Portal:Biography/Selected article/June 15

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Portrait of Adriaen van der Donck.

Adriaen van der Donck was a lawyer and landowner in New Netherland, after whom the city of Yonkers, New York is named. In addition to being the first lawyer in the Dutch colony, he was a leader in the political life of New Amsterdam, modern New York City, and an activist for Dutch-style republican government in the Dutch West India Company-run trading post. His efforts resulted in a municipal charter for the city, which was enacted on February 2, 1653. Enchanted by his new homeland, Van der Donck left detailed accounts of the land, vegetation, animals, waterways, topography, and climate. He used this knowledge to actively promote immigration to the colony, publishing several tracts, including his influential Description of New Netherland. He is also recognized as a sympathetic early Native American ethnographer, having learned the languages and customs of the Mahicans and Mohawks. (Read more...)