Girish Mahajan (Editor)

New Netherland settlements

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New Netherland settlements

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

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, Ninigret, Totoket 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

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. 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.

South River

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. 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.

Fresh River

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. 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

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. 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

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. The Dutch Reformed Church played an important role this expansion. 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".


Population estimates do not include Native Americans.

  • 1628: 270
  • 1630: 300
  • 1640: 500
  • 1650: 800 -1,000
  • 1664: 9,000
  • Settlement pre-1674

  • Fort Nassau (1614) on Castle Eylandt in the North River, now Westerlo Island
  • Fort Nassau (1621) on the Zuyd River, dismantled and relocated in (1651), now Gloucester City
  • Noten Eylant (1624) at the mouth of the North River, now Governors Island
  • Fort Orange (1624) to replace Fort Nassau on the North River, now Albany
  • Fort Wilhelmus (1624), on the Zuyd Rivier (disbanded)
  • Roduins or Rodenbergh (factorij-1620s?), now New Haven
  • Kievets Hoek (1624), now Old Saybrook (disbanded)
  • New Amsterdam (1624), now Lower Manhattan
  • Fort Amsterdam (1625), at the tip of the isle of Manhattan
  • Rensselaerswyck (1630), patroonship Kiliaen van Rensselaer on the North River, now Capital District
  • Pavonia (1630) on the North River, attempted patroonship of Michael Pauw, now Hudson County
  • Zwaanendael (1631), on the Zuyd Rivier, soon after plundered by the local population., now Lewes
  • Fort Huis de Goed Hoop (1633) near the Fresh River, now Hartford
  • Communipaw (1634), as Jan de Lacher's Hoeck, now Liberty State Park
  • Noortwijk (1630s), now Greenwich Village
  • Connecticut Colony (1636), by New Englanders near Fort Huis de Goed Hoop
  • Quetenesse (1636), now Dutch Island
  • Nieuwe Haarlem (1637) and (1652) municipal charter
  • Pelham (1637), a New Englander's homestead
  • New Haven Colony (1638) New Englander towns found at mouth of Quinnipiac River
  • Fort Christina (1638), first of Swedish settlements on the Zuyd Rivier, Fort Altena in 1655, now Wilmington
  • Broncks (1639) now The Bronx, settled by Jonas Bronck
  • Paulus Hoeck (1639), a patent at Pavonia
  • Staaten Eylandt (1639), an attempted patroonship of Cornelius Meyln ]
  • Southhold (1640)
  • Achter Col (1641), an attempted patroonship on the Hackensack River
  • Vriessendael (1640), homestead of David Pietersen de Vries, now Edgewater
  • Greenwich (1642), English manor under Dutch jurisdiction
  • Vriedelandt (1642), Englishman John Throckmorton settles, now Throg's Neck
  • Maspat (1642), under a charter granted to Rev. Francis Doughty, now Maspeth
  • Beverwijck (1640s) a trading post surrounded by Rensselaerswyck, (1652) municipal charter
  • Peekskill (possibly early 1640s, formalized in 1684)
  • Hemsteede (1643), New England settlement on Lange Eylandt
  • Hoboken (1643), a lease at Pavonia
  • Eastchester (1643) homestead of Anne Hutchinson's family and followers
  • Gravesend (1645) settled under Dutch patent by English Anabaptist Lady Deborah Moody and followers
  • Vlissingen (1645) under Dutch patent, mostly English colonists, many of them Quakers, now Flushing
  • Breuckelen (1646), now Brooklyn Heights
  • Colen Donck (1646), homestead of Jonkheer Adriaen van der Donck, now Yonkers
  • Constable Hook (1646) patent
  • Nieuw Amersfoort (1647), now Flatlands
  • Minkakwa (1647), now Caven Point
  • Weehawken (1647), a land patent
  • Fort Beversreede (1648) on the Schuylkill River
  • De Bouwerij (1649) homestead of Petrus Stuyvesant
  • Fort Casimir (1651) now New Castle
  • Midwout (1652), now Midwood
  • Esopus (1652) now Ulster County
  • Nieuw Utrecht (1652), or New Utrecht
  • Oester Baai (1653), at the 1650 border between New England and New Netherland, now Oyster Bay
  • Pelham Manor (1654), Englishman's Thomas Pell's purchase New Netherland/Siwanoy territory
  • Pamrapo (1654) Achter Col patents, now Bayonne
  • Nieuw Amstel (1655), now New Castle
  • Rustdorp (1656) land patent, now Jamaica
  • Wiltwyk (1657), now Kingston
  • Poughkeepsie (1650s), by Barent Baltus
  • Bergen (1660), now Hudson County
  • Rye (1660), land purchase by English settlers
  • Oude Dorpe (1661), now Old Town on Staten Island
  • Boswijck (1661), now Bushwick
  • Schenectady (1661)
  • Claverack (1662), now Hudson
  • Plockhoy Zwaanendael (1663), by Pieter Corneliszoon Plockhoy
  • English Neighborhood (1668), eastern Bergen County
  • Rotterdam (1670), as Woestina
  • Nieuw Dorp (1671), now New Dorp
  • Reformed Congregations pre-1776 (selection)

  • 1683 - New Paltz (Huguenot)
  • 1684 - Sleepy Hollow
  • 1686 - Hackensack
  • 1693 - Acquackanonk in Passaic
  • 1694 - Tappan
  • 1699 - Brick in Marlboro
  • 1700 - Second River in Belleville
  • 1703 - Six Mile Run
  • 1710 - Ponds in Oakland
  • 1716 - Claverack
  • 1716 - Fishkill
  • 1716 - Poughkeepsie
  • 1717 - New Brunswick
  • 1717 - Schaghticoke
  • 1719 - North Branch
  • 1720 - Fairfield
  • 1723 - Herkimer (German Palatines)
  • 1724 - Schraalenburgh now Dumont
  • 1725 - Paramus
  • 1725 - Stone Arabia in Palatine (German Palatines)
  • 1727 - Harlingen
  • 1731 - Rhinebeck
  • 1736 - Pompton Plains
  • 1740 - Ramapo in Mahwah
  • 1750 - Canajoharie
  • 1750 - Clarkstown
  • 1755 - Totowa in Paterson
  • 1756 - Schodack
  • 1756 - Montivlle
  • 1758 - Caughnawaga now Fonda
  • 1758 - New Hackensack in Town of Wappinger
  • 1758 - Bedminster
  • 1763 - Betlehem
  • 1765 - Ghent
  • 1770 - English Neighborhood, now Ridgefield
  • 1774 - Kakiat now West New Hempstead
  • 1776 - Hillsdale
  • References

    New Netherland settlements Wikipedia