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New Netherland Connections

Intimate Networks and Atlantic Ties in Seventeenth-Century America

Susanah Shaw Romney

Publication Year: 2014

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. This work pioneers a new understanding of the development of early modern empire as arising out of personal ties.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Series: Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-x


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pp. xi-xii


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pp. xiii-xiv

Abbreviations and Short Titles

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pp. xv-xvi

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Editorial Note

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pp. xvii-xviii

Over the years, translators have struggled with how to render the terms New Netherlanders used for Native Americans. Nineteenth-century translators gave the most common term, “wilden,” as “savages,” since both words share a connection with wildness and are not reserved geographically for the people of the Americas...

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pp. 1-8

In 1657, Johannes Vermeer reinterpreted the common Dutch visual image of the girl with a suitor in his Officer 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...

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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...

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1. “Goods, Wares, and Merchandise” Amsterdam’s Intimate Atlantic

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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 ship Swarte Beer, or Black Bear, for a journey to America...

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2. “She Is Now Already at Sea” Extending Ties, Creating Empire

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pp. 66-121

On March 30, 1663, the ship Roseboom, under Skipper Pieter Reyersen, set sail from Texel on a return voyage to Manhattan in the company of the ship Hoop. 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.”...

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3. “Not Altogether Brotherly” Elusive Intimacy between Natives and Newcomers

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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...

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4. “To Be Together with One Another” Creating an African Community

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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...

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5. “The Almost-Sinking Ship of New Netherland” Personal Networks and Regional Power

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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’s burgermeesteren en schepenen, or municipal council leaders, decided these persistent whispers and murmurs could no longer be ignored...

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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...


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pp. 307-318

E-ISBN-13: 9781469615585
E-ISBN-10: 1469615584
Print-ISBN-13: 9781469614250
Print-ISBN-10: 1469614251

Page Count: 344
Illustrations: 6 illus.
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia
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OCLC Number: 880354761
MUSE Marc Record: Download for New Netherland Connections

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • New Netherland -- History.
  • Social networks -- New Netherland.
  • New Netherland -- Ethnic relations.
  • Women -- New Netherland.
  • Indians of North America -- New Netherland.
  • African Americans -- New Netherland.
  • Dutch -- New York (State) -- History -- 17th century.
  • New York (State) -- History -- Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775.
  • Amsterdam (Netherlands) -- Emigration and immigration -- History -- 17th century.
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