New Amsterdam

Objective: To examine the development of the Dutch
colony of New Netherlands.
New York: A Documentary Film by Ric Burns
“New Amsterdam” (14:28)
Painting by Johannes Vingboons of New Amsterdam, Capitol city of
New Netherlands, in 1664, the year it was conquered by the English.
• Dutch West India Company
–Trading company
• First settlements – fur trading posts
–Owners controlled the settlement
–Welcomed all people
• “Diversity”
• Read the Articles on this company
• The Dutch West India Company set up the colony of
New Amsterdam in what is today New York City in 1624.
• Originally settled by 110 Dutch
laborers in 1624, the first
eleven slaves were brought to
New Amsterdam from Angola
two years later.
New Amsterdam slave auction, 1655
• In what the Native Americans thought was a temporary
arrangement, the Dutch bought the island of Manhattan for
60 gilders, or approximately $600.
A 1909 postcard depicts the acquisition of Manhattan by the
Dutch. The artifact was part of an exhibit at the Museum of the
City of New York commemorating the 400th anniversary of Henry
Hudson’s voyage to modern-day New York.
• New
Amsterdam was set up as a business venture with the
main industry being animal skins such as beaver, otter, and
Fur Trade in
New Amsterdam
• The colony faced
severe problems such
as frequent
drunkenness, low
morale, a decreasing
population, and
crumbling buildings.
• Peter Stuyvesant
was hired to help bring
the colony back to
prosperity and to
help bring order back
to the settlement.
• Soon after taking control of New Amsterdam, Stuyvesant
passed the following laws:
- No drinking on Sunday.
- No public knife fighting.
- Fines were imposed for speeding on Broadway (on
your horse and wagon) and for missing church
• A wall was
built from the
East River to
the Hudson
River in order to
protect the Dutch
from the English
and Native
• This is the location
where Wall Street
is currently located in
lower Manhattan.
• Since there was a labor shortage, anyone able to work was
allowed to settle in New Amsterdam.
• Settlers hailed from countries such as Holland, France,
England, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Poland.
New Amsterdam to New York City…A Melting Pot From the Beginning!
Major ethnicities of current New York city neighborhoods:
Astoria – Queens – Greek & Egyptian
Bensonhurst – Brooklyn - Italian
Borough Park- Brooklyn- Chassidic Jews
Brighton Beach – Brooklyn - Russian
Chinatown – Manhattan - Chinese
Flatbush – Brooklyn - West Indian
Flushing – Queens – Korean
Gerritsen Beach – Brooklyn - German
Greenpoint – Brooklyn - Polish
Highbridge – Bronx - Ghana
Jackson Heights – Queens - Colombian
Morris Park – Queens - Albanian
Ridgewood – Queens – Romania &
Rockaway Park – Queens - Irish
Soundview – Bronx - Puerto Rican
Spanish Harlem – Manhattan - Mexican
Tremont – Bronx - Ecuador
University Heights – Bronx - Vietnamese &
Wakefield – Bronx - Jamaican & Caribbean
Williamsburg – Brooklyn - Israeli
• Stuyvesant tried to have the Dutch West India Company kick the Jews
out of the colony.
• However, the Company said that because of their dire need for labor,
no one should be turned away and the Jews were allowed to remain.
**** A few of the directors on the board of the company were Jewish
and were not pleased with Stuyvesant. ***
Congregation Shearith Israel in it’s current
location on the Upper West Side of
Manhattan. Originally founded in 1655 by
Spanish and Portuguese Jews settling in New
Amsterdam, the congregation worshipped in
four other locations before settling down here
in 1897. Shearith Israel is the oldest Jewish
congregation in the United States.
• The British navy arrived in 1664 and easily took control of
New Amsterdam without a fight.
• Stuyvesant tried to motivate the settlers to fight back, but
the British were much too powerful.
Peter Stuyvesant, in
1664, standing
among residents of
New Amsterdam who
are pleading with
him to surrender to
the British who have
arrived in warships
to claim the territory
for England
• In fact, many citizens, including Stuyvesant’s own son,
signed a petition stating that they would not fight and asked
Stuyvesant to surrender.
• In addition, since most
of settlers were not
Dutch citizens, they felt
no obligation to fight to
defend the colony.
Stuyvesant tearing up
the petition demanding
• New Amsterdam was then renamed New York, after the
Duke of York, who was the brother of King Charles.
Governor Peter Stuyvesant surrendering New Amsterdam to the
British, September 8, 1664: wood engraving, American, late 19th
• English ships sailed into harbor to attack New
– New Amsterdam settlers were already mad at governor, Peter
– Refuse to fight and petitioned Stuyvesant to surrender
• So he surrendered and then retired to a farm in the area now
known as Greenwich Village
• Dutch colony becomes English colony
– Named the colony New York in honor of the King’s brother the
Duke of York
– Citizens were offered safe passage back to Europe if they didn’t
want to be British citizens…. No one left 
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