Thursday, October 16, 2014

1625 - Building of Fort Amsterdam

January, 1625 - a census counts 1232 settlers in Virginia (952 males and 280 females). 31 are Africans.

January, 1625 - a 6-ship fleet is formed in the port of Amsterdam due to leave to the New Netherlands. This is the largest colonizing expedition never undertaken for the Dutch.
Left first, the 150-ton vessel Oranjeboom carrying new Director Willem Verhulst is however quickly seized by the English authorities which force the ship's company to stop at Plymouth.

These were surprised to see the ship's hold loaded with seeds, farming tools and various live plants but let it go in exchange for some promises while a plague spread among the passengers making its first dead.
The other ships were to leave later. Two vessels in particular, the Koe and the Swaerte Paert had been especially arranged for carrying livestock of which hundred horses, cows, hogs and sheep. The Mackereel and the 200-ton Schaep carried equipment and the would-be settlers.
The Ruijter left last, transporting mainly livestock. Chartered by a group of merchants including in particular Samuel Godijn and Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, this one followed the traditional route by the West Indies but was captured off the African coast by Moorish pirates. The crew and the cargo were lost but the investors succeeded to offset partly their losses through insurances. Despite this misfortune, the Ruijter experience had just proved that it was easy for private investors to challenge the monopoly of the Dutch West India Company.
Struck by bad luck, the Mackereel was in its turn soon seized by a pirate ship off the English coast.

March 1625 - William Bradford is reelected for the fourth time governor of the Plymouth Plantation.
King Charles 1 (portraited by Gerrit Van Honthorst)

March 27, 1625 - King of England James 1 dies at the age of 58. His son Charles 1 succeeds him, he is 24 years old.

The new king confirms Virginia status of Royal Colony granted the previous year following the failure of the London Company and maintains Sir Francis Wyatt in his governorship.
The governor is now appointed by the Crown, flanked by a Council and a House of representatives elected by the settlers. Basically, a parish council controls the finances, chooses the Ministers of religion and provides assistance. Judges and jury, elected by the parish councils meet in session in the capital of the county.
Virginia receives the Anglican Church but bends the episcopal system towards a moderate congregationalism. Its institutions will inspire the other colonies.

Late March, 1625 - After a forced stop in Plymouth, the Dutch ship Oranjeboom (Orange Tree) arrives insight of the American coast. Eleven passengers died during the voyage and twenty others fell ill until the boat leaves the English port, hit by a plague. New Director Willem Verhulst who is on board chooses to land the passengers on the banks of Delaware where is already a small colony.

Spring, 1625 - Captain Henry Wollaston leaves Plymouth to found a new settlement 25 miles to the north that he names Mount Wollaston (present-day Quincy). He is accompanied by Thomas Morton and a group of about thirty people being at loggerheads with the rules imposed by the government of the colony.

Thomas Morton (1576-1647)
Writer, lawyer and merchant hailing from Devonshire, an area that most Protestants did not like due to its hardline conservatism.
At the beginning of the century, Morton entered the service of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, then governor of the port of Plymouth and a partner of Sir Walter Raleigh very involved in the settlement of the New World.
In 1622, Morton sailed to explore the coast of New England but complained in his return about the intolerance prevailing in the Puritan community. He returned there in 1624 aboard the Unity during a mission partlly funded by the Crown with an associate, captain Henry Wollaston and thirty young people hired under contract. From their installation, they devoted to fur trade on a plot of land granted by the local Algonquian tribes of which Morton liked to say that they were much more civilized and human that their intolerant European neighbors. The Puritans of New England accused him of selling them guns and alcohol in exchange for furs and provisions, which, at that time, was illegal. There was nevertheless no doubt that weapons acquired by the Indians had to be used to defend themselves against the northern tribes, always on war footing, and not against the fearful settlers. The village laid out by both men quickly became a farming colony. Morton discovered however that Wollaston had not hesitated to sell as slaves to Virginia planters some of the young people under contract who had accompanied them. He urged those who remained to rebel and get organized in free community.

April 22, 1625 - the Dutch West India Company decrees the buiding of Fort Amsterdam and ten adjoining farms.

The Oranjeboom, chartered by the Dutch West India Company arrives at Manhattan, carrying 42 families of new settlers led by engineer Kryn Fredericksz. They found Fort Amsterdam in the southern tip of the island, what new governor Willem Verhulst considers an optimal choice for a lasting settlement. The first houses are built and some streets drawn next to the fort.
The Dutch had no intention to seize the place by force, preferring to negotiate with Indians purchasing in due form a piece of their land so as not to tarnish trade connections started for at least 10 years.
Construction began supervised by Willem Verhuslt who had replaced captain Cornelius Jacobsen Mey in the Direction of the New Netherland colony and his chief engineer Kryn Fredericksz. They were completed late 1626. At that time, Manhattan was still only a minor establishment because most of the Company's operations concerned the beaver pelts trade which was made throughout the Hudson River.
When the building site was completed, the Director grouped together in Manhattan the colonists settled along the Delaware and those landed the previous year at Fort Oranje, leaving to protect it a small 16-men garrison.

April 25, 1625 - The 4 ship-fleet including the Mackereel captained by Gerryt Fongersz (who carries "further instructions" to new governor Willem Verhuslt), the Swaerte Paert, the Koe and the Schaep leaves Texel setting sails to New Netherland. It carries 45 new settlers and 103 heads of cattle including horses and mares, Holstein bulls and cows, sheep and hogs.

The funding of the expedition had been provided at his risks by the Amsterdam brewer Pieter Eversten Hulst.

April 27, 1625 - the Hulst-fleet is attacked by pirates who seize the Mackereel. The three other ships follow their route. 

Fort Oranje, bithplace of Sarah Raplaje
June 6, 1625 - Sarah is the name given to the first baby born in the New Netherlands. She is the daughter of Joris Jansen Rapalje and Catayntje Trico. Her parents were among the first immigrants, arrived in the colony in March, 1624 aboard the Eendracht.

Sarah Rapalje (Fort Orange 1625 - New York 1685)
Her parents quickly left living to New Amsterdam where the activity was more prosperous. She was only fourteen when she married Hans Hansen Berger (? - 1654), a Norwegian emigrant from Bergen, arrived in the colony in 1633 who owned plantations near Brooklyn. She had 8 children with him and married, once a widow Teunis Gysbertsen Bogaert who gave her seven others. She died at 60 exhausted by her many pregnancies.

July 1625 - the Dutch fleet including the Koe, the Swaerte Paert and the Schaep reaches Governors Island with 45 new settlers and livestock.

Cattle was first penned up on Nutten Island (today Governors Island) but lack of water and grazing, the settlers had to transfer it in Manhattan. Twenty animals died the next months after eating poisonous grass.
The colonists bought their first slaves, coming from Angola, purchased by a Dutch privateer to Portuguese merchants moving to Brazil. They were assigned to the building of the fort and dock working.

Late August 1625 - the Oranjeboom leaves Manhattan to Amsterdam. It will arrive in November.

October 4, 1625 - Sir George Yardley requests the help of king Charles 1 by describing him the distress of Virginia.

The colony was in dire need of supplies of all kinds. Yardley asked the king to get more involved and to make the effort with his Privy Council to take decisions as quickly as possible to insure its survival in the present and the future. The message will be barely heard.

December, 1625 - Peter Minuit (Peter Minnewit) is appointed Director General of New Netherland by the Dutch West India Company to replace Willem Verhulst found incompetent.

At the end of the year, the Walloon settlers of Manhattan will have exported 4000 beaver skins and 700 otter skins for a total of 27 125 crowns, an amount greater than the value of the supplies sent by the Company.

December 15, 1625 - the Flying Hart arrives in Virginia without having been appointed by the Company but its passengers are given the usual privileges, owing to the needs of labor.

                                                          Most were penniless servants who came to be to work for the planters.

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