1621-1639 Information

On June 3rd, 1621 Holland granted a charter to the West India Company. The Company was granted a trade monopoly in the Dutch West Inides and given jurisdiction over the Atlantic slave trade, Brazil, the Caribbean and North America and could operate between the Tropic of Cancer and the Cape of Good Hope in Africa and the Americas. Of course the Dutch had already been active in North America since about 1610 when merchants started sending expeditions to the area of New Netherland. This had been stimulated by the voyage of Henry Hudson in 1609 which gave reports of fertile land and trade opportunities in the area. Several journeys were sent to the area and it was mapped as early as 1611 and in 1614 Adrian Block’s map was issued. This map featured the first use of the name NIEV NEDERLANDT [New Netherland].

On August 25th, 1614 there was a resolution of the States General on the proposed formation of a West India Company.

“Resolved, That the business of forming a General West India Company shall be undertaken tomorrow morning; moreover, that to this meeting may come those deputed from the Provinces, those who will request to promote this work, those who act on orders, as well those who appear and have seats in the Assembly and at Extraordinary Meetings of the Chambers, and at the meeting of their High Mightinesses. And for this business are deputed Nicasius Kien and Wilhem Eusselincx.”

O’Callaghan, E.B., Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New-York, Vol. I (Weed, Parsons and Company, Printers, 1856, Albany) p. 7

On August 18th, 1616, Capatin Cornelis Hendricxz of Munnickendam gave a report to the States General on his discoveries in the area of New Netherland.

Report of Captain Cornelis Hendricxz…

First, he hath discovered for his aforesaid Masters and Directors, certain lands, a bay and three rivers situate between 38 and 40 degrees.
And did there trade with the inhabitants; said trading consisting of Sables, Furs, Robes and other skins.
He hath found said Country full of trees, to wit: – Oaks, hickory and pines; which trees in some places were covered with vines.
He hath seen, in the said country, Bucks and does, turkeys and partridges.
He hath found the climate of the said Country very temperate, judging it to be as temperate as that of this country, Holland.
He also traded for, and bought from the inhabitants, the Minquaes, three persons, being people belonging to this Company; which three persons were employed in the service of the Mohawks and Machicans; giving for them kettles, beads and merchandize.

O’Callaghan, E.B., Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New-York, Vol. I (Weed, Parsons and Company, Printers, 1856, Albany) p. 14

On September 12th, 1616, Gerrit Jacob Witsen, Jonas Witsen, Lambrecht van Tweenhuysen and Paulus Pelgrom, the Directors of the Company of New Netherland, requested a charter for exclusive trade rights in those lands for four years. It does not appear that this was granted.

Two years later on October 9th, 1618, the States General granted Henrick Eelkins and Adriaen Jansse Engel of the New Netherland Company to send the ship Schilt on a trade journey to New Netherland.

A further two years later, on February 12th 1620, the New Netherland Company petitioned the States General for the ability to colonize New Netherland. The States General rejected this petition on April 11th, 1620.

On September 28th, 1621 the States General Resolved to permit a ship to be sent to New Netherland to trade on condition that it would return by July, 1622.

The colony of New Netherland finally gets its start in 1626, we see on the books of the West India Company two ships destined for trade and colonization of New Netherland.

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