So continuing the theme of my previous post Henry Hudson and His Four Voyages, I would like to write about the island of Manhattan which Hudson famously sailed past in hope of finding the northern passage to the Pacific. Firstly it is worth mentioning that Hudson was not the first to explore the area, Florentine navigator Giovanni da Verrazzano explored the area in 1524 on behalf of Francis I of France, and the Portuguese navigator Estêvão Gomes explored the area around the same period.
In the early 16th century the Netherlands was part of the Spanish Empire their state religion was Catholicism, the Dutch people converted to Protestantism, rebelled against the Spanish and by 1579 set up the Independent Dutch Republic, the two nations raged war for eighty years, this war was called the Eighty Years’ War or slightly more original The Dutch War of Independence. in 1609 a twelve year truce begun. During this period was the Dutch Golden Age, the Dutch excelled in the arts, science, philosophy and trade amongst other things.
So back to Hudson, he was working for the Dutch East India Company trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific, he sailed into (present day) New York Harbour on 11 September 1609, sailed up to present day Albany and realised the river he was in would not lead him to the Pacific, and sailed back to Europe a disappointed man, although soon Dutch merchants wanted in on these lucrative furs Hudson and his crew returned with.
In 1621 the Dutch West Indian Company was formed, much like the Dutch East Indian Company which was set up twenty years earlier to trade with India and Indonesia, the Dutch West Indian Company had trading posts in Brazil, the West coast of Africa and the Caribbean. By 1624 the Dutch West India Company raised enough capital to fund the New Netherland settlement. Boats were sent to the three major rivers the Dutch laid claim to – the Fresh River (the Connecticut) the South river (the Delaware) and the North river (the Hudson). Fort Orange which was located in present day Albany and was a major trading post of New Netherland, beaver furs where brought by Native Americans mostly Mohawks along the Mohawk River to trade with Dutch for goods the Native Americans needed. There was one problem though – the Cohoes Falls! The Native Americans had to bypass the falls which meant carrying the furs on foot for eighteen miles into Albany, the Dutch had to keep these trading posts full of supplies for the Native Americans to trade. The fur was shipped back to the Netherlands and made into hats.
The Director of the New Netherland colony Peter Minuit is said to have purchased the island of Manhattan from the Native Americans for 60 guilders (coins). Who knows what really was agreed, the Native Americans could have thought it more of a rental or treaty between them and the Dutch, however the point is that it was a deal not a conquest. From 1647 Peter Stuyvesant was the Director of the colony, he was an ex-military man who had lost his right leg to cannon fire in a battle with the Spanish in the Caribbean. Stuyvesant soon got to work, he negotiated the border between New England and New Netherland with the English, followed by capturing New Sweden which was then incorporated into New Netherland. He also built a wall to keep out invaders (which was on the site of today’s Wall Street).
After the Treaty of The Hague in 1661 the Dutch West India Company lost their colony in Brazil to the Portuguese, soon they would lose New Netherland too. In 1664 four British boats appeared in the (New York) harbour, no war was declared it was a surprise attack, the British had colonies to the north and to the south of New Netherland. Peter Stuyvesant had little choice his men were outnumbered and outgunned, by capitulating Stuyvesant saved New Amsterdam and countless deaths. New Amsterdam was renamed New York after King Charles II brother the Duke of York (future King James II), and Richard Nicholls became the new governor. The British now controlled the Eastern side of North America from Carolina to Maine.
Source – PBS – Dutch New York & Broadside Emerging Empires Collide
In 1673 two Dutch admirals with a fleet of about twenty ships appeared in New York harbour and began to land troops, the English commander felt he had no choice but to surrender, repeating what had happened almost ten years earlier in 1664. One year later in 1674 the Treaty of Westminster was signed which ended the Third Anglo-Dutch War, and the territory went back to England.
Source – The United States Of America And The Netherlands by By George M. Welling (7.The End Of New Netherland) link