New York Under Dutch Rule

Dutch Era Header

In the 16th century, the great powers of Europe asserted the right to establish colonies on the other continents of the world based on international law claims of “first discovery and occupation.”  On September 11, 1609, the Dutch ship, the Halve Maen, entered New York Bay and sailed up the mighty river it found there. The river is known as the Hudson in honor of the ship’s captain, Henry Hudson.  The colony was named New Netherland.

Boundaries of New Netherland

New Netherland was much larger than the State of New York and extended from the Delmarva Peninsula to southwestern Cape Cod, and included lands that now form parts of the States of New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut. New Netherland also claimed small outposts in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

New Netherland Company Monopoly

By 1611, Dutch merchants had started to sail across the Atlantic Ocean to New Netherland to trade cloth and other commodities for beaver and otter pelts. In 1614, a group of Dutch merchants formed The New Netherland Company and obtained a three-year fur trading monopoly from the Dutch government, the States General of the United Provinces. Although that company established an outpost known as Fort Orange on Castle Island near Albany in 1615, these merchants were not settlers.

Dutch West India Company

In 1621, another merchant group incorporated the Dutch West India Company (the Company) and obtained from the States General a charter that granted it a twenty-four-year trading monopoly in all the lands claimed by the Dutch in the Americas and Africa. The charter, dated June 3, 1621, gave the Company almost complete administrative and judicial power, including the power to “appoint and remove governors, officers of justice and other public officers, for the preservation of the places, keeping good order, police and justice in like manner for the promoting of trade.” By 1623, the Company had drawn up plans to settle New Netherland and the first ships, laden with colonists and supplies, arrived in the colony in 1625.

New Netherland Becomes New York

Against the backdrop of the 17th century Anglo-Dutch wars, Charles II of England ordered the invasion of New Netherland in 1664. The English claim to the colony was based upon the voyages of exploration commissioned by Henry VII that had discovered the Atlantic coast of North America in 1497 and 1498.

Richard Nicoll was commissioned to lead the attack and when the English fleet sailed into New York harbor, the Dutch recognized the superiority of the invading fleet and surrendered to the English on September 8, 1664. This change of sovereignty was confirmed in the Treaty of Breda, 1667.

Dutch Form of Government Restored

The Third Anglo-Dutch war broke out in 1672 and, in 1673, a Dutch fleet arrived in the New York harbor. The Governor of New, York, Francis Lovelace, was engaged in negotiations with Governor of Connecticut and was absent from the colony. When the Dutch issued a demand for surrender, the Governor’s deputy, Captain John Manning, without authorization, immediately complied. The colony was renamed New Netherland and the Dutch form of government was restored. Within a year, the Third Anglo-Dutch war ended with the 1674 Treaty of Westminister that returned New Netherland to English rule.


Adriaen Van Der Donck Flushing Remonstrance

Important Figures

Directors & Director-General, 1623-1664


Adriaen Jorisz Thienpont

Unknown Director of New Netherland, 1624 Adriaen Jorisz Thienpont was appointed the first Director of New Netherland on June 20, ...

Willem Verhulst

Unknown Provisional Director of New Netherland, 1625-1626 In 1625, the Amsterdam Chamber of the Dutch West India Company sent an ...

Cornelis Jacobson Mey

c. 1580-Unknown Provisional Director of New Netherland, 1625 Captain Cornelis Jacobson Mey was an experienced captain in the Dutch merchant ...

Pieter Minuit

1580-1638 Director of New Netherland, 1626-1633 Pieter Minuit, born in 1580, was a Walloon from Wesel, Duchy of Cleves. By ...

Bastiaen Jansz Krol

1595-c. 1645 Director of New Netherland, 1632-1633 Bastiaen Jansz Krol, a silk worker by trade, was born in Harlingen, Friesland ...

Wouter Van Twiller

1606-1657 Director of New Netherland, 1633-1637 Wouter Van Twiller was born in Nieukirk, Holland on May 22, 1606, and became ...

Willem Kieft

1597-1647 Director of New Netherland, 1638-1646 Willem Kieft was born in September 1597 in Amsterdam, Holland. Educated to become a ...

Pieter Stuyvesant

c. 1612-1672 Director-General of New Netherland, 1647-1664 Pieter Stuyvesant was born in Friesland in the Netherlands around 1612. He studied ...

Governors, 1673-1674

Cornelis Eversten de Jongste

1628-1679 Governor of New Netherland, 1673 Cornelis Evertsen de Jonge (the Younger) was the son of Lieutenant-Admiral Johan Evertsen and ...

Anthony Colve

Unknown Governor of New Netherland, 1673-1674 Anthony Colve, a Dutch naval captain, was appointed Director-General of New Netherland in August ...

Jacob Benckes

1637-1677 Governor of New Netherland, 1673 Jacob Benckes was born on September 10, 1637, in the city of Koudum, in ...

The Council of New Netherland, 1625-1664  


Fiscael, 1625-1664, 1673-1674

The Role of the Fiscael

Jan Lampo

Unknown Schout-Fiscael of New Netherland, 1626-1631 During Director Pieter Minuit's administration, the Schout-fiscael was Jan Lampo, an Englishman from Canterbury ...

Coenraad Notelman

Unknown Schout of New Netherland, 1632-1634; 1634-1635 Coenraad Notelman, a cousin of Patroon Killiaen van Rensselaer, was appointed by the ...

Lubbert Van Dincklagen

Unknown-1658 Schout-Fiscael of New Netherland, 1633-1636 Vice Director of New Netherland, 1647-1651 Lubbert Van Dincklagen, widely regarded as an honorable ...

Jacques Bentyn

Unknown Schout-fiscael of New Netherland, 1636-1638 Jacques Bentyn (or Bentin), an Englishman, was appointed by the Dutch West India Company ...

Ulrich Lupolt

Unknown Schout-fiscael of New Netherland, 1638-1639 Ulrich Lupolt, a native of Stade, Germany, who on March 28, 1638 replaced Jacques ...

Cornelis van der Hoykens

Unknown-1647 Schout-Fiscael of New Netherland, 1639-1647 Around the late 1630s, the Dutch West India Company realized the pivotal role the ...

Schout, New Amsterdam, 1653-1665, 1673-1674

Cornelis Luycasz van Tienhoven

c. 1601-c. 1656 Schout-fiscael of New Netherland, 1652-1656 Schout-fiscael of New Amsterdam, 1653-1656 Cornelis van Tienhoven was born in Utrecht, ...

Nicasius de Sille

1610-1674 Schout of New Netherland, 1657-1664 Schout of New Amsterdam, 1657-1660 Nicasius de Sille was born September 23, 1610, in ...

Pieter Tonneman

Unknown Schout of New Amsterdam, 1660-1665 The Dutch West India Company ordered the separation of the office of Schout of ...

Allard Anthony

1620-1685 Schout of New Amsterdam, 1664-1667 First Sherrif of New York City Allard Anthony, born in 1620, was a prominent ...

Anthony de Milt

Unknown-1689 Schout of New Amsterdam, 1673-1674 Anthony de Milt (de Mille) is believed to have sailed from Amsterdam, Holland on ...

About the Period

Courts of the Era

The New Netherland Court of Justice, 1626-1674

From 1626 onward, the Director and Council, acting together, exercised all executive and legislative power within New Netherland. These men ...

Patroon Court

Under the 1629 Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions, patroons were empowered to administer civil and criminal justice, in person or ...

Local Courts in New Netherland

Long Island and Other Local English Courts In the early 1640s, many English families from Connecticut arrived in Long Island ...

William de Key v. Nicholas Coorn, 1644

William de Key (under the power of attorney for Govert Loockermans) v. Nicholas Coorn October 6, 1644 Public Property -- ...

The Court of the Burgomasters and Schepens, 1650-1660

Note: This description has been abstracted from: Henry Wilson Scott. The Courts of the State of New York: Their History, ...

The Court of Schout, Burgomasters and Schepens, 1660-1665; 1673-1674

In 1660, following petitions by the colonists, the offices of New Amsterdam schout and New Netherland Schout-fiscal were separated and ...

Remonstrances, Protests & Boards of Representatives

The Twelve Men and Director Kieft’s Indian War

Dutch relations with the Native Americans began well and the Company's Instructions to Director Willem Verhulst mandated that the indigenous ...

The Eight Men (1643-1647) and the Remonstrance of the Manhatas

The winter of 1643 was an extremely difficult time for the colonists of New Netherland. The Indian War continued, food ...

The Nine Men and the 1649 Remonstrance of the Commonality of New Netherland

When Director-General Pieter Stuyvesant arrived in New Netherland in 1647, he requested the people to select eighteen representatives, from among ...

The Flushing Remonstrance, 1657

Introduction Seventeenth-century settlers in Flushing drafted a protest that became a watershed of religious freedom in the New World. Let’s ...

Charters, Codes &Treaties

The 1621 Charter of the Dutch West India Company

In 1621, the parliament of the Dutch Republic awarded a charter to the Dutch West India Company (a private joint ...

The 1629 Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions

To encourage agricultural settlement in New Netherland, the Dutch West India Company issued a Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions on ...

The 1638 Articles and Conditions

Shortly after the implementation of the 1629 Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions, conflict arose between the Dutch West India Company ...

The 1640 Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions

Disputes between the Company and the patroons continued and, in January 1640, the Dutch parliament sought a final settlement between ...

The Provisional Order, 1650

This order was promulgated by the Dutch Parliament in response to the Remonstrance of New Netherland. Clause 17 of the ...

The Articles of Surrender, 1664

Under the Articles of Surrender, the formal transfer of power was conducted with full military honors. Colonists could choose to ...


Jaap Jacobs. The Colony of New Netherland: A Dutch Settlement in Seventeenth-century Amerirca (2009).

Adriaen van der Donck. A Description of New Netherland (1665). Edited by Charles T. Gehring and William A. Starna and translated by Diederik Willem Goedhuys (2008). E.B. O’Callaghan. Annals of New Netherland (1865), in The Register of New Netherland, 1626-1674, p. xi-xx.

Further Reading

Jean Zimmerman. The Women of the House: How a Colonial She-Merchant Built a Mansion, a Fortune, and a Dynasty (2006). Russell Shorto. The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America (2005). Opening Statements: Law, Jurisprudence and the Legacy of Dutch New York.edited by Albert M. & Julia C. Rosenblatt. (2013). Articles by Jaap Jacobs: Bibliography

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