Early Dutch Settlement: New Netherland

Peter Minuit arrived in New Netherland in May of 1626 as the newly appointed governor of the colony.  He wished to gain ownership of the island known as Manhattes, the hunting lands of the Native Americans who lived nearby.  Minuit felt it would be a fine spot to establish the settlement of New Amsterdam. Today, we call the island Manhattan, and it is the center of New York City.

The Dutch, eager to establish trading posts and settlements in the new world, sent ships filled with adventurers and colonists to New Netherland.  When the ships returned to Holland, they carried letters of news that told of life in the colonial settlement.  A letter written to the Dutch States General by Pieter Jansen Schagen of Amsterdam, was sent upon the arrival of a ship in Amsterdam from New Netherland.  A copy of the letter is shown below.


Letter written by Pieter Schagen, Dutch deputy
and ship captain from Amsterdam, Holland, 
to the Dutch States General, dated November 5, 1626

Read the following transcription (copy) of the letter.

Recv'd. 7 November 1626

High and Mighty Lords,
Yesterday the ship the Arms of Amsterdam arrived here. It sailed from New Netherland out of the River Mauritius* on the 23d of September. They report that our people are in good spirit and live in peace. The women also have borne some children there. They have purchased the Island Manhattes from the Indians for the value of 60 guilders. It is 11,000 morgens in size [about 22,000 acres]. They had all their grain sowed by the middle of May, and reaped by the middle of August They sent samples of these summer grains: wheat, rye, barley, oats, buckwheat, canary seed, beans and flax. The cargo of the aforesaid ship is:
7246 Beaver skins
178  Otter skins
675 Otter skins
48 Mink skins

36 Lynx skins
33 Minks
34 Rat (Weasel) skins
Many oak timbers and Hickory nut wood.

Herewith, High and Mighty Lords, be commended to the mercy of the Almighty,
Your High and Mightinesses' obedient,
P.Schaghen

Directions:  Base your answers to the questions below on the above document and your knowledge of social studies.

1.  What were some of the crops raised in New Netherland?_______________

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2.  What  animals were hunted for their fur?___________________________

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3.  How did the Dutch acquire Manhattan Island? ______________________

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  4.  How does this letter show that the colony is growing and prospering (doing well)?

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*River Mauritius: Today we call this the Hudson River.

 

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