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New Netherland

New Netherland (Dutch Nieuw-Nederland) was the territory claimed by the Netherlands on the eastern coast of North America in the 17th century. New Netherland was part of Dutch colonization of the Americas.

The coast was previously explored by Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524 whose expedition was financed by the citizens of Lyon, France, under the auspices of King Francois I. Despite this, the area was mostly ignored by Europeans for a long time afterwards.

In 1609, Henry Hudson set sail on an exploration trip commissioned by the Dutch East India Company, on the ship Halve Maen (Half Moon), to find a north-east passage to East Asia. However he found his intended route north of Norway blocked by ice and turned west instead, exploring the coast of North America and sailing up the Hudson River as far as the future Albany.

The Republic of the Seven United Netherlands claimed the area between 40 and 45 degrees North, and several trading companies from Amsterdam established competing posts to trade with the native inhabitants. Fort Nassau was established in 1614 near the future Albany. Fort Nassau was abandoned in 1618. In 1621 the Dutch West India Company was formed with a monopoly of the trade, and in 1624 the Company built Fort Orange at the present location of Albany.

Colonization began in 1626, when 30 Dutch families settled on Manhattan island and in the area of the Delaware River. The first purchase of land from the natives was of Manhattan, by Peter Minuit. The Dutch policy was to require formal purchase of all land that they settled, although the principle of land ownership was not one that the existing inhabitants recognised, likely resulting in misunderstandings. For example, the people from whom Minuit "bought" Manhattan did not live on the island, and probably thought that they were selling a share in the hunting rights.

In 1664 a British fleet sailed into New York Harbor and took over the colony. The colonial governor, Peter Stuyvesant, was unpopular with the residents, in part because he tried to restrict religious freedom: the Flushing Remonstrance[?] of 1660 objected to his ban on Quakers as an infringement on the residents as Christians and as Dutch citizens. Perhaps because of Stuyvesant's unpopularity, there was no significant resistance to the English takeover.



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