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New Amsterdam

Overview

Although earlier explorers such as Giovanni da Verrazzano and Henry Hudson plied the waters around present-day Manhattan in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, respectively, colonization of the region did not officially take place until 1624. In May of that year, under the authority of the Dutch West India Company, the Nieu Nederlandt brought 30 families of Belgian Protestants called Walloons to join the few traders who had already settled in the Dutch province of New Netherland. The following year, ...
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Overview

Although earlier explorers such as Giovanni da Verrazzano and Henry Hudson plied the waters around present-day Manhattan in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, respectively, colonization of the region did not officially take place until 1624. In May of that year, under the authority of the Dutch West India Company, the Nieu Nederlandt brought 30 families of Belgian Protestants called Walloons to join the few traders who had already settled in the Dutch province of New Netherland. The following year, the settlers were moved from Noten Eylant (present-day Governors Island) to a site on the southern tip of Manhattan Island (near today's Battery Park), where a fort was constructed to protect the entrance to the Hudson River from England and France and to consolidate the colony's trade operations. In 1626, Peter Minuit was named director general of New Netherland and purchased Manhattan from the Delaware Indians to ensure the legality of Dutch land ownership. Over the next four decades, and especially under Peter Stuyvesant, who served as director general from 1647 to 1664, New Amsterdam continued to grow, reaching a population of nearly 9,000 in 1664. That year, the Dutch were forced to surrender the colony to the English, and the settlement was renamed New York, in honor of James Stuart, the Duke of York.

About the Author:
Tim McNeese is associate professor of history at York College in York, Nebraska

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Judy DaPolito
This volume in the "Colonial Settlements in America" series discusses the Dutch presence in the New World up to the surrender of New Amsterdam to the English in 1664. The first chapter presents an overview of the relations between the Dutch traders in the Hudson River Valley and the Native Americans who had lived in the area for thousands of years. At first, the interactions were positive: the Dutch received valuable furs and food from the Native Americans who received such items as knives, cloth, mirrors, axes, and beads in return, but when the Dutch tried to require taxes of additional goods and to control the land, deadly fights broke out. In the second chapter, the early history of the Americas is briefly discussed, focusing both on the economic importance of the fur trade and on the first explorers of the eastern regions, Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, his son Sebastiano Cabot, Giovanni da Verrazzano, Esteban Gomez, and Henry Hudson. The third chapter is devoted to the Dutch Republic, the large Dutch trading company called the United East India Company, and to Henry Hudson's impact on the area known as New Netherland. In 1609, the company sent Hudson to the Americas, where he reached the land that would become New Amsterdam and the river that would later be given his name. After his discoveries, the Dutch sent other ships to establish trade relations. These traders were followed by Henry Christiaensen and Adriaen Block, who established trading posts, first on Manhattan Island and later at a heavily fortified site just south of present-day Albany. In 1621, the New Netherland colony was transferred by the Dutch government to the giant Dutch West India Company, and, in 1624, theserious process of settlement beyond trading posts began with the arrival of thirty families on the Nieu Nederlandt. A new company director, Willem Verhulst, and a military architect, Cryn Fredericxsz, landed in 1625 to oversee the colony and build a fort on Manhattan Island. The company retained ownership of the land, kept most of the settlers' farming profits, and imposed heavy restrictions on the settlers' daily lives. Verhulst was succeeded by Peter Minuit, who supposedly purchased Manhattan Island from the Manhattan Indians and increased the fur trade profits of the company. In 1629, some West India Company officials instituted a new plan called the patronship system, in which wealthy individuals could take over large tracts of land and bring settlers to farm them for the officials' profit. Peter Stuyvesant, who became the last director general in 1645, improved the streets and structures of New Amsterdam, but imposed still harsher discipline. In 1664, the English king challenged Dutch authority over New Netherland by granting that region to his brother, the Duke of York. Arguments over trade brought the two nations to war, bringing about the end of Dutch government on the North American continent. The text includes occasional sidebars and is illustrated with prints and engravings, but would benefit from more maps. A chronology, a timeline, two pages of notes, a bibliography, a list of six books for further reading, a list of nine web sites, a list of picture credits, and an index follow the text. Reviewer: Judy DaPolito
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791093344
  • Publisher: Chelsea House Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/28/2007
  • Series: Colonial Settlements in America Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 112
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents


Trade and Strife in the New World     7
Early Contacts     15
Henry Hudson's Legacy     26
Traders Along the Hudson     41
New Netherland     51
Peter Minuit Takes Charge     63
Incompetent Governors     73
"Silver Leg"     81
Chronology     95
Timeline     96
Notes     99
Bibliography     101
Further Reading     102
Index     104
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