Friday, August 21, 2015

Dutch colonization of New Netherland

Promotional poster for settlement of New Netherland   
"If it was the dream of a passage to India that brought the Dutch to the New World, it was the reality of Spanish power that determined them to stay there. The United Provinces of the Netherlands were just completing their long-drawn-out struggle to win their freedom from Spanish rule, and enmity to Catholic Spain was still their controlling national purpose. In 1614 Their High Mightinesses, the members of the States-General, chartered a company of Amsterdam merchants with authority "exclusively to visit and navigate" the newly discovered region which they called "New Netherland" on account, no doubt, as Diedrich Knickerbocker was later to write,  of its "great resemblance to the Dutch Netherlands--excepting that the former were rugged and mountainous and the latter level and marshy." The New Netherlands Company was a commercial venture designed to exploit the fur trade but it was also an instrument in the broader Dutch campaign to oust the Spanish from the New World, to impoverish her by cutting off the flow of gold and silver, and to establish Calvinism in America. In 1621, when a truce with the Spanish expired, a new company, the Dutch West India Company, was created with financial support from the States General to carry out the same purposes.

West Indies can bring Netherland great gain,
Lessen the might, divert the wealth of Spain . . .

read a couplet on the title page of one of the Company's official publications." (see poster above)

This is an excerpt from Chapter 5  of Frederick Barnes Tolles' History of the United States, Vol. I.
Today I spent a bit more time in the Library, tracking down references. This was one of them. 



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