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  City Hall Library Notes, July 2009


By Christine Bruzzese

September 3, 2009 will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Dutch East India Company expedition in what is now New York City. This expedition, led by Henry Hudson, was the first of several. By 1626, the New Amsterdam colony had been established. New Amsterdam remained under Dutch control until September 1664 when the British seized the colony and it was renamed New York. This article features some resources on the Dutch colony and New Amsterdam that can be found in the City Hall Library.

The Dutch Founding of New York by Thomas A. Janvier was originally published in 1903 and reprinted in 1967. This book chronicles the expeditions of the Dutch East India Company, establishment of the first settlements, developments in trade and government matters. The British takeover is also discussed. Original illustrations and maps enhance the text.

Records of New Amsterdam: 1653 to 1664 is a six-volume set. This consists of English translations of various records of the Burgomasters and Schepens of New Amsterdam. Ordinances, court minutes, administrative minutes and more are included. Minutes of the Executive Board of the Burgomasters of New Amsterdam deals with various matters brought before this body such as debts, care of orphans, fire fighting, etc. All of these publications were originally translated and edited by Berthold Fernow, an archivist of New York State in 1907. In 1967, the Records were reprinted. A new edition of the Minutes of the Executive Board appeared in 1970.

A Sweet and Alien Land: the Story of Dutch New York by Henri and Barbara van der Zee was published in 1978. Examined in this book are the difficulties faced by Dutch colonists in trading and establishing settlements. Additionally, they had to deal with Native American tribes, rivals such as the British and lack of regulation by the Dutch East India Company. Unfortunately opportunities for greed, exploitation and scheming were rife. The good and bad of the Dutch experience are chronicled here ending with the final surrender to the British.

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