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New Netherland Connections

New Netherland Connections: Intimate Networks and Atlantic Ties in Seventeenth-Century America

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    New Netherland Connections
    Book Description:

    Susanah Shaw Romney locates the foundations of the early modern Dutch empire in interpersonal transactions among women and men. As West India Company ships began sailing westward in the early seventeenth century, soldiers, sailors, and settlers drew on kin and social relationships to function within an Atlantic economy and the nascent colony of New Netherland. In the greater Hudson Valley, Dutch newcomers, Native American residents, and enslaved Africans wove a series of intimate networks that reached from the West India Company slave house on Manhattan, to the Haudenosaunee longhouses along the Mohawk River, to the inns and alleys of maritime Amsterdam.Using vivid stories culled from Dutch-language archives, Romney brings to the fore the essential role of women in forming and securing these relationships, and she reveals how a dense web of these intimate networks created imperial structures from the ground up. These structures were equally dependent on male and female labor and rested on small- and large-scale economic exchanges between people from all backgrounds. This work pioneers a new understanding of the development of early modern empire as arising out of personal ties.

    eISBN: 978-1-4696-1558-5
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. List of Abbreviations and Short Titles
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Editorial Note
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  7. Prologue
    (pp. 1-8)

    In 1657, Johannes Vermeer reinterpreted the common Dutch visual image of the girl with a suitor in hisOfficer and a Laughing Girl. He placed a young woman, bathed in the pure light of an open window, at a table with a man, who appears largely in dark silhouette. A map of Holland and West Friesland hangs on the wall behind them. Cradling a glass of wine in her right hand, she smiles plainly at him, holding her left hand out and open. Perhaps Vermeer intended her gesture to suggest merely a welcoming of the man’s advances, although the eagerness...

  8. Introduction
    (pp. 9-25)

    In February 1657, the year Johannes Vermeer captured the Dutch empire on canvas, the small Dutch colony on the mid-Atlantic coast of North America found cause to rejoice. New Netherland, as the colony later renamed New York was then known, was doing surprisingly well. Moved by “the continuation of healthy, fruitful, and peaceable times,” Governor Peter Stuyvesant and the colony council called for a day of thanksgiving. To worship “with greater unity,” they forbade ordinary work and games on the first Wednesday in March and ordered everyone to gather in “thanks and prayer.” The little colony had much to celebrate....

  9. CHAPTER ONE “Goods, Wares, and Merchandise” Amsterdam’s Intimate Atlantic
    (pp. 26-65)

    In 1619, an Amsterdam woman carefully packed a sea chest. Marritgen Wouters folded shirts and stockings, smoothed down pillows, and counted out coins into a sack. Her husband, Skipper Hendrick Christiaensz, stood ready to depart on the shipSwarte Beer,orBlack Bear,for a journey to America. Though she did not know it at the time, she would never see her husband again; he would meet his end along the shores of the Hudson River, during fighting with the Native Americans he had hoped to profit from. By 1622, Marritgen would be struggling to regain her financial footing as...

  10. CHAPTER TWO “She Is Now Already at Sea” Extending Ties, Creating Empire
    (pp. 66-121)

    On March 30, 1663, the shipRoseboom,under Skipper Pieter Reyersen, set sail from Texel on a return voyage to Manhattan in the company of the shipHoop. They set out with 125 souls aboard, but the very first day they had to unload the body of “a woman … who had died in Texel.” The loss of one passenger, however, was made up before the end of the journey by the birth of another. On April 21, the keeper of the ship’s journal noted that “a woman delivered a young son,” although he later corrected himself by crossing out...

  11. CHAPTER THREE “Not Altogether Brotherly” Elusive Intimacy between Natives and Newcomers
    (pp. 122-190)

    As many of the travelers sailing the Atlantic on Dutch ships clambered ashore in the Hudson Valley, they faced a new world and a new set of challenges. If Janneken Jans van Leeuwarden and her contemporaries were to survive—if they were to do better than that and actually profit from their colonial ventures—they would have to determine what kinds of relationships they needed and wanted with the people who were already there—the Mohawk, Mahican, Munsee, Susquehannock, Shinnecock, Montauk, and other Native American villagers, whose own social networks already covered the mid-Atlantic coast in a web of personal...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR “To Be Together with One Another” Creating an African Community
    (pp. 191-244)

    Just as human relationships shaped transatlantic and regional networks, they also shaped networks within the colony. These networks created community, determined people’s economic position, and undergirded social hierarchies and inequalities. For one particularly vulnerable population, enslaved Africans in the service of the WIC, those human relationships and social networks proved especially crucial, determining the boundary between suffering, survival, and success.

    On February 25, 1644, the African population of New Amsterdam celebrated a rare and crucial victory. That morning, the director of the colony of New Netherland, Willem Kieft, issued an extraordinary decision. “Having considered the petition of the Negroes named...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE “The Almost-Sinking Ship of New Netherland” Personal Networks and Regional Power
    (pp. 245-296)

    In late summer 1664, rumors began to swirl throughout the greater Hudson Valley. They spread from neighbor to neighbor, among Native villagers, English townspeople, black farmers, and Dutch burghers: dramatic change, perhaps violent change, was at hand for everyone. Gathering at City Hall one Saturday morning near the end of August, New Amsterdam’sburgermeesteren en schepenen,or municipal council leaders, decided these persistent whispers and murmurs could no longer be ignored. “The rumors say,” the secretary recorded, “that the Frigates that have arrived in Baston will come here.” How much these English ships would threaten, the schepenen did not know,...

  14. Conclusion
    (pp. 297-306)

    The last months of 1664 were a dark time in the Netherlands. The country and the WIC faced the depredations of what would become the Second Anglo-Dutch War, including the capitulation of New Netherland. Plague ran rampant in the cities. Rising prices and hard times made life difficult for ordinary women and men on the streets and docks of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and the other port towns. With their husbands’ lives in danger, sailors’ wives had little desire for a protracted fight. Finally, in December 1664, an English diplomat reported that in Rotterdam “the seamen fell into a great mutiny saying...

  15. Index
    (pp. 307-318)