New Netherland settlements

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Area settled by the Dutch in 1660

New Netherland, or Nieuw-Nederland in Dutch, was the 17th century colonial province of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands on northeastern coast of North America. The claimed territory were the lands from the Delmarva Peninsula to southern Cape Cod. Settled areas are now part of Mid-Atlantic states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, with small out posts in Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Its capital, New Amsterdam, was located at the southern tip of the island of Manhattan on the Upper New York Bay.

Initially explored in 1609 by Henry Hudson, sailing on an expedition for the Dutch East India Company, the region was later surveyed and charted, and in 1614 given its name. The Dutch named the three main rivers of the province the Zuyd Rivier or South River (Delaware River), the Noort Rivier or North River (Hudson River), and the Versche Rivier or Fresh River (Connecticut River), and intended to use them to gain access to the interior, the indigenous population, and the lucrative fur trade.

International law required not only discovery and charting but also settlement to perfect a territorial claim. Large scale settlement was rejected in favor of formula that was working in Asia, namely establishing factorijen (trading posts with a military presence and a small support community). Despite never-ending wars on the European continent, it was also the time known as the Dutch Golden Age, and it was difficult to recruit people willing to leave the economic boom and cultural vibrancy of Europe. Mismanagement and underfunding by the Dutch West India Company, and misunderstandings and armed conflict with indigenous population hindered early settlement. Liberalization of trade, a degree of self-rule, and the loss of Dutch Brazil led to exponential growth in the 1650s. Transfers of power from the Netherlands to England, the last formalized in 1674, were peaceful in the province.

Forts and Factorijen[edit]

During the first decade the first of two Fort Nassaus was built in Mahican territory, and factorijen, or small trading post went up (at Schenectady, Schoharie, Esopus, Quinnipiac, Communipaw,[1] Ninigret, Totoket [2] and elsewhere), where commerce could be conducted with Native American population. Trapper Jan Rodrigues is believed to be the first recorded non-Native American to winter on the island of Manhattan in 1611.

Nut Island[edit]

Main article: Governors Island

In 1621, the States General, the government of the Dutch Republic, awarded the newly formed Dutch West India Company a trade monopoly for the region, and in 1624 New Netherland became a province of the Dutch Republic. Initially the South River, believed to have better climate, was chosen as site of the capital, but summer humidity and mosquitos, and winter freezing, made North River, more appealing. A number of ships brought settlers to the New World, at first to Noten Island, and soon thereafter at the tip of Manhattan, construction was started of Fort Amsterdam, around which would grow the heart of the colony. Small groups of the early arrivals were dispersed upstream to Fort Orange, to the south Fort Wilhelmus, or to Kievets Hoek, the latter two of which were later recalled. Among those who made the crossing were many Walloons and 11 Africans (as company-owned slaves).


In 1629, the company introduced inducements known as the Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions, commonly known as the "patroon system". Invested members who were willing to fulfill certain conditions, including the transport and settlement of at least 50 persons, would receive vasts land patents and manorial rights, not dissimilar than that of a feudal lord. A number of attempts were made, the only one of substantial success being the Manor of Rensselaerswyck.[3] Pavonia, across the river from New Amsterdam, was returned to WIC and became a company managed holding. In 1640 company policy was changed and allowed land purchases by individuals in good standing.[1]

South River[edit]

See also: New Sweden
See also: New Amstel

Another patroon patent, Zwaanendael Colony, was site of first Dutch colonial settlement on the Zuyd Rivier but was soon plundered after its founding in 1631.[4] After 1638, settlement was mostly by those built in officially "unrecognized" New Sweden and were brought under New Netherland control in 1655, when Fort Casimir was built. In 1663, Pieter Corneliszoon Plockhoy attempted to create a "utopian" settlement in the region but it soon expired under English rule.[5]

Fresh River[edit]

Shortly after constructing their first settlement on the island of Manhattan, the Dutch established a short-lived factorij trading post at Kievits Hoek, or Plover's Corner (present day Old Saybrook). It was soon abandoned as the Dutch began to focus more on their new trading post on the Fresh River. Fort Huis de Goed Hoop was completed in 1633. Soon after, some miles upriver, a town was established by settlers from the English Massachusetts Colony who, in 1639, formed the colony of the Plantacons of the Connecticott River.[6] The New Haven Colony soon followed. In 1650, Petrus Stuyvesant attempted to contain further incursion to the area and, in the Treaty of Hartford, agreed to a border 50 miles west of the river. This did some not stem the flow of New Englanders to Long Island or the mainland along its sound.

North River[edit]

Main article: New Amsterdam

At the mouth of the North River grew the port called, in the vernacular of the day, The Manhattans. The capital of the province, New Amsterdam received its municipal charter in 1652, and included the isle of Manhattan, Staaten Eylandt, Pavonia, and the Lange Eylandt towns, including Gravesend, Breuckelen, and Nieuw Amersfoort

In the same year a municipal charter was also granted to Beverwijck which had grown from a trading post to a bustling town in the midst of Rensselaerswyck.[7] In 1657, the homesteads scattered along the west bank of the river valley in Esopus country were required to build a garrison that became the province's third largest town, Wiltwijk.

The Dutch Belt[edit]

It was after the final transfer of power to the English (with the Treaty of Westminster) that settlers to New Netherland and their descendents spread across the region and established many of the towns and cities which exist today.[8] The Dutch Reformed Church played an important role this expansion.[9] Following the course of the Hudson River in the north via New York Harbor to the Raritan River in the south, settlement and population grew along what George Washington called the "Dutch Belt".[10]


Population estimates do not include Native Americans.

  • 1628: 270
  • 1630: 300
  • 1640: 500
  • 1650: 800 [11]-1,000 [12]
  • 1664: 9,000 [13]

Settlement pre-1674[edit]

(c1629) Fort Orange and Castle Island
(c1639) Manhattan situated on the North Rivier
(c1650)(1685 reprint) New Netherland
Nautical chart of Zwaanendael, 1639
(c.1650) South River
(1660) New Amsterdam

Reformed Congregations pre-1776 (selection)[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The English and Dutch Towns of New Netherland". American Historical Review Vol. 6 No. 1 (Oct. 1900), pp1‑18. (University of Chicago). Retrieved 2011-12-15. 
  2. ^ The Dutch set up a trading post at the mouth of the Branford River in the 1600s, the source of the name "Dutch Wharf." [1] Branford Chamber of Commerce
  3. ^ "Freedoms, as Given by the Council of the Nineteen of the Chartered West India Company to All those who Want to Establish a Colony in New Netherland". World Digital Library. 1630. Retrieved 2013-07-28. 
  4. ^ The Zwaanendael Museum
  5. ^ Bart Plantegna. (April 2001) "The Mystery of the Plockhoy Settlement in the Valley of Swans". Mennonite Historical Bulletin.
  6. ^ Suckiaug
  7. ^ a b Beverwyck
  8. ^ From Revolution to Reconstruction: Essays: The United States of America and the Netherlands: Index
  9. ^ [2] Schaff, Philip; The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedeia of Religious Knowledge
  10. ^ a b c *Lucas Litchenberg, De Nieuwe Wereld van Peter Stuyvesant: Nederlandse voetsporen in de Verenigde Staten, ISBN 90-5018-426-X, NUGI 470, Uitgeverij Balans, 1999
  11. ^ Joan Blaeu, Nova Belgica et Anglia Nova
  12. ^ New York: History - Islands Draw Native American, Dutch, and English Settlement
  13. ^ A brief outline of Dutch history and the province of New Netherland
  14. ^ Bert van Steeg,Walen in de Wildernis :, soon after abandoned Bij aankomst in de kolonie werden de kolonisten opgesplitst in vier groepen en werden er op een aantal plaatsen kleine vestigingen gesticht, vooral in de buurt van de al bestaande handelsposten. Een aantal families werden gevestigd aan de Delaware. Hier werd fort Wilhelmus gesticht. Twee families en zes mannen werden naar de Connecticut rivier gestuurd. Ook op Governors’ eiland werden een aantal kolonisten geplaatst om een fort te bouwen. Het grootste aantal kolonisten, onder wie Catalina Rapalje, werd echter net ten zuiden van het huidige Albany geplaatst. May liet hier een klein fort bouwen dat de naam Fort Orange kreeg. Hier verbleven ongeveer achttien families.[30]Brodhead, J.R., History of the state of New York (New York 1871), 150-191
  15. ^ Connecticut River Section - Rodenburg (New Haven)
  16. ^
  17. ^ Rabushka, Alwina Taxation in Colonial America
  18. ^ Ruttenber,E.M.,Indian Tribes of Hudson's River, ISBN 0-910746-98-2 (Hope Farm Press, 3rd ed, 2001)
  19. ^ Communipaw
  20. ^ Hansen, Harry (1950). North of Manhattan. Hastings House. OCLC 542679. , excerpted at The Bronx... Its History & Perspective
  21. ^ O’Callaghan, Edmund B, Bertold Fernow ed., Documents relative to the colonial history of the state of New York (Albany 1856-1887) Book II, Chapter II, PartIV [3]
  22. ^ Land Grants 1630-1664, N - U
  23. ^ Long Island Section - Maspeth
  24. ^ Maspeth, Queens County, New York
  25. ^ History of Hempstead Village
  26. ^ Site Of Fort Casimir
  27. ^ BROOKLYN NEIGHBORHOODS.. Present & Past. Retrieved December 21, 2006.
  28. ^ a b Dutch Colonization
  29. ^
  30. ^ The Old Dutch Reformed Church
  31. ^
  32. ^ Staff. "HUGUENOTS WILL STAGE STATEN ISLAND FETE; Will Celebrate Today Settlement of Old Town in 1661-- Gov. Roosevelt Invited.", The New York Times, June 28, 1931. Retrieved January 11, 2009.
  33. ^ New Paltz Reformed Church - Church History
  34. ^ Hackensack First Reformed
  35. ^ a b New Jersey Historical Society
  36. ^ Tappan: A Walk Through History
  37. ^
  38. ^ Bellevile Second Reformed
  39. ^ Our Historic Church - Six Mile Run Reformed Church
  40. ^ Home
  41. ^ a b "Our History". Frishkill Reformed Church. Retrieved 2011-07-27. By 1716 they wanted their own Dutch Reformed church so they would not have to cross the river to Kingston or New Paltz to worship. In that year two congregations were established on October 10th: one in Poughkeepsie and one in Fishkill. Poughkeepsie's church building was finished in 1723 
  42. ^ First Reformed Church — New Brunswick, New Jersey
  43. ^ Schaghticoke
  44. ^ "Readington Reformed Church". 
  45. ^ "A Brief History of Fairfield Reformed Church". Retrieved 2011-07-27. 
  46. ^ Old Fort Herkimer Church, First Settlers
  47. ^ "Paramus Reformed Church". New Jersey Churchscape. Retrieved 2011-07-27. 
  48. ^
  49. ^ Harlingen Church
  50. ^ Rhinebeck Reformed Church
  51. ^ Pompton Plains Reformed
  52. ^ The Story of Old Fort Plain
  53. ^ Dutch Reformed Church Records Clarkstown New York
  54. ^ The Reformed Dutch Churches of Paterson, NJ (1930) - Passaic County Historical Society
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^ New Hackensack Reformed Church
  58. ^ Bedminster Reformed
  59. ^ Ridgefield English NeighborhoodReformed
  60. ^ Beck, Henry Charleton, Tales and Towns of Northern New Jersey, Rutgers University Press, ISBN 978-0-8135-1019-4
  61. ^ Tales and Towns of Northern New Jersey - Google Boeken
  62. ^ Marriage Records of the Reformed Dutch Church of Kakiat West New Hempstead New York 1774-1898
  63. ^
  64. ^ The Reformed Dutch Church Of Hillsdale