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The Dutch former Colonies

List of Settlements

Formerly Dutch

Porto Rico San Juan (1625)
Sint Kruis (1625-1650)
Thortolleneiland (Tortola) (1648-1672)
Anegada (16??-1680)
Trinidad en Tobago: Nieuw Walcheren (Tobago)
Honduras: Trujillo (1623) Baai-eilanden

Porto Rico San Juan (1625)

The Netherlands was a world military and commercial power by 1625, competing in the Caribbean Sea with the British. The Dutch wanted to establish a military stronghold in the area, and dispatched Captain Balduino Enrico (also known as Boudewijn Hendricksz/Bowdoin Henrick) to capture Puerto Rico. On September 24, 1625, Enrico arrived at the coast of San Juan with 17 ships and 2,000 men and sent a message to the governor of Puerto Rico, Juan de Haros, ordering him to surrender the island. De Haros refused; he was an experienced military man and expected an attack in the section known as Boqueron. He therefore had that area fortified. However, the Dutch took another route and landed in La Puntilla. De Haro realized that an invasion was inevitable and ordered Captain Juan de Amezquita, plus 300 men stationed at "San Felipe del Morro Castle" (also known as "El Morro") and the city of San Juan evacuated. He also had former governor Juan de Vargas organize an armed resistance in the interior of the island. On September 25 Enrico attacked San Juan, besieging El Morro Castle and La Fortaleza (the Governor's Mansion). He invaded the capital city and set up his headquarters in La Fortaleza. The Dutch were counterattacked by Captain Juan de Amezquita and 50 members of the civilian militia on land and by the cannons of the Spanish troops in El Morro Castle. The land battle left 60 Dutch soldiers dead and Enrico with a sword wound to his neck which he received from the hands of Amezquita[2]. The Dutch ships at sea were boarded by Puerto Ricans who defeated those aboard. After a long battle, the Spanish soldiers and volunteers of the city's militia were able to defend the city from the attack and save the island from an invasion. On October 21, Enrico set La Fortaleza and the city ablaze. Captains Amezquita and Andre Botello decided to put a stop to the destruction and led 200 men in an attack against the enemy's front and rear guard. They drove Enrico and his men from their trenches and into the ocean in their haste to reach their ships. Enrico, upon his retreat, would leave behind him one of his largest ships stranded and over 400 of his men dead. He then tried to invade the island by attacking the town of Aguada. He was again defeated by the local militia and abandoned the idea of invading Puerto Rico






British Virgin Islands Sint Kruis (1625-1650)

Thortolleneiland (Tortola) (1648-1672)

Anegada (16??-1680)

Discovered by Columbus and claimed for Spain, island chain named Las Islas Once Mil Virgenes.
1621 Dutch settle on Tortola.
1628 Tortola claimed for England (not settled). 1
1648 - 1672 Dutch colony on Tortola Island (on Anegada and Virgin Gorda until 1680).
1665 English occupation of Tortola.
 1672 English colony; part of Antigua. 1672 -
1816 Part of Leeward Islands colony (see Antigua).
1680 English settle Anegada and Virgin Gorda.
1713 British crown colony (British Virgin Islands).
1773 British Virgin Islands administratively united (Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, Peter, Norman, Guana, Ginger and Salt Islands).
1816 - 1871 Part St. Christopher, Nevis, Anguilla, and the British Virgin Islands colony (see St. Kitts).
1833 - 1 Jan 1960 Part of Leeward Islands colony (see Antigua). 1 Jan 1960 Separate colony.
18 Apr 1967 Autonomous



The European discovery and naming of Anguilla is often credited to French explorer Pierre Laudonnaire who visited the island in 1565, though according to some it had been sighted and named by Columbus in 1493.

The Dutch claimed to have built a fort on the island in 1631, but no remains have been found and the location of the site is unknown. The first English colonists arrived from Saint Kitts in 1650, and began growing both tobacco and corn crops. The early colonisation was precarious: in 1656 Carib Indians invaded and destroyed the settlements, and in 1666 the island was captured by French forces. However, the British regained control of the island from the French in 1667 under the Treaty of Breda, and despite hardships caused by poor crop yields, drought and famine, the settlers hung on.

In 1744 Anguillans invaded the French half of the neighbouring island of Saint Martin, holding it until the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748). During continuing struggles between the British and the French for control in the Caribbean, the French made further attempts to invade Anguilla in 1745 and 1796 but these failed.

Attempts were made to develop Anguilla into a plantation-based economy employing slaves transported from Africa, but the island's soil and climate were unfavourable and the plantations were largely unsuccessful. Slaves were permitted to leave the plantations and pursue their own interests, and, with the British abolition of slavery in the 1830s, many plantation owners returned to Europe, leaving Anguilla's community consisting largely of subsistence farmers and fishermen of African descent. At this time Anguilla's population is estimated to have fallen from a peak of around 10,000 to just 2,000.

Since the early days of colonisation, Anguilla had been administered by the British through Antigua, with Anguilla also having its own local council. In 1824 the British government placed Anguilla under the administrative control of Saint Kitts, later to become part of the colony of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla (Saint Christopher being an earlier name for Saint Kitts), itself a member of the Federal Colony of the Leeward Islands. Anguillans protested strongly at this arrangement, perceiving a lack of interest in their affairs on the part of the Saint Kitts administration, and several requests were made for the island to be ruled directly from Britain. These requests went unheeded however, and the Anguillans' discontent continued to simmer until finally brought to a head in the 1960s.


Trinidad and Tobago: Nieuw Walcheren (Tobago)

In 1628 a Dutch ship with 68 colonists landed in the island (called by them Nieuw Walcheren). They founded a fort called Fort Flushing near today’s Plymouth in the Great Courland Bay. In 1629 and 1632 more ships arrived from Zeeland to strengthen the small Dutch settlement that now was populated by about 200 colonists. The history of this first colony had a tragic conclusion on 1 January 1637 when a Spanish expedition destroyed the settlement and massacred the colonists. A few months later, in 1637, a Courlandian (Courland was a dukedom situated in the present Republic of Latvia) ship with 212 colonists attempted to found a colony in the island but both this attempt and a subsequent one, in 1639, ended in failure. In 1639 the English also attempted to found a settlement in Tobago but the colonists were forced to withdraw in 1640. A renewed English attempt in 1642 met the same fate. In 1642 about 300 Courlanders made a third attempt to colonize Tobago but the Caribs attacked and killed many of them. The survivors escaped to the Wild Coast (today’s Guyana). In 1647, a third English attempt also failed. On 20 May 1654, a Courlanders expedition of 80 families and 149 soldiers landed at Great Courland Bay. They renamed the island New Courland and started to build a fort named Fort Jacob. In September 1654, a Zeelandian expedition under Pieter Becquart founded a settlement at Lampsins Bay on the opposite side of the island. This new settlement was named Nieuw Flushing. The Dutch built here three forts. The strongest was called Fort Lampsinsberg, the other two were Fort Beveren and Fort Bellavista. Thus the island was divided between the two nations. In 1657 reinforcements arrived from Courland and about 120 colonists were added. Meanwhile, the Dutch settlement had had a swift growth and in 1658 about 500 Frenchmen settled under Dutch sovereignty. They founded a settlement (named Le Quartier des Trois Rivières) in Little Courland Bay, not far from the Courlanders colony. By 1658, 1.200 men peopled the Dutch colony. The Courlanders were in trouble for there was the Baltic war and no reinforcements came from Courland. On 11 December 1659, the Courlanders surrendered the colony to the Dutch. The Dutch colony flourishing, it counted in 1660 about 1.500 colonists (prevalently Zeelanders and Frenchmen) and 7.000 slaves. There were three churches and six or seven sugar mills. The island produced sugar, rum and cacao. There were about 120 plantations, and 2 rum distilleries. In January 1666, the colony was forced to surrender to the British pirates from Jamaica. A few days later English troops arrived and assumed official English control of Tobago. A garrison of 50 Englishmen was left in the island. This garrison surrendered to the French in August 1666. A short time later the French must have abandoned Tobago. In fact, when the Dutch Admiral Abraham Crijnssen landed in April 1667, he found the island deserted and the forts and the houses of the colony in ruins. He had the fort restored and left a garrison of 29 men. In December 1668 a Courlandian ship made an attempt to occupy the old site of Fort Jacob but the Dutch were watchful and the Courlanders escaped. In 1672, about 500 Dutch colonists arrived. On 18 December 1672, an English expedition totaling 6 ships and 600 men conquered the colony after five or six hours of fight. The British destroyed the colony and the colonists were deported to Barbados. Tobago was again abandoned. The second peace of Westminster in 1674 gave back Tobago to the Dutch, but they reoccupied the island only on 1 September 1676 when an expedition under the command of Jacob Binckes landed at Klip Bay and a new fort was built near were once stood Nieuw Flushing. The new fort was called Fort Sterreschans; it was a star-shaped fort whit four bulwarks. A small outpost was built on a hill overlooking the bay. In February 1677 Dutch reinforcements (about 150 men) landed, but a few days later a French fleet totaling 24 ships and 4.000 men was sighted. The Dutch had 700 soldiers, 100 colonists and 15 ships anchored in the bay. On 21 February 1677, the French landed 1.000 men and attacked the fort but failed. After this, on 3 March 1677, the French Admiral Count D’Estrées decided to attempt a dangerous attack to the Dutch by land and sea. The battle was destructive for both parties and the Dutch remained masters of the fort, but only three Dutch ships and 400 men survived the battle. All the French ships were damaged and four were lost. After this battle the French troops left Tobago. On 6 December 1677, a new French fleet totaling 21 ships under D’Estrées landed in Tobago. The Dutch now numbered only 700 men and 5 ships. The French attacked the Dutch fort from the land side, and a French "fire ball" fell near the powder magazine of the fort that exploded. This terrific explosion killed Bickens and about 250 of his men. As the Dutch survivors surrendered, the French destroyed the remains of the Sterreschans and abandoned the island. This marked the end of the Dutch attempts to make Tobago a Dutch colony.

Trinidad and Tobago: Nieuw Walcheren


Trinidad , Tobago,  Nieuw Walcheren


 Honduras Trujillo (1623) Baai-eilanden  ( Bay Islands )

The Bay Islands were first discovered by Christopher Columbus on his fourth voyage to America in 1502. They were later claimed, and successively held, by Great Britain, Spain, and the Dutch United Provinces. Britain finally took control in 1643 and, with the exception of a one-month period of Spanish dominance in 1780, held onto them as a Crown colony, dependent on Jamaica. In 1860, in the aftermath of the William Walker filibustering affair, the British crown recognized Honduran sovereignty and ceded possession of them. The department of Islas de la Bahía was officially incorporated into the nation on 14 March 1872.

Honduras Bay islands




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