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Overview of archives about New Netherland

The Dutch presence in North America spans the period 1609-1664. The colony known as New Netherland was established in 1624. The Republic of the United Netherlands officially renounced their claims to the province at the Treaty of Breda. Archives about this period are kept in different countries:

Archives in the Netherlands

The Nationaal Archief has very little information on the period of Dutch colonisation in North America. This is mainly due to the fact that a large part of the archives was sold by the Old West India company in 1821 as waste paper. What remained of the archives was badly destroyed in a fire in 1844. In the Netherlands today, the Amsterdam municipal archives have much more information about New Netherland than does the Nationaal Archief.

Archives in the United States

A relatively larger number of sources have been preserved in the United States for this period, particularly in the New York State Archives and the New York State Library in Albany. A large number of these documents have been published in publications that can be found in the Nationaal Archief and which are listed below.

Archives in Europe concerning New York State

In the middle of the nineteenth century, J. Brodhead was commissioned by the New York State to research all European sources relating to New York and publish them in his ‘Documents relative to the Colonial History of New York procured in Holland, England and France.’

How do I proceed?

Archives in the United States:

Many documents from the archives in the USA have been published in the following volumes, which are available at the Nationaal Archief:

  • The Records of New Amsterdam from 1653 to 1674 (NA call number 59 F 2)
  • New York Historical Manuscripts Dutch (vols. 1–4: NA call number 60 B 26, vols. 5-7: NA call number 172 A 38/39/40)
  • The latter series continues as ‘New Netherland Documents’ (vol. 17: NA call number 178 A 13)
  • Yearbook of the Holland Society of New York, 1902
  • Passengers to New Netherland, 1654-1664, pp. 1-37, ed. A.J.F. van Laer
  • Documents relating to New Netherland 1624-1626 in the E. Huntington Library (NA call number 196 D 21)

Archives in the Nationaal Archief

In the first two volumes of the publication ‘Documents relative to the Colonial History of New York procured in Holland, England and France’ (vols. 1-2: NA call number 57 H 23), Brodhead gives an almost complete overview of all documents held in the Netherlands, with the exception of Dutch West India Company documents. In this overview all documents have been registered and translated, which means that it provides the best access to the records that can be found at the Nationaal Archief, the archives of the States-General, the States of Holland and the Council of State.
You can also consult the following archives at the Nationaal Archief:

  • Archives of the Old West India Company (catalogue reference 1.05.01.01)
  • The resolutions and registries of outgoing correspondence of the Heeren XIX; the Amsterdam Chamber and the Zeeland Chamber sometimes contain information relating to New Netherland. The resolutions are far from complete, however. Some of them are in other collections.
    • Heeren XIX Resolutions: 1623-1624 (inventory number 1), December 1645 – 4 May 1646 (inventory number 2*), 1647-1648; 1653-1654 (with indexes, inventory number 3), 1651-1654 (with appendices, inventory number 5); 1656-1659 (with retro-acts 1650-1655, in States-General archives, catalogue reference 1.01.07, 12564.42), 1660-1665 (with appendices, inventory number 6). Letter-books of outgoing letters 1629-1657 (inventory numbers 8-10)
    • Amsterdam Chamber: Resolutions 1635-1636 (inventory numbers 14-16)
    • Zeeland Chamber: Resolutions 1626 - 31 May 1646, (inventory numbers 20-26), 1650 - March 1652 (Acquisitions Collection, 1.11.01.01, inventory number 992), 1658 - 4 July 1669 (inventory numbers 20-30)
  • The archives of the States-General (catalogue references: 1.01.03 – 1.01.07). The States-General granted the WIC a charter for trade and provided part of the funding for military operations and expeditions: WIC Bundle (catalogue reference 1.01.03), period: 1623-1673 (inventory number 5751-5768)
  • Serially and chronologically-ordered correspondence between the Dutch West India Company and the States-General, or items received by the States-General relating to matters concerning the Dutch West India Company. The WIC Bundle is accessible via the resolutions of the States-General (according to date incoming letter was dealt with).
  • WIC pigeonholes (catalogue reference 1.01.07), 'files' are arranged by case.
    • 12564.25 Reports on the situation in New Netherland and legal proceedings against Cornelis Melijn, patron of Staten Island, 1649-1650. With retro-acts 1642-1648
    • 12564.30A New Netherland, especially the position of patrons and population, 1649-1650
    • 12564.36 Complaints about Peter Stuyvesant and the boundary line between the English and the Dutch, 1650-1652
    • 12564.46 New Netherland. The Spanish ambassador's request for justice for Juan Gaillardo Ferrara, a resident of St. Lucas de Barrameda, from whom a number of Negro slaves were removed, 1658. With retro-acts 1652-1657
    • 12564.48 Extracts from the minutes of the meeting of the Heeren XIX, partly together with delegates of the States-General, about New Netherland, 17 August - 25 September 1660
    • 12564.49 Remonstrance by the WIC about the disputes between the WIC and the English about the boundary lines in New Netherland, 1660. With retro-acts 1614-1659
    • 12564.57 Accusations against, and the defence of, Pieter Stuyvesant, one-time director-general of New Netherland, concerning his behaviour upon the loss of New Netherland, 1665-1667. With retro-acts 1661-1664
  • Secret files relating to England (catalogue reference 1.01.08)
    • 12576.76 Deduction relating to the boundary lines in New Netherland, 1660
    • 12582.9 Letter from the Amsterdam Chamber regarding the Swedish citizens who came over from New Netherland, 24 January 1656. With appendices and retro-acta.
  • Secret files relating to Tractaten en ratificatiën (treaties and ratifications) (catalogue reference 1.01.08)
    • 12589.127 Deed of the Breda Peace Treaty entered into between the States-General and King Charles II of England, 31 July 1667
    • 12589.128 Deed of ratification of the Breda Peace Treaty by King Charles II of England
    • 12589.129 Ditto in respect of the individual articles of the treaty.
    • 12589.131 Deed of ratification by King Charles II of England of the provisions of art. 3 of the Breda Peace Treaty, for returning the territories that England and the Dutch Republic had captured from each other since 20 May 1667; 8 August 1667
    • 12582.14 Return of English/Dutch colonies, 1667

Map collections

  • Collection of Foreign Maps, Leupe (catalogue reference 4.VEL), inventory numbers 519-521, 619, 680, 1380, 1387, 1391-1397, 1403
  • Collection of Foreign Maps, Leupe, supplement (catalogue reference 4.VELH) inventory numbers 10, 255, 262, 571
  • Most maps are available on microfiche (black and white) in the self-service reading room

Other sources:

  • Amsterdam City Archives:
    • Resolutions of the City Councils (catalogue reference 5025)
    • Archives of the Classis of Amsterdam (catalogue reference 379)
    • Photocopies of documents from Albany
  • References:

There are many reference works about New Netherland. Below is a limited selection:

  • Asher, G.M. A Bibliographical and Historical Essay on the Dutch Books and Pamphlets Relating to New Netherland. Amsterdam 1854-1867. Call number 59 D 1.
  • Brodhead, John Romeyn. History of the State of New York, 2 vols. New York 1853-1871 (vol. 1). Call number 60 D 40.
  • Gehring, Charles T. A Guide to Dutch Manuscripts Relating to New Netherland in the United States repositories (Albany 1978). Call number 186 B 13.
  • O’Callaghan, E.B. History of New Netherland, 2nd ed. 2 vols. (New York 1855). Not present in the Nationaal Archief.
  • Rink, Oliver A. Holland on the Hudson, an economic and social history of Dutch New York, Ithaca (NY) 1986. Call number 168 F 14
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