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The Dutch former Colonies

Forts in Nieuw Nederland

A fantastic site about the forts and their remains is The Virtual Tour of New Netherland

Settlements

* Noten Eylandt
*
Rensselaerwyck
*
New Haarlem
*
Noortwyck
*
Beverwyck
*
Wiltwyck
*
Bergen
*
Pavonia
* Vriessendael
*
Achter Col
*
Vlissingen
*
Oude Dorpe
*
Colen Donck
*
Gravesende
*
Breuckelen
*
New Amersfoort
* Midwout
*
New Utrecht
*
Boswyck
*
Nieuw Dorp
*
Middleburgh
* Midwout
* New Utrecht
* Rensselaerswijck

 

Noten Eylandt -Governors Island  1611

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governors_Island

Governors Island is a 172-acre (69 ha) island in Upper New York Bay, approximately one-half mile (1 km) from the southern tip of Manhattan Island and separated from Brooklyn by Buttermilk Channel. It is legally part of the borough of Manhattan in New York City. The island was expanded by approximately 82 acres (33 ha) of landfill on its southern side when the Lexington Avenue subway was excavated in the early 1900s.

First named by the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block, it was called Noten Eylant (and later in pidgin language Nutten Island) from 1611 to 1784. The island's current name stems from British colonial times when the colonial assembly reserved the island for the exclusive use of New York's royal governors.

From 1783 to 1966, the island was a United States Army post. From 1966 to 1996 the island served as a major United States Coast Guard installation. In 2001, the two historical fortifications and their surroundings became a National Monument. On January 31, 2003, control of most of the island was transferred to the State of New York for a symbolic $1, but 13% of the island (22 acres or 9 ha) was transferred to the United States Department of the Interior as the Governors Island National Monument, administered by the National Park Service. The national monument area is in the early stages of development and open only on a seasonal basis, so services and facilities are limited.

The portion of the island not included in the National Monument is administered by the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC), a public corporation of the State of New York. The transfer included deed restrictions which prohibit permanent housing or casinos on the island.

The national historic landmark district, approximately 92 acres (37 ha) of the northern half of the island, is open to the public for several months in the summer and early fall. In 2008, the island is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from May 31 to October 5. The seven minute ferry ride and admission to the island are free. The ferry leaves from the Battery Maritime Building (built in 1909)[3] at South and Whitehall Streets at the southern tip of Manhattan.

The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel passes underwater and off-shore of the island's northeast corner, its location marked by a ventilation building connected to the island by a causeway. At one point prior to World War II, Robert Moses proposed a bridge across the harbor, with a base located on Governors Island; the intervention of the War Department under Franklin D. Roosevelt quashed the plan as a possible navigational threat to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

 

Noten Eylandt -Governors Island

Noten Eylandt -Governors Island

Noten Eylandt -Governors Island

Noten Eylandt -Governors Island

Noten Eylandt -Governors Island

 

Rensselaerwyck 1637

STEPHEN VAN RENSSELAER was the fifth in direct line of descent from Killian Van Rensselaer, a merchant of Holland, who obtained by purchase from the Indians, about the year 1637, a district about twenty-four miles in breadth by forty-eight in length ...STEPHEN VAN RENSSELAER was the fifth in direct line of descent from Killian Van Rensselaer, a merchant of Holland, who obtained by purchase from the Indians, about the year 1637, a district about twenty-four miles in breadth by forty-eight in length, comprising the territory which has since become the counties of Albany, Columbia and Rensselaer, in the state of New York. He named it the Colony and Manor of Rensselaerwyck, and was its first Patroon.
 

New Haarlem 1658

Originally a Dutch village, it was organized by a Governor and Council ordinance on March 4, 1658, whose ground breaking was on August 14, 1658,whereby it remained independent of the City of New York until 1873.

 

Noortwyck

The Village was seemingly named after Greenwich, London, England. However, it was called Noortwijck ("Noort" or "North" because of its location north of the original settlement on Manhattan Island) or Groenwijck by the Dutch founders before the British takeover
 

Beverwyck

Beverwyck is the popular and mythical name given to the community of fur traders that first emerged along the river to the north of Fort Orange during the 1640s. The name came into official use in 1652 when the Dutch West India Company established a judicial jurisdiction for the land north of the trading post/fort. That act began a legacy of home rule for Albany that was primarily responsible for its development into a pre-urban center. Immediately following, the first houselots were parcelled out. By the end of the decade, a log palisade had enclosed the settlement.

Anchored by an increasingly broad range of issues that were considered by the Beverwyck court, by 1660 that community had achieved a commercial, production, and services identity that would make it increasingly different from surrounding Rensselaerswyck - basically a plantation of small farms and budding processing operations. Although the Indian fur trade was at the heart of the community economy, a diversity of functions characterized the settlement from its earliest days. During the 1650s, Beverwyck couples began to raise large families that would give the growing settlement its cultural character for much of the next century.

By 1660, the fur trade had become so competitive that groups of traders were petitioning the court regarding conflicting visions of the fur trading process.

In 1664, New Netherland fell to the English and Beverwyck was renamed "Albany." The Beverwyck court was continued as the court of Albany, Rensselaerswyck, and Schenectady. In 1673, New York was retaken by the Dutch and Albany was called "Willemstadt." The English regained jurisdiction in 1674 and the community has been called Albany ever since!

 

Wiltwyck

The City of Kingston was first called Esopus after a local Indian tribe, then Wiltwyck. It was one of the three large settlements in New Netherland, the other two being Beverwyck and the Manhattans, centered around New Amsterdam In 1777 Kingston became the first capital of New York. Shortly after the Battle of Saratoga, the city was burned by British troops moving up the Hudson River from New York City, disembarking at the mouth of the Rondout Creek on the formation the Dutch had named Ponck Hockie.
 

Bergen

Pavonia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavonia,_New_Netherland

Pavonia was a settlement on the west bank of the Hudson River that was part of the 17th century province of New Netherland in what would become contemporary Hudson County.
Pavonia is the Latinized form of Pauw, which means "peacock".

The first recorded European to explore the area was Henry Hudson, an Englishman commissioned by the Dutch East India Company, who anchored his ship the Halve Maen (Half Moon) at Harsimus Cove and Weehawken Cove in 1609 while exploring the Upper New York Bay and the Hudson Valley.

At that time the area was inhabited by bands of Algonquian language speaking peoples, collectively known as Lenni Lenape and later called Delaware Indian. The seasonally migrational people who circulated in the region were to become known as the Hackensack, the Tappan, the Wappani, the Raritan, the Manhattan, and the Canarsee.

Furthur explorations and settlement led to the establishment of Fort Amsterdam at the southern tip of the island of Manhattan in 1625. In 1629, the Dutch West India Company started to grant the title of patroon and land patents to some of its invested members. The deeded tracts spanned 16 miles (26 km) in length on one side of a major river, or 8 miles (13 km) if spanning both sides. The title came with powerful rights and privileges, including creating civil and criminal courts, appointing local officials and holding land in perpetuity. In return, a patroon was expected to establish a settlement of at least 50 families within four years of the original grant. These first settlers were relieved of the duty of public taxes for ten years, but were required to pay the patroon in money, goods, or services in kind.

A patent for the west bank of the river was given to Michael Pauw[1], a burgermeester of Amsterdam and a director of the Dutch West India Company. Pavonia is the Latinized form of Pauw's surname, which means "peacock". As was required, Pauw purchased the land from the indigenous population, though the concept of ownership differed significantly for the parties involved. Three Lenape "sold" the land for 80 fathoms (146 m) of wampum, 20 fathoms (37 m) of cloth, 12 kettles, six guns, two blankets, one double kettle and half a barrel of beer. These transactions, dated July 12, 1630 and November 22, 1630, represent the earliest known conveyance for the area. It is said that the three were part of the same band who had sold Manhattan Island to Peter Minuit then "sold" this land, to which they had retired after that sale in 1626.

 
Pavonia
Pavonia
Vriessendael
Vriessendael was a patroonship on the west bank of the Hudson River in New Netherland, the seventeenth century North American colonial province of the Dutch Empire. The homestead or plantation was located on a tract of about 500 acres (2.0 km2) about an hour's walk north of Communipaw at today's Edgewater. It has also been known as Tappan, which referred to the wider region of the New Jersey Palisades, rising above the river on both sides of the New York/New Jersey state line, and to the indigenous people who lived there and were part of wider group known as Lenape (later called Delaware Indian). It was established in 1640 by David Pietersen de Vries (c. 1593-c.1655), a Dutch sea captain, explorer, and trader who had also established settlements at the Zwaanendael Colony and on Staten Island. The name can roughly be translated as De Vries' Valley. De Vries also owned flatlands along the Hackensack River, in the area named by the Dutch settlers Achter Col.  Parts of Vriessendael were destroyed in 1643 in reprisal for the slaughter of Tappan and Wecquaesgeek Native Americans who had taken refuge at Pavonia and Corlears Hook. The patroon's relatively good relations with the Lenape prevented the murder of the plantation's residents, who were able to seek sanctuary in the main house, and later flee to New Amsterdam. The incident was one of the first of many to take place during Kieft's War, a series of often bloody conflicts with bands of Lenape, who had united in face of attacks  ordered by the Director of New Netherland

Vriessendael

 Achter Col
Achter Col was at first part of the patroonship called Pavonia, patented in 1630, and reverted back to the Dutch West India Company in 1636. Homesteads of Pavonia where clustered at Communipaw and Harsimus on the Hudson River. David Pietersen de Vries (c. 1593-c.1655), a Dutch sea captain, explorer, and trader, who had established settlements at the Zwaanendael Colony, Staten Island, and nearby Vriessendael, as was an early European proprietor of the area. In his "Korte Historiael Ende Journaels Aenteyckeninge" (Short Historical Notes and Journal Notes of Various Voyages), published in 1655, de Vries described a Lenape hunt in the valley of the Achinigeu-hach (or Ackingsah-sack) in which one hundred or more men stood in a line many paces from each other, beating thigh bones on their palms to drive animals to the river, where they could be killed easily. Other methods of hunting included lassoing and drowning deer, as well as forming a circle around prey and setting the brush on fire.

In 1642, Myndert Myndertsen received a patent for much the land north of the Newark Bay. An absentee landlord, Myndertsen hired a superintendent to construct a farmhouse (a combined dwelling and barn), completed the same year. Originally spared in the reprisals for the attacks at Pavonia and Corlears Hook that began Kieft's War in 1643, the residents were ordered back to the relative safety of Fort Amsterdam and replaced by a regiment of soldiers with cannons. Perceived as an act of war by the Hackensack it was later plundered and destroyed. The Achter Col Colony was not replaced [2]

After some time, relations with Hackensack Lenape improved. Oratam, the sachem, or sagamore, of the Hackensack engaged peacefully and shrewdly with representatives of the Dutch West India Company. Both parties were helped considerably by Sarah Kiersted, who had mastered the Algonquian language and acted as translator and scribe. For her help Oratam, in 1638, gave her a land grant of large area, which she declined to settle. The first homestead to be built was at present day Bogota across the Hackensack from a Lenape encampment at contemporary Hackensack. In late 1654 a series of grants were made for land "achter Kol" [3] Eventually, Oratam, deeded the land to the Dutch in 1665. A representation of Chief Oratam of the Achkinhenhcky appears on the Hackensack municipal seal. [4]. By that time the lands west of the Hudson River (today's Hudson County, the Palisades, the Meadowlands, and the Hackensack River Valley) was called Bergen. It's administrative headquarters at the garrisoned village at today's Bergen Square were later established in 1660.

 Achter Col
 
The town of Vlissingen on Long Island was named after a town in the Netherlands. It would become much better known, however, by the corrupted English form of the name: Flushing. Today it may summon images of serves and volleys-the National Tennis Center is at Flushing Meadow. But Flushing's true contribution to history came over a confrontation in the late 1650s and early 1660s. The Dutch had allowed a group of English religious dissidents from New England to settle the town, and among its early residents was a population of Quakers. Under the West India Company rules for New Netherland, there was an official state religion—the Dutch Reformed faith—and while "freedom of conscience" was allowed to residents under the Dutch constitutional document, only Dutch Reformed congregations were permitted. The Quakers of Vlissingen, however, insisted on proclaiming their faith publicly, and Petrus Stuyvesant responded with a crackdown.

In reaction, members of the town drafted what would become one of the foundational documents in American history, the Flushing Remonstrance. The Remonstrance argued against the legitimacy of the persecution of Quakers, and it based its argument on Dutch law and the Dutch constitutional document, called the Union of Utrecht, of which the Dutch were justly proud and which stated that "each person shall remain free, especially in his religion, and that no one shall be persecuted or investigated because of their religion."

Stuyvesant won the first round, imprisoning Vlissingen activist John Bowne for allowing Quakers to meet in his house. Ultimately, however, Bowne, and religious freedom, would prevail. Bowne took the cause to the Netherlands, where the West India Company agreed that, under Dutch law, religious freedom was guaranteed to all.

Vlissingen (Flushing)
The town of Vlissingen on Long Island was named after a town in the Netherlands. It would become much better known, however, by the corrupted English form of the name: Flushing. Today it may summon images of serves and volleys-the National Tennis Center is at Flushing Meadow. But Flushing's true contribution to history came over a confrontation in the late 1650s and early 1660s. The Dutch had allowed a group of English religious dissidents from New England to settle the town, and among its early residents was a population of Quakers. Under the West India Company rules for New Netherland, there was an official state religion—the Dutch Reformed faith—and while "freedom of conscience" was allowed to residents under the Dutch constitutional document, only Dutch Reformed congregations were permitted. The Quakers of Vlissingen, however, insisted on proclaiming their faith publicly, and Petrus Stuyvesant responded with a crackdown.

In reaction, members of the town drafted what would become one of the foundational documents in American history, the Flushing Remonstrance. The Remonstrance argued against the legitimacy of the persecution of Quakers, and it based its argument on Dutch law and the Dutch constitutional document, called the Union of Utrecht, of which the Dutch were justly proud and which stated that "each person shall remain free, especially in his religion, and that no one shall be persecuted or investigated because of their religion."

Stuyvesant won the first round, imprisoning Vlissingen activist John Bowne for allowing Quakers to meet in his house. Ultimately, however, Bowne, and religious freedom, would prevail. Bowne took the cause to the Netherlands, where the West India Company agreed that, under Dutch law, religious freedom was guaranteed to all.

Oude Dorpe
Old Town is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Staten Island, located on its East Shore. Old Town was established in August 1661 as part of New Netherland, and was the first permanent European settlement on Staten Island.Originally described as "Oude Dorpe" (old village in Dutch), much of its original territory makes up what is present-day South Beach.
Colen Donck
Colen Donck was the title of a large Dutch-American owned estate of 24,000 acres (97 km²) (a patroonship) originally owned by Adriaen van der Donck in New Netherland, on the New York mainland north of Manhattan.

According to Russell Shorto, "Van der Donck's grant began on the mainland directly to the north of the island (Manhattan), continued along the river for twelve miles, and carried eastward as far as the Bronx River ... he became lord of much of what is today the Bronx and southern Westchester County".

Willem Kieft the Director-General of New Netherland granted Van der Donck the property in 1646. Adriaen van der Donck named his estate Colen Donck and built several mills along what is now called the Saw Mill River. The estate was so large that locals referred to him as the Jonkheer ("young gentleman" or "squire"), a word from which the name "Yonkers" is derived.

Gravesend
Gravesend (pronounced "GRAVES end", not "grave SEND") is a neighborhood in the south-central section of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, USA.

The derivation of the name is unclear. Some speculate that it was named after the English seaport of Gravesend, Kent. An alternative explanation suggests that it was named by Willem Kieft for the Dutch settlement of "'s- Gravesande", which means "Count's Beach" or "Count's Sand".
Afternoon by the Sea (Gravesend Bay), a pastel by William Merritt Chase, ca 1888 shows traditional catboats in the bay and the Navesink Highlands across Lower New York Bay.

Gravesend was one of the original towns in the Dutch colony of New Netherland and became one of the six original towns of Kings County in colonial New York. It was the only English chartered town in what became Kings County and was designated the "Shire Town" when the English assumed control, as it was the only one where records could be kept in English. Courts were removed to Flatbush in 1685. The former name survives, and is now associated with a neighborhood in Brooklyn. Gravesend is notable for being founded by a woman, Lady Deborah Moody; a land patent was granted to the English settlers by Governor Willem Kieft, December 19, 1645.

Breuckelen (Brooklyn)
In 1636, about twelve years after Dutch settlers began to establish the community of New Amsterdam at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, a handful of pioneers among them spread across the East River to set up plantations on the western-most edge of Long Island. In 1646, the first Dutch community on the island was incorporated. It was called Breuckelen, after a town in the Netherlands. The first settlers placed their farms along the Indian trail that ran from the river southward. When regular ferry service began in 1642 to bring residents back and forth across the East River, it docked at the property of Cornelis Dircksen Hooglandt, who became the first ferryman. In a later period, the road from the ferry was named Fulton Street, in honor of the steamboat inventor Robert Fulton.

The earliest mention of the name Breuckelen in the records of the colony of New Netherland is a contract dated 1646, which begins: "Gerrit Douman, sergeant, and Jan Tonissen, schout of Breuckelen, have this day agreed and contracted in manner as follows, to wit: Jan Tonissen promises to cut at Breuckelen, or wherever he can best do so, the following timber and to properly hew and deliver the same out of the woods near the ferryman on the strand…"

The village of Breuckelen is not synonymous with the borough of Brooklyn today, but was one of six towns settled under Dutch rule within the area of the borough. The others were Amersfoort, New Utrecht, Boswyck, Midwout and Gravesend. Breuckelen was located directly across the East River from New Amsterdam, on the southern tip of Manhattan, at what is now Brooklyn Heights. It was only in the nineteenth century that the then rapidly expanding city of Brooklyn annexed the neighboring areas of Bushwick, Gravesend, Flatbush, New Utrecht, Williamsburg and New Lots, becoming the third largest city in the nation by 1860. Then Brooklyn itself was incorporated into New York City in 1898. Thus, the infamously patchwork street pattern of Brooklyn, with its seemingly chaotic thicket of neighborhoods, is a direct result of the area having started life as six separate Dutch towns.

New Amersfoort

Flatlands is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. The area is part of Brooklyn Community Board 18.
One of the original five Dutch towns on Long Island (given the right to local rule by Peter Stuyvesant in 1661), this neighborhood was originally known as Nieuw Amersfoort, after the Dutch city of Amersfoort, but the name was changed to "Flatlands" after the British captured the area (future Kings County) from the Dutch in 1664. The area may have been settled by French Walloons as early as 1623, and by native Lenni-Lenape Native Americans long before that.
Flatlands was originally a farming community where tobacco, corn, squash, and beans were grown, and oysters and clams were harvested from Jamaica Bay.
Boswyck
Bushwick is a neighborhood in the northeastern part of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. It is bounded by East Williamsburg to the northwest, Bed-Stuy to the southwest, the Cemetery of the Evergreens and other cemeteries to the southeast, and Ridgewood, Queens to the northeast.The neighborhood, formerly Brooklyn's 18th Ward, is now part of Brooklyn Community Board 4.
Nieuw Dorp
New Dorp (anglicization of Nieuw Dorp, Early New Dutch for New Village) is a neighborhood in the area of Staten Island, New York, USA. The community lies near the foot of Todt Hill, and Grant City lies immediately to its north, with Oakwood bordering to the south, and New Dorp Beach borders it to the East. Formerly one of the most important towns on the island before suburbanization, it was the center of much activity during the American Revolution. Despite surrounding development, the neighborhood has retained its distinct character as a town, and is one of the most thriving commercial centers on the Island.

Like all of Staten Island, the area of New Dorp was populated by American Indians going back over 10,000 years. At the time of the arrival of the Europeans in the 17th Century, it was inhabited primary by the Raritans and other subgroups of the Lenape tribe.

The first recorded European settlement of the area was in 1671. The English, after having taken over the New Netherland colony from the Dutch, expanded the previous Dutch settlements along the South Shore at Oude Dorp ("Old Village") which had been established ten years earlier. In the late 19th century, it became the home to members of the prominent Vanderbilt family, many of whom are buried here in the Moravian Cemetery. The Vanderbilt farm was later used by the U.S. Army, as Miller Air Field and in the 1970s became part of Gateway National Recreation Area.

Maspeth/ Middleburgh/Hastings/Newtown
The European settlement of what is today the borough of Queens did not begin auspiciously. Its leader was an English firebrand minister named Francis Doughty, whose preaching—in particular his belief that the descendants of Abraham were entitled to Baptism—became too radical for the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay colony. When Doughty showed up on the streets of New Amsterdam, director-general Willem Kieft, who was searching desperately for settlers, offered him the chance to start an English town on Long Island, under Dutch protection. Kieft promised Doughty that he would also be free to preach his chosen gospel. In 1642 Doughty brought several families to his new community, called Maspeth.

Kieft was rather generous, granting a "certain parcel of land situate on Long Island…containing…six thousand six hundred and sixty-six Dutch acres or thereabouts, comprehended within four right lines…"-more or less the entire western half of the borough of Queens. But the newcomers had just begun their settlement in earnest when an Indian attack leveled the place in 1643. The survivors limped back to Manhattan, and Rev. Doughty established himself for a time as minister to the English residents of New Amsterdam. Thus ended the original community of Maspeth.

Midwout (Flatbush)
In the 1640s, New Amsterdammers began dividing the western portion of Long Island into farms and farming communities. Throughout the decade they avoided one area because it was heavily wooded, and thus would be difficult to clear for farming. The forests finally succumbed to Dutch axes, however, and by 1652 the village of Midwout, or Middle Woods, came into being. The name it eventually received under the English—Flatbush—is not of English origin, as is often thought, but a corruption of the Dutch "vlackebos," or wooded plain, and thus also refers to the thick forests that once covered the region.

The area that became famous in the first half of the twentieth century as the home of the Brooklyn Dodgers (and for the highly localized accent that would become synonymous with Brooklyn) was renowned in the seventeenth century as the home of the first Dutch church in the region outside of New Amsterdam. The church came into being a few years after the town itself. In December 1654, Petrus Stuyvesant, director-general of New Netherland, together with his council, resolved "to prepare and build in the village of Midwout a house of about sixty or sixty five feet in length, twenty eight feet in width and twelve or fourteen feet high under the crossbeams, with an extension in the rear, where a chamber may be partitioned off for the preacher." But taverns must have appeared sometime before the church, for in that same month the council appointed Warnaer Wessels to the job of collecting "the excise on wine and beer to be consumed by the tavernkeepers and tapsters on Long Island in the villages of Breuckelen, Midwout, Amersfoort and the adjacent places under their jurisdiction during the next coming year."

New Utrecht
In 1643, Anthony Jansen Van Salee, a half-Dutch, half-Moroccan son of a pirate, and a resident of New Amsterdam, obtained from the director-general of New Netherland a patent on a vast tract of farmland-100 morgens, or more than 200 acres-on westernmost Long Island. It ran along the shore of the Bay and stood opposite Staten Island. Most of the land remained wild until, in 1652, another pioneer, Cornelius van Werckhoven, took it over. He settled there with his family, but died three years later. At this point, his children's guardian, a man named Jacques Cortelyou, took charge of the estate. He applied to New Amsterdam for the right to divide the area into lots for a town, and he named it, in honor of his late patron's hometown in the Netherlands, New Utrecht.

The place was slow to take off, however. Four years after its settlement, the vast stretch of New Utrecht contained only four lonely homesteads. Once a palisade wall was erected, more residents came. The town was finally considered enough of a settlement to be granted municipal rights in 1661.

New Utrecht remained a remote and rather independent farming village until the late 1800's, supplying fresh produce to the metropolis of Brooklyn. Today, New Utrecht is a neighborhood within the area of Bensonhurst. One of its oldest buildings, the New Utrecht Reformed Church, at 18th Avenue and 83rd Street, which dates to 1829, is a direct descendant of the Dutch Reformed church founded here in 1677.

Rensselaerswijck
In 1631, seven years after Fort Orange was founded on the shores of the North River, one of the principal investors in the West India Company, a Dutch diamond merchant named Killiaen van Rensselaer, bought a sizable tract of land around the fort from the Mahicans who had long lived there, and proceeded to establish a "patroonship," or private farming community, which he named Rensselaerswijck. The West India Company, frustrated as to how best to populate its colony, had recently opened it up to private entrepreneurs, with the condition that in exchange for a piece of land each entrepreneur had to ship fifty colonists to it within four years. Of several such attempts, Van Rensselaer's was the only patroonship that was even marginally successful-indeed, it lasted into the nineteenth century, passing down through generations of the Van Rensselaer family.

Kiliaen Van Rensselaer never visited America, but he devoted a considerable portion of his attention and energy to his domain, which he fully intended to see turn a profit. It never did in his lifetime-he died in 1643, at the age of sixty-three-but it grew, with a steady stream of farmers and tradesmen coming from Europe.

The patroon's idea had been that Fort Orange and Rensselaerswijck would be mutually supporting: the fort would provide protection, and the patroonship would supply the fort with goods. But these two Dutch interests, almost literally on top of one another, eventually came into conflict. Two strong-willed men appeared on the scene at about the same time: Petrus Stuyvesant, director-general of New Netherland and thus the man in charge of Fort Orange, and Brant van Slichtenhorst, the director of Rensselaerswijck. Van Slichtenhorst took his position seriously, and refused to acknowledge Stuyvesant as his superior. He began almost at once to expand the patroon's already vast holdings. In 1649, he bought two adjoining tracts, which became the historically vital regions of Catskill and Claverack. He also made it a point of honor to defend the patroon's turf. It infuriated Stuyvesant when Van Slichtenhorst forbade Company workers from cutting wood or quarrying stone on the patroon's lands. A very personal struggle now escalated over power and jurisdiction. Van Slichtenhorst began building settlers' houses near the fort; Stuyvesant, claiming the "freedom of the fort" demanded a security perimeter, forbade all construction within a cannon-shot of the fort. Van Slichtenhorst ignored the order, and laid out plans for a community most of which fell well within the 3,000-foot perimeter that Stuyvesant had stipulated. Stuyvesant threw Van Slichtenhorst in prison for his insolence; Van Slichtenhorst escaped, and recommenced the building of his community. Stuyvesant ordered more soldiers to Fort Orange-making it ironic that the regarrisoning of the fort happened not as a result of Indian attacks or the English threat but because of the brewing confrontation with another Dutch entity.

Stuyvesant could not tolerate the existence of a growing, bustling community within the shadow of the fort and in defiance of his orders. Events came to a head when Van Slichtenhorst clashed violently with the commissary of Fort Orange. Company soldiers attacked Van Slichtenhorst's son; when Van Slichtenhorst vowed to retaliate, the guns of Fort Orange were trained on Van Slichtenhorst's house. In New Amsterdam, Petrus Stuyvesant boarded a Company ship and sailed northward to deal once and for all with the matter.

 

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