In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World, Nicole Maskiell, an associate professor of History at the University of South Carolina and the author of Bound By Bondage: Slavery and the Creation of the Northern Gentry (Cornell Univ. Press, 2022) joins Liz Covart to investigate the practice of slavery in Dutch New Netherland and how the colony’s elite families built their wealth and power on the labor, skills, and bodies of enslaved Africans and African Americans. [Read more…] about Wealth and Slavery in New Netherland
In 2023, the United States Military Academy will remove 13 Confederate symbols on its West Point campus. They include a portrait of Robert E. Lee dressed in a Confederate uniform, a stone bust of Lee, who was superintendent of West Point before the Civil War, and a bronze plaque with an image of a hooded figure and the words “Ku Klux Klan.”
Art displayed in the United States Capitol building in Washington, DC, still includes images of 141 enslavers and 13 Confederates who went to war against the country. A study by the Washington Post found that more than one-third of the statues and portraits in the Capitol building honor enslavers or Confederates and at least six more honor possible enslavers where evidence is disputed. [Read more…] about US, NYS Continues To Honor Slavers, Racists, Traitors and Scoundrels
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”
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
The third patroon was Kiliaen Van Rensselaer II (1655-1687) son of Johannes, who was the first patroon to live at Rensselaerswyck, the van Rensselaer Patroonship in most of what is now Albany and Rensselaer Counties, along with parts of Columbia and Greene Counties.
Kiliaen II was only seven years old when his father died however, so his uncles continued to manage the colony. Jeremias was director in 1664 when the English seized New Netherland and renamed Beverwyck “Albany.”
Jeremias’ constant conflict with Stuyvesant and his possible establishment of overland fur trade with the English in Massachusetts, avoiding Peter Stuyvesant’s tax collections in New Amsterdam (New York City), may have facilitated the English take-over. [Read more…] about The Third Patroon & The English Take-Over of New York
In spite of his involvement and investment, Kiliaen Van Rensselaer never visited his new patroonship Rensselaerswyck; it was managed by his agent, and cousin, Arendt van Curler, commissioner general of the colony of New Netherland.
The second patroon, Johannes Van Rensselaer (1625–1662) succeeded his father after his father’s death in 1643 but also never came to America. He governed through an agent, Brant van Slichtenhorst. [Read more…] about Rensselaerswyck, Beverwyck & Schenectady: The Stuyvesant, Van Rensselaer and Van Slichtenhorst Conflict
In August 1664 four English frigates sailed into the harbor of New Amsterdam, demanding the surrender of New Netherland. The colony was provisionally ceded by Peter Stuyvesant. He subsequently sent a delegation to sign the Articles of Capitulation. New Amsterdam was reincorporated under English law as the city of New York. Soon after the Second Anglo-Dutch (Sea) War broke out in which Charles II unsuccessfully tried to end Dutch domination of world trade. [Read more…] about Exchanging New Amsterdam for Paramaribo
There is a Stuyvesant Square in Manhattan at 16th Street and 2nd Avenue with a statue of Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch governor of its New Amsterdam colony, a Stuyvesant High School, and a Stuyvesant Town residential development.
At least one group wants these places renamed and the statue removed. According to Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the head of the Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center “Peter Stuyvesant was an extreme racist who targeted Jews and other minorities including Catholics and energetically tried to prohibit them from settling in then New Amsterdam.” [Read more…] about The Case Against Peter Stuyvesant
The nation or country, what entity is of more importance to modern society? What about capitalistic economy, secularization, democracy, and progress as normative American values. All hold sway, for better or worse, on our perceptions of the world and our place within it. And it is from this vantage point in modernity that we look towards the actions of those who lived before us, reaching back through time to filter the past through the eyes of the present. This is history, and this is why the practice of history is an art and not a science. It is imperfect, an extension of the historian and the times in which they live.
But how then, asks Donna Merwick in Stuyvesant Bound: An Essay on Loss Across Time (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), can we better understand Peter Stuyvesant from our vantage point in the modern world, back to one that was premodern and existed between the post-Reformation and pre-Enlightenment periods. A world in which the United States of America cannot be predicted or imagined, though the history written about Colonial America often chooses a narrative that fits into a story of nationalistic genesis. [Read more…] about No Country for Peter Stuyvesant: Loss Across Time