Dutch Colonists in North America - North American Colonies

Taken from The British Empire in the Nineteenth Century (1898) by Edgar Sanderson

« previous page | start of chapter | next page »

and Protestant colonists were brought over from Belgium. Land was purchased from the Indians, and the manors, of which some still remain, were formed by possessors who, with their heirs, were called "patroons". The records of the Dutch colony include Indian wars, ruthlessly waged on both sides, disputes with the British settlers on the Connecticut and with the Swedes on the Delaware, and the doings of four governors, of whom the last and ablest was Peter Stuyvesant. In 1664 the recapture, by the famous Admiral De Ruyter, of settlements on the Guinea coast, caused the seizure of many Dutch vessels in English ports, and further retaliation was planned. Charles the Second granted New Netherland to his brother James, Duke of York, and a fleet was sent out to give effect to this bestowal. Brave old Stuyvesant desired to resist, but he was a hater of free institutions, and many of the Dutch had been seduced by the prospect of the self-government enjoyed by their neighbours in Connecticut, and were strongly inclined to make a trial of English rule. In September, 1664, the English flag was hoisted on Manhattan, and the town and colony were renamed New York, in honour of the new proprietor. The English rulers, however, did not grant the desired rights, and in 1673, when England and Holland were again at war, a strong Dutch squadron retook New York by surrender, and the place was again held by Holland for a few months. The peace concluded in 1674 restored the colony to Britain; and this was the end of Dutch sway in North America.

They left behind them many marks visible to this day. Some of the best families in New York city and state are of Dutch descent. The custom of New Year's Day visits, the children's legend of Santa Claus at Christmas, the Easter coloured eggs, the dough-nuts, or small round cakes of flour, eggs, milk, and sugar, are all of Dutch origin. Washington Irving's History of New York, ascribed to "Diedrich Knickerbocker", a designation of which the surname commemorates an early settler, is a masterly piece of good-natured satire on the old Dutchmen of Manhattan Island. The little man in knee-breeches and cocked hat, a permanent figure among literary portraits, gave his name to a favourite style of masculine costume, and to the New York families whose ancestors came out from Holland. The story of Rip Van Winkle, the hero of another charming production of Irving, if it has not … continue reading »

« previous page | start of chapter | next page »

Scotch-Irish in Virginia homepage