Land policy in colonial times in what is now New York State favored nobility and prominent men with connections to the Crown. This involved several countries (The Netherlands, England, and France), several explorers, several early pioneers, and appointed officials who oversaw the disbursement of land by land grants or patents. [Read more…] about New York Land Grants: Some History Until The American Revolution
By 1642, the number of inhabitants of Rensselaerwyck (spelled Rensselaerswijck in Dutch), at the time basically what is now Albany and Rensselaer Counties, had grown and Patroon Kiliaen Van Rensselaer willingly complied with a requirement of the Dutch West India Company to secure a clergyman for a Dutch Church to conduct services for the settlers. [Read more…] about New Netherlanders’ Views of Indigenous People
In 1565, the Spanish settled 600 soldiers and civilians at St. Augustine, Florida. In 1607, the English established their first settlement in North America at Jamestown, Virginia, but after a series of floods, Jamestown was abandoned in 1699. Today Jamestown is a national park and archaeological site.
In 1602, the States General of The Netherlands granted a charter to a powerful group of Dutch merchants creating the Dutch East India Company and giving them the exclusive right to develop and conduct trade with the markets in the Far East which included the Spice Islands and China. Soon, these merchants began bringing exotic silk, clothing, ceramics, teas and spices back to the Netherlands. In their travels, the Dutch ship captains discovered the continent of Australia and named it “New Holland.” [Read more…] about Henry Hudson & The Founding of Albany
The 400th anniversary of Albany’s first documented European settlement gives us an opportunity to clear up some inaccuracies surrounding its history. In particular, it is time to roundly debunk the stubborn myth that the French built the first European structure in Albany.
Several Wikipedia pages—”Albany“, “Castle Island,” “Fort Nassau“—claim that Albany’s first European structure was a fort on Castle Island built by French traders in 1540. The “Castle Island” page calls it a chateau and claims that the Dutch rebuilt the French fort, “which they called a castle[,] giving rise to the name of the island.” This is silly. There is no credible evidence of a French fort on Castle Island or anywhere in the region, and any account of a structure resembling a chateau is particularly absurd. So where did this myth come from? [Read more…] about Debunking The ‘French Fort’ On Albany’s Castle Island
Fort Nassau: the first Dutch trading house built in North America, was constructed on Castle (Westerlo) Island on the Upper Hudson where Albany is. It was but a small redoubt, yet deemed the acorn from which sprouted the American Middle States. This trading post lasted only three years and was badly damaged by a spring freshet and abandoned. Eventually even its ruins were silted over and forgotten.
In 1796, Albany contemplated a plan to acquire patents for water lots and extend South End streets opposite the north end of Castle Island, out into the Hudson River. It was similar, on a smaller scale, to the way Manhattan expanded out into the Hudson and East Rivers. In the course of finally implementing this in the 1840s, dredging was found necessary to adjust the upper end of Castle Island and Island Creek to accommodate the plan. [Read more…] about John Wolcott: Pinpointing Fort Nassau 1614
“Fort Nassau” was North America’s oldest Dutch trading house, built in 1614 near the present-day Port of Albany. But the precise location of the ruined structure has been largely forgotten over time as the natural and built environment changed during four centuries.
“Fort Nassau is very significant to American, Dutch and Indian history,” said John Wolcott, the researcher who identified the location. “But its exact location had been lost over the years. Not only has the geography changed, but the latitude readings provided by early maps have to be adjusted for problems caused by being inland using instruments of the time.” [Read more…] about Researcher Pinpoints 1614 Albany Fort Location
The New Netherland Institute and New Netherland Research Center have announced “1614,” the 37th New Netherland Seminar, which will take place on September 20th at the Carole F. Huxley Theater in the Cultural Education Center in Albany.
The seminar will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the construction of Fort Nassau—the first documented European settlement in New York state—on present-day Castle Island in the port of Albany. The seminar speakers and topics are listed below. For registration and additional details, visit the website of the New Netherland Institute. [Read more…] about New Netherland Seminar Set For September 20th
The New Netherland Institute (NNI), which is currently commemorating the 1614 establishment of Fort Nassau in Albany, has announced their Annual General Meeting (featuring a tour of the Van Schaick Mansion and a short talk by Russell Shorto); the line-up for the 37th New Netherland Seminar; and an opportunity to win a commemorative quilt. [Read more…] about New Netherland Institute News And Events