New Netherland: A Dutch Colony in Seventeenth-Century America

New Netherland: A Dutch Colony in Seventeenth-Century America

New Netherland: A Dutch Colony in Seventeenth-Century America

New Netherland: A Dutch Colony in Seventeenth-Century America

Synopsis

This volume covers the history of the Dutch colony New Netherland on the North American continent. Based on extensive research of archival material on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, much of which has not been previously used, this work provides the most complete overview yet of a colony that has been generally neglected by historians. The chapters deal with themes such as patterns of immigration, government and justice, economy, religion, social structure, material culture, and mentality of the colonists. This book will be very useful not just for students of Dutch colonial history, but also for scholars in early American history.

Excerpt

There used to be a bar in the Delta terminal of New York's JFK Airport. It was called the Schuyler Bar. Whenever I waited for the departure of my flight back to Holland, I enjoyed a beer there. The name of the bar served as a reminder of the Dutch presence in New York in the seventeenth century, as did the Van Wyck Expressway used by the shuttle bus to Grand Central Terminal. Back at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the large billboard in front of the main terminal building used to boast an advertisement for a brand of cigarettes: 'Peter Stuyvesant! Discover the World'. New regulations by the European Union have resulted in the banning of such propaganda for unhealthy, if enjoyable, habits. And another reminder of New Netherland disappeared.

Yet, New Netherland lives on in numerous documents on both sides of the Atlantic. Ever since the early nineteenth century, translators have worked on these documents, producing translations of varying quality. The early translations are defective in many places, whereas the modern translations by Charles Gehring, Director of the New Netherland Project, are of an outstanding quality. Yet true historical scholarship can come only through direct contact with original sources, and to me as a Dutchman used to reading seventeenthcentury Dutch documents, relying solely on translations was never an option. However good a translation may be, it still imposes a screen of varying transparency between the researcher and his sources. Also, I prefer to make my own mistakes and not to be accountable for those of others. I have therefore checked the original Dutch documents every time, during which process I also found much material that had not been translated, and in some cases discovered documents that were completely unknown. As a result the annotation in this book differs from what American readers may be used to. The first reference is to the original document, in the order of repository, collection, document, and usually page number. This is followed between parentheses by the document's date and a reference to the translation, if available. In some cases a reference to Gehring's Guide to Dutch Manuscripts has been added.

All the quotations have been translated by me, and they often . . .

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