The small colonial town that the Dutch founded in North America was called New Amsterdam. We now know it as New York City. The story of how the name evolved has many twists and turns and is, in fact, a tale of war and peace. [Read more…] about New Amsterdam & New York: What’s In A Name?
This week on The Historians Podcast, for 40 years Charles Gehring has been translating Old Dutch language documents from the 17th century New Netherland colony in New York, New Jersey and Delaware.
Gehring is Director of the New Netherland Research Center at the New York State Education Department in Albany. His work has been used by many historians and authors, including Russell Shorto whose acclaimed 2004 book The Island at the Center of the World is a history of the city of New York dating back to colonial Dutch times. [Read more…] about Charles Gehring On Translating New York’s Old Dutch Records
On December 28th, 1662, a woman named Mayken van Angola pursued freedom in New Amsterdam. She did not stand alone. Two other women — Susanna and Lucretia — stood with her and together, they petitioned the colonial government for their freedom. It was granted with the caveat that they must clean the Director General Petrus Stuyvesant’s house once a week as a condition of that freedom. [Read more…] about Mayken van Angola’s Life Under New Netherland Slavery
The bonds that connect the American and Dutch peoples have been commemorated in various ways and at various levels. Dutch-American Friendship Day is a well-established annual event at the governmental level. In New York City, the historical memory of Petrus Stuyvesant has recently become controversial, but in the twentieth century his image was iconic.
On April 19th, 1782, the Dutch States General decided to recognize John Adams as the envoy of the United States of America. It was the culmination of a contentious political process in which the Dutch Republic’s constituent provinces (Friesland being the first) instructed their delegates to vote in favor of accepting Adams’s nomination. With Adams in place as America’s minister plenipotentiary, the Dutch Republic reciprocated by naming Pieter Johan van Berckel as its first ambassador. [Read more…] about Dutch-American Stories: The “Patron Saint of New York”
Tjerck Claeszen DeWitt immigrated to New Amsterdam (now New York City) from Grootholt in Zunterlant in 1656. Grootholt means Great Wood and Zunterland was probably located on the southern border of East Friesland, a German territory on the North Sea only ten miles from the most northerly province of the Netherlands.
By 1657, Tjerck DeWitt married Barber (Barbara) Andrieszen (also Andriessen) in the New Amsterdam Dutch Church and moved to Beverwyck (now Albany). While in Beverwyck, he purchased a house. At this time Albany contained 342 houses and about 1,000 residents, about 600 of whom were members of the Dutch Church. [Read more…] about Simeon DeWitt: America’s Surveyor General
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World Podcast, Andrea Mosterman, an Associate Professor of History at the University of New Orleans and author of Spaces of Enslavement: A History of Slavery and Resistance in Dutch New York (Cornell Univ. Press, 2021), joins us to explore what life was like in New Netherland and early New York, especially for the enslaved people who did much of the work to build this Dutch, and later English, colony. [Read more…] about New Netherland: Slavery and Resistance in Dutch New York
In his 1653 poem on “The Character of Holland,” a piece of stereotypical English propaganda that was written in an era of fierce Anglo-Dutch economic rivalry, poet and politician Andrew Marvell ridiculed the Low Countries as being composed of “undigested vomit from the sea.”
The satirist did not mention the fact that out of this appalling spew the Dutch created bricks that were used by architects to build their characteristic cities which, in turn, inspired the flourishing genre of the cityscape in seventeenth century painting. Both bricks and building skills were at the time exported to England and across the Atlantic. [Read more…] about The Beauty of Bricks: Amsterdam, Delft & Manhattan
From the time Henry Hudson sailed up the Hudson River in 1609, the area that is now Albany, NY was considered the focal point of trade with Indigenous People. For over a hundred years, Albany was the trading post furthest west and most remote in the colonies. Most of the other colonies were English; New Netherland was Dutch and settled for the purpose of trade.
With a moderate climate, abundant rainfall, a lake and river system for good transportation and plentiful natural resources, New Netherland was well-positioned. The fur trade significantly raised the standard of living of many European settlers and Native People. Arriving at Albany with a catch of furs, an native person could trade would usually trade with a representative of the Van Rensselaers, or one of his agents.
Thousands of pelts began to flow into Albany in return for Dutch, and later English, trade goods. News of the Dutch market spread and before long Native People from as far away as today’s Minnesota and Illinois were traveling across the Great Lakes and Mohawk River to Albany to obtain manufactured goods with animal pelts. [Read more…] about Albany’s Role In Three Little-Remembered Colonial Wars in the Northeast
The 1609 voyage by Henry Hudson up the river that bears his name caused the Dutch to claim the adjacent land. In 1621 these lands, the home of the Mohawk and Mohican people, were granted to the Dutch West India Company. The company established the Patroon System to attract settlers. A Patroon was given a large tract of land to sponsor settlers to colonize their land.
In 1629 the new Patroon, Killaen Van Rensselaer, was granted land to create the Manor of Rensselaerswyck in exchange for helping settle the land with Europeans. It incorporated most of the area in Albany, Rensselaer, Greene, and Columbia counties. Fort Orange (later the city of Albany), became the center of the Dutch fur trade. [Read more…] about Berne’s West Mountain Methodist Episcopal Church: Some History
In 1652, New Netherland Director General Peter Stuyvesant declared that Fort Orange and everything around it, including the village outside the fort, often called Oranje after the fort, was independent of the ownership of the Van Rensselaer family. He named the small mostly Dutch village “Beverwyck.”
Possibly at the urging of the Van Rensselaers, their earlier manager Arendt Van Curler (Corlear) began planning the construction of a new village. [Read more…] about Colonial Conflict, Native People, Anti-Catholicism & The Burning of Schenectady