Pietro Cesare Alberti

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Pietro Cesare Alberti (1608–1655) was a Venetian immigrant to the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, commonly regarded as the first Italian American.[citation needed]

Background[edit]

Pietro was born in 1608 at the height of Venice's commercial power. Pietro was the son of the Secretary of the Ducal Treasury, Andrea Alberti and his wife, Lady Veronica Cremona. The Alberti family had enormous pull throughout the Italian peninsula, and had branches in Genoa, and Florence, as well as in Venice. Pietro's paternal relatives may have included the famed Italian polymath and statesman Leon Battista Alberti. [1]

Immigration[edit]

During the Thirty Years' War troops from the Netherlands were stationed in Malamocco, a narrow inlet in the Venetian Lagoon. These troops carried with them a particularly virulent strain of Bubonic Plague. The plague spread rapidly, killing 46,000 of the city's 140,000 residents. The immense decline in Venice's population led to a similar decline in its commercial power. Because the Alberti's power was derived from the success of Venetian traders, Pietro, at the age of 27 decided to seek a new life in the New World. He arrived in New Amsterdam aboard the Dutch ship the "King David" on June 2, 1635. Pietro acclimated well in New Amsterdam's cosmopolitan environment. In 1642 he married a Dutch huguenot woman named Judith Manje (also Magnee). The couple had 6 children from 1642 to 1655. The Albertis lived in a home on Broad Street until 1646 when Pietro applied for a land grant from the Dutch. The Albertis farmed 100 acres in Brooklyn until Pietro and Judith were killed in an Indian raid in 1655.

Legacy[edit]

Alberti was the first of millions of Italian Americans who would later form part of American culture. June 2 commemorates "Pietro Alberti Day" in New York City. A small stone in Battery Park marks the spot of Pietro's arrival.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Peter Caesar Alberti". Retrieved 2 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Klett, Joseph R. Genealogies of New Jersey Families: from the Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub., 1996. [1]. Web.