included farming, hunting, and fishing rights. Often, the Indians did not vacate the property or reappeared as their migrational patterns dictated.[21] The River Indians, such as the Wecquaesgeek, Hackensack, and Canarsee, within whose territories many European settlements were established, had regular and frequent contact with the New Netherlanders.

In 1630, the managers of the West India Company, in order to tempt the ambition of capitalists, offered certain exclusive privileges to the members of the company. The realization that greater inducements had to be offered to increase the development of the colony led the West India Company to the creation of the so-called "patroon system". In 1629, the West India Company issued its charter of "Freedoms and Exemptions" by which it was declared that any member of the Company who could bring to and settle 50 persons over the age of 15 in New Netherland, should receive a liberal grant of land to hold as patroon, or lord, with the exception, per Article III, of the island of Manhattan. This land could have a frontage of 16 miles (26 km) if on one side of a river, or 8 miles (13 km) if situated on both sides. The patroon would be chief magistrate on his land, but disputes of more than 50 guilders could be appealed to the Director and his Council in New Amsterdam. The first of this vast estate or colony was established in 1630, on the banks of the Hudson River. Over a period of four years was entitled to a plot with 25 miles of front to the river, with exclusive rights to hunting and fishing, and civil jurisdiction and criminal on earth. In turn, the patroon brought livestock, implements and buildings. Tenants pay rent to the agent and gave him first option on surplus crops. The only restriction was that the colony had to be outside the island of Manhattan.[18] A pattern of these colonies was the Manor of Rensselaerswyck.

Among the many settlers who sailed from the United Provinces of the Netherlands were Dutch, Flemish, Walloon, Huguenot, German, and Scandinavian people, who are sometimes called "New Netherland Dutch".[22]

Pietro Cesare Alberti, from Venice, is regarded as the first Italian settler in what is now New York State, having arrived in New Amsterdam in 1635.

Also there was fishermen and sailors, especially Portuguese and Basque.

African slaves belonging the Dutch West India Company may have been brought directly, or via the Caribbean or other European colonies.

English language speakers mostly arrived from New England and Long Island. In mid-seventeenth century, for political and religious unrest in England, emigrated to the Atlantic coast of North America, numerous Protestant Puritans, who settled in New Amsterdam. Among the early English settlers were two religious leaders, Anabaptist Lady Deborah Moody in 1645 and Anne Hutchinson, who took refuge in the province.

Everardus Bogardus the second minister of the Dutch Reformed Church, the oldest established church in present-day New York, frequently was combative with the Director-General of the New Netherlands and their management of the Dutch West India Company colony, going up against the often-drunk Wouter van Twiller and famously denouncing Willem Kieft from the pulpit during the colony's disastrously bloody Kieft's War (1643–1645). He stepped up his denouncements when Kieft tried to place a tax on beer. Bogardus himself has been described as a stout and rarely sober individual. A Council of Twelve Men was chosen on 1641 by the residents of New Amsterdam to advise the Director of New Netherland, Willem Kieft, on relations with the Native Americans due to the murder of Claes Swits.[23] the council was not permanent, The next time a council of eight men was created.

Peter Stuyvesant arrived in New Amsterdam on May 11, 1647 to replace Willem Kieft as Director-General of the New Netherland colony.[24] Though Dutch was the official language, and likely the lingua franca of the province, it was but one of many spoken there,[25] as many as eighteen by the 1630s.[26] The Algonquin language had many dialects. Walloons and Huguenots tended to speak French. Scandinavians brought their tongues, as did the Germans. Africans may have spoken their mother tongues as well.[27] English was on the rise to become the vehicular language in world trade, and settlement by individuals or groups of English-speakers started early. The arrival of refugees from New Holland in Brazil may have brought more Portuguese, Spanish, and Judaeo-Spanish speakers. Commercial activity in the harbor, which included pirateering, could have been transacted simultaneously in any of a number of tongues. In some cases people Batavianized their names[21][28] to conform with the Dutch vernacular and official language, which also greatly influenced placenaming.

Although the Dutch West India Company had established the Reformed Church as the official religious institution of New Netherland,[29] the early Dutch settlers planted the concept of tolerance as a legal right in North America as per explicit orders in 1624. They 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.”

Though the region became a British colony in 1674, it retained its "Dutch" character for many years[30] as early settlers and their descendents developed the land and economy.


Population estimates are for the European and African population and do not include the Native Americans.

See also


  1. Un-Pilgrims - Article by Russell Shorto
  3. George Warren (1667) An impartial description of Surinam.
  4. Honoring Juan Rodriguez, a Settler of New York - Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  5. Juan Rodriguez monograph. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  6. NYC Parks marker
  7. Paumgarten, Nick (2009-09-31). "Useless Beauty - What is to be done with Governors Island?". The New Yorker (LXXXV, No 26 ed.). p. 56. ISSN 0028-792X. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. The Dutch and English on the Hudson: Chapter 4. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  9. Otto, Paul, 91 The Dutch-Munsee Encounter in America: The Struggle for Sovereignty in the Hudson Valley. New York: Berghahn Press, 2006.
  10. Munroe, John A.: Colonial Delaware: A History: Millwood, New York: KTO Press; 1978; pp. 9-12
  11. Cook, Albert Myers. Narratives of Early Pennsylvania, West New Jersey and Delaware 1630-1707. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1912, p. 9
  12. Jennings (2000), p. 117
  13. Black History. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  14. A Fiske, John, The Dutch and Quaker Colonies in America, Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1902, Chapter XVII
  15. Bergen, Teunis G. (1876). “The Bergen Family - or the descendants of Hans Hansen Bergen”. J. Munsell, Albany, New York.
  16. Shorto, Russell (2004). The Island at the Center of the World, The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America. Doubleday. New York.
  17. 14 Generations: New Yorkers Since 1624, the Rapaljes Are On a Mission to Keep Their History Alive, Steve Wick, Newsday, March 28, 2009
  18. 1 2 Sylvester, pp. 27-30
  19. Hodges, Russel Graham (1999). "Root and Branch: African Americans in New York and East Jersey, 1613-1863". Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press
  20. Ruttenber, E.M.,Indian Tribes of Hudson's River, ISBN 0-910746-98-2 (Hope Farm Press, 3rd ed, 2001)
  21. 1 2 Shorto, Russell (2004). The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America. Random House. ISBN 1-4000-7867-9.
  22. "New Netherland Dutch". Retrieved 2008-11-01.
  23. Jacobs, Jaap (2005). New Netherland: A Dutch Colony In Seventeenth-Century America. ISBN 90-04-12906-5. 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 ...
  24. "Journal of New Netherland 1647. Written in the Years 1641, 1642, 1643, 1644, 1645, and 1646". World Digital Library. 1641–1647. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
  25. Un-Pilgrims - Article by Russell Shorto
  26. accessed June 3, 2000
  27. A Brief Outline of the History of New Netherland. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  28. The American historian Charles W. Baird, in his book History of the Huguenot Emigration to America, qualified this type of abuse as "Batavian disguise".
  29. Wentz. A Basic History of Lutheranism in America. p. 6.
  30. "Indigenous Population". Retrieved 2008-11-01.
  31. Joan Blaeu, Nova Belgica et Anglia Nova. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  32. New York: History - Islands Draw Native American, Dutch, and English Settlement. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  33. A brief outline of Dutch history and the province of New Netherland
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