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New Netherland, New York Genealogy

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History of New Netherland

by Lorine McGinnis Schulze

On September 19, 1609, the East India Company ship Halve Maen, commanded by Henry Hudson, an Englishman working for Dutch businessmen who were seeking a passage to the Orient, reached the present-day Albany area. It was not until 1624 that the first colonists arrived in New Netherland to settle at Fort Orange (present day Albany), the mouth of the Connecticut River, and High Island (Burlington Island) in the Delaware River. English colonists were in Virginia and Plymouth, and England was claiming the northeastern Atlantic Coast. They both laid claim to Long Island, where the Dutch took hold of the western end and, later, the English settled on the eastern end.

By 1626, groups of settlers (Walloons and others)were consolidated on Manhattan Island which was purchased for 60 guilders by Peter Minuit from the local natives. A tiny community was built on the southern tip of Manhattan Island and called New Amsterdam. By 1631 the Patroonships of Rensselaerswyck (Upper Hudson), Pavonia (Jersey City), and Swaenendael (Lewes, Delaware), among others, were founded in New Netherland.

The court of Fort Orange and the village of Beverwyck (present day Albany) was proclaimed by Stuyvesant in April of 1652. Needing land to raise food and other crops, such as tobacco, the Dutch soon looked further to western Long Island, a land much better suited for homesites. Soon, small villages cropped up -- New Ultrecht, Breuckelen, both named after towns in the Netherlands, and Gravesend.

In 1664 an English naval force captured New Netherland in a surprise attack during peace time. New Amsterdam became New York (City). In 1673 New York was recaptured by Dutch naval force and New Netherland restored as a Dutch colony. New York City became New Orange, Kingston became Swanenburgh, Albany was called Willemstad and Fort Albany became Fort Nassau. In 1674 New Netherland was restored to the English and became the province of New York as a result of the Treaty of Westminster. The names of cities reverted to English names.

For more information please see New Netherland Project

Offsite Information

 RussellShorto.com Russell Shorto, author of "The Island at the Center of the World"
 Henry Hudson's 1609 Voyage on De Haeve Maen Henry Hudson, in command of the East India Company ship Halve Maen, explores from Delaware Bay to the upper Hudson as far as present-day Albany
 Timeline for New Netherland Exploration and Settlement
 History of the Half Moon (Haeve Maen) and New Netherland by New Netherland Museum
 Images of the Half Moon (Haeve Maen)
 Charter of the Dutch West India Company 1621 part of The Avalon Project
 The Purchase of Manhatten Island The Peter Schaghen Letter
  The People of Colonial Albany Live Here The Colonial Albany Project -- don't miss this!
 The Dutch and Swedish settlements in North America
 Brief Outline of Dutch History and the New Netherlands Colony

Maps

 Map of Nova Belgica/Nieuw Nederlandt Early New Netherland with a great painting of early New Amsterdam (now New York City) from the water
 1639 Map of New Netherland
 1660 Map of New Netherland
 1675 Map of New Netherland

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