The Netherlands cedes New Netherland to England.
New Netherland was a 17th-century colony of the Dutch Republic that was located on the east coast of America. The claimed territories extended from the Delmarva Peninsula to southwestern Cape Cod, while the more limited settled areas are now part of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut, with small outposts in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. The colony was conceived by the Dutch West India Company in 1621 to capitalize on the North American fur trade. It was settled slowly at first because of policy mismanagement by the WIC and conflicts with American Indians. The settlement of New Sweden by the Swedish South Company encroached on its southern flank, while its northern border was redrawn to accommodate an expanding New England Confederation.
The colony experienced dramatic growth during the 1650s and became a major port for trade in the north Atlantic Ocean. The surrender of Fort Amsterdam to England in 1664 was formalized in 1667, contributing to the Second Anglo-Dutch War. In 1673, the Dutch retook the area but relinquished it under the Treaty of Westminster, ending the Third Anglo-Dutch War the next year.
The inhabitants of New Netherland were European colonists, American Indians, and Africans imported as slave laborers. The colony had an estimated population between 7,000 and 8,000 at the time of transfer to England in 1674, half of whom were not of Dutch descent.
During the 17th century, Europe was undergoing expansive social, cultural, and economic growth, known as the Dutch Golden Age in the Netherlands. Nations vied for domination of lucrative trade routes around the globe, particularly those to Asia. Simultaneously, philosophical and theological conflicts were manifested in military battles across the European continent. The Republic of the Seven United Netherlands had become a home to many intellectuals, international businessmen, and religious refugees. In the Americas, the English had a settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, the French had small settlements at Port Royal and Quebec, and the Spanish were developing colonies to exploit trade in South America and the Caribbean.
In 1609, English sea captain and explorer Henry Hudson was hired by the Dutch East India Company located in Amsterdam to find a Northeast Passage to Asia, sailing around Scandinavia and Russia. He was turned back by the ice of the Arctic in his second attempt, so he sailed west to seek a Northwest Passage rather than return home. He ended up exploring the waters off the east coast of North America aboard the Flyboat Halve Maen. His first landfall was at Newfoundland and the second at Cape Cod.
Hudson believed that the passage to the Pacific Ocean was between the St. Lawrence River and Chesapeake Bay, so he sailed south to the Bay then turned northward, traveling close along the shore. He first discovered Delaware Bay and began to sail upriver looking for the passage. This effort was foiled by sandy shoals, and the Halve Maen continued north. After passing Sandy Hook, Hudson and his crew entered the Narrows into the Upper New York Bay. Hudson believed that he had found the continental water route, so he sailed up the major river that now bears his name. He found the water too shallow to proceed several days later, at the site of Troy, New York.
Upon returning to the Netherlands, Hudson reported that he had found a fertile land and an amicable people willing to engage his crew in small-scale bartering of furs, trinkets, clothes, and small manufactured goods. His report was first published in 1611 by Emanuel Van Meteren, the Dutch Consul at London. This stimulated interest in exploiting this new trade resource, and it was the catalyst for Dutch merchant-traders to fund more expeditions. Merchants such as Arnout Vogels sent the first follow-up voyages to exploit this discovery as early as July 1610.
In 1611–12, the Admiralty of Amsterdam sent two covert expeditions to find a passage to China with the yachts Craen and Vos, captained by Jan Cornelisz Mey and Symon Willemsz Cat respectively. In four voyages made between 1611 and 1614, the area between Maryland and Massachusetts was explored, surveyed, and charted by Adriaen Block, Hendrick Christiaensen, and Cornelius Jacobsen Mey. These surveys and charts were consolidated in Block’s map, which used the name New Netherland for the first time; it was also called Nova Belgica on maps. During this period, there was some trading with the Indian population.
Fur trader Juan Rodriguez was born in Santo Domingo of Portuguese and African descent. He arrived in Manhattan during the winter of 1613–14, trapping for pelts and trading with the Indians as a representative of the Dutch. He was the first recorded non-native inhabitant of New York City.