Talk:History of New Netherland

From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty

Early colonial era: 1609–1656

In 1609, the Dutch East India Company ship Halve Maen, manned by Englishman Henry Hudson, accidentally drifted southwards toward the mouth of the river that now bears his name, the Hudson River. This event would result in the Company claiming the land that would soon be New Amsterdam, soon to be followed by a series of Dutch and African explorers scoping coastal territories owned by indigenous peoples such as the Lenape, Wappingers, and Montauk. The instability introduced by European merchants and pirates, particularly those involved the fur trade, created a number of violent conflicts involving indigenous Americans, Europeans, as well as free and enslaved Africans.

Starting in the early 1620s, contingents of Walloons, Flemings, Hollanders, and other Europeans began intentional & permanent settlement along the Hudson River and on the islands of New Amsterdam. Cornelius Jacobsen May became the first de facto Director-General of the new Colony. Many of these new settlers, hailing from primarily urban environments, relied on indigenous Americans (whom they called Wilden, 'savages') for foodstuffs and pelt. This enabled them to venture deeper into the wilderness, soon founding settlements such as Nieuw Haerlem, which today is part of Upper Manhattan.

Peter Minuit, a Walloon, established the Council of New Netherland in 1626 when he replaced the incompetent William Verhulst as Director-General of the Colony. Under his administration, New Netherland began to export furs to the Netherlands while developing local industry, particularly milling and baking. It was also this year when Minuit formally purchased the island of Manhattan from the Lenape for sixty guilders, a purchase which is often seen as the formal establishment of the city of New Amsterdam. As the Colony progressed, colonial secretary Isaac de Rasière focused the Council's efforts on fostering commercial trade, encouraging cooperation with the Plymouth Colony, and most importantly enforcing the Company's economic dominance over New Netherland.

To accomplish this, he pushed and implemented the Patroon system (Amerikaens: Patrönplan) in 1628, in which a person who sponsored the immigration of fifty new working-age settlers would be awarded a land grant and the title of patroon. Due to the persuasion of Kiliaen van Rensselaer, perhaps the most successful patroon of his time, the Patroon system was modified to allow for private commerce, larger land grants, and the de-monopolization of the fur trade. A decade later, the Amsterdam Chamber legislated free private commerce as a reaction against the encroachment of the English, further diminishing the influence of the Dutch East India Company and expanding Dutch trading networks in northeastern North America.

From 1630 to 1660, many colonists were awakened to the reality that New Netherland was dangerously underpopulated and reliant on trade with the Dutch Republic. The establishment of the independent English-speaking Maryland Colony in 1634 as well as New Sweden in 1638 threatened both the security and economic prosperity of the Colony, necessitating the introduction of reforms.