In 1623, the Dutch West India Company decided trade with the Indians. Cornelius Jacobson Mey was sent to set up trading posts & settlements in the New World. He sailed on the ship “Niew Nederlandt”, the Dutch name for the new colony. Mey was the first Director-General of this new colony.
In 1624, he sailed into the Delaware Bay at the southern tip of NJ. The peninsula there was named after Captain Mey. Today it is spelled M-A-Y, Cape May.
He sailed up the Delaware River and set up a trading post & settlement on Burlington Island to trade with the Lenape Indians. That year thousands of beaver, otter, mink, bobcat and other furs were sent back and sold in Holland.
2 years later in 1625 he had a fort built farther downstream, Fort Nassau. He hoped the fort would protect the new settlers if the Indians or anyone else tried to attack.
This map shows the land claimed by the Dutch. There was an English Colony to the north (the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts) and to the south (The Virginia Colony.)
Peter Minuet was named the third Director General and the first Governor of New Netherland. In 1626. The year before, the second Director General, Willem Verhulst, began building Fort Amsterdam in the new capital of New Netherland, This little village, New Amsterdam, would later become New York City.
Peter Minuet didn’t want trouble with the natives, so he bought the entire island (Manhattan) for cloth, beads, hatchets and other goods worth 60 Dutch guilders. This would be worth about $72 in today’s money. The Indians that he bought the land from lived nearby.
This painting shows what the island may have looked like as the Dutch were building Fort Amsterdam.
Peter Minuet was replaced by a new Director General. He returned to Europe. He convinced the King of Sweden to send him to America to start a new colony. This new colony would be called New Sweden. Peter Minuet did not ask permission from the Dutch.
Peter sailed back to the Delaware Bay in 2 ships the Fogel Grip and Kalmar Nyckel. The ship in the picture is a modern copy of Minuet’s ship. This is the official tall ship of Delaware, and can be sailed today.
In 1638, Minuet bought land from the Indians. There, he built were some homes, a church, and Fort Christina. Today, Wilmington Delaware is there.
In 1643, New Sweden was sent a new Governor. Johan Printz was very strict. One source says he was over 400 lbs. and nearly 7 ft tall! Even if this is an exaggeration, he must have been a very large man. The Indians called him ”Big Tub.”
The is the first home of Johan Printz in New Sweden. It was built from logs and had a sod roof. It has been rebuilt to show the way it looked back when Printz lived in it.
Printz also built another fort on the NJ side of the river. This was called Fort Elfsborg. The Swedish settlement worried the Dutch. They were afraid the Swedes would take away their business. The Director Generals of the Dutch West India Company didn’t want competition, but they didn’t do anything about it.
In 1647 New Netherland got a new Director General. His name was Peter Stuyvesant. He was not happy with the Swedish settlement and believed it should belong to the Dutch West India Company. He sent a small army to New Sweden and demanded that the Swedes Surrender. They did.
This was the end of New Sweden. It was now part of New Netherland. All the people in New Sweden were allowed to stay & keep their own land if they promised to be loyal to New Netherland. Johan Printz returned to Sweden, but his married daughter chose to stay.
But there were more problems for New Netherland. There were still English Colonies to the north and south. The King of England didn’t want the Dutch there.
He believed that even though Henry Hudson had claimed the land for the Dutch in 1609, the land still belonged to England. He said it was explored way back in 1497 by John Cabot, and was claimed for England then! What will King Charles do?