Brief Chronology

  • 1609 Henry Hudson, an Englishman sailing for the Dutch East India Company with the ship the Half Moon, ‘discovers’ the still relatively unknown Muhheakantuck River in northeast America that would later be named after him.
  • 1610 Amsterdam fur traders contract with seafarer Hendrick Christiaensen who knows the river as Rivière Montagne. Christiaensen, along with Adriaen Block and Jacob Eelkens, sets sail and ‘rediscovers’ the river.
  • 1611 Christiaensen, Block, and Eelkens explore the area more fully and start mapping it. They discover a good source for fur and trade opportunities.
  • 1612 These explorers build good, trusting relationships with local native tribes, especially the Mohawks and the Mohicans. They engage in lucrative trade – even create formal agreements – and improve their maps of the area.
  • 1613 Christiaensen and Block bring two sons of native tribe chiefs to Holland. Using their “guests”, Christiaensen and Block, and the Amsterdam merchants they represent, establish an exclusive trading license from Prince Maurits.
  • 1614 Competing traders do not recognise Maurits’s authority. All merchants involved unite to form the New Netherland Company, which gets an exclusive license from the States General. A trading post, Fort Nassau is built on Castle Island. New Netherland is born.
  • 1615 Through the establishment of steady and fair trade with the native tribes, the Dutch solidify their enduring economic and political influence in North America.
  • 1616 The New Netherland Company extends its trading area to the south and explores another unknown river, now known as the Delaware. The region is mapped.
  • 1617 The traders discover that a specific type of shell bead, called Wampum or Sewant, is highly valued by the native tribes. Theses beads can be used as currency, which makes the fur trade even more lucrative.
  • 1618 The States General decide that the trade license of the New Netherland Company is no longer exclusive, and grants licensing to another trade company.
  • 1619 Competition in the trading market destabilizes relations with the native. This leads to some bloody skirmishes, including one in which Hendrick Christiaensen and most of his crew are killed.
  • 1620 The Pilgrims from Leiden join their fellow Puritan believers, and settle themselves northeast of New Netherland in newly created New England. There they establish the Plymouth Plantation.
  • 1621 The Twelve Years Truce with Spain ends, and the Dutch Republic immediately establishes the counterpart of the East India Company (VOC), the West India Company. This WIC will get the exclusive license to exploit and colonize the area.
  • 1622 The New Netherland Company and other merchants are ordered to halt all their activities, and return their people, ships, and goods.
  • 1623 The WIC takes over the trade and some of the captains, and starts searching for more suitable places for forts and colonies. They re-establish relationships with the Native Tribes.
  • 1624 New Netherland becomes an official Dutch colony and province, under the auspices of the West India Company. The first colonists arrive on the ship ‘New Netherland’ and settle at several locations in the region.
  • 1625 Construction of Fort New Amsterdam begins on the island of Manhattan. A year later, the island is ‘bought’ from the Indians for tradesware worth a few dollars. Today, this area is known as New York City.
  • 1664 The English claim the region, ‘because it was discovered by Englishman Henry Hudson in 1609,’ and, under threat of war, Peter Stuyvesant is forced to hand over New Netherland. New Netherland and New Amsterdam are renamed New Jersey, Delaware and New York.
  • 1673 As a result of the Third Anglo-Dutch War, the Dutch reconquer New Netherland. A year later, during peace negotiations, it is exchanged for Surinam.