Little Bits of History

New Map of New Netherlands

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 11, 2014
Map of New Netherlands

Map of New Netherlands

October 11, 1614: Adriaen Block puts forth a petition. Adriaen or Aerjan Block was a Dutch private trader and navigator. He is best known for exploring the coast of what is now North America between New Jersey and Massachusetts. He was born around 1567 and although he spent most of his life at sea, he considered Amsterdam his home. He married in 1603 and he and his wife moved into a house called De Twee Bontecraijen (The Two Hooded Crows) on Oude Waal in 1606 where they would live the rest of their lives and raise their five children.

By the 1590s, Block was already active in shipping and transporting, mostly commodities such as wood from Northern Europe to the deforested Spanish regions. In 1601, he was part of a convoy of ships which left Amsterdam for the Dutch East Indies. He returned home in 1603, got married, and took off again in 1604, this time to the Mediterranean Sea. He was less successful with his trading and was lucky enough, instead, to capture a ship returning from Brazil and Block brought the goods and ship to Amsterdam. Most of the items, including the ship, were returned, but Block made quite a bit of money on the deal, probably enough to buy to his house.

After Henry Hudson made contact with the natives in the New World, the Dutch opted to go exploring, looking for beaver pelts. This was a lucrative market in Europe at the time and did much to help Europeans explore in the distant area. Block left for the region and was successful in returning with a ship full of the furs. Because of the success, the States General issued a guarantee of an exclusive patent to goods for four voyages to anyone able to locate new countries, harbors, or passages in the new territories – as long as a detailed account could be submitted within 14 days of the return. Block returned to explore some more. While there he set up a couple colonies in Connecticut. Life was difficult but he made it back to the Netherlands.

On this day, block and fellow captain Christiaensen, along with twelve other merchants petitioned the States General for exclusive trading rights for their newly formed New Netherland Company. Upon his return, Block submitted a map with an entirely novel name – New Netherland for area between English Virginia and French Canada. He was also the first to draw what is today called Long Island as an island. His company was granted rights for three years to trade between the 40th parallel north and the 45th parallel north. He never returned to the New World again but did continue to sail until his death in 1627.

Every seaman is not only a navigator, but a merchant and also a soldier. – William Petty

For the merchant, even honesty is a financial speculation. – Charles Baudelaire

I consider a merchant someone who has a certain intuition and instinct, and – very important – knows how to run a business, knows the numbers. – Millard Drexler

To let her sail would be the greatest profit both for the company and for the merchants. – Peter Stuyvesant

Also on this day: Raising the Mary Rose – In 1982, the Mary Rose, a sixteenth century warship, was raised from the sea.
Free, But … – In 1865, Paul Bogle led a revolt in Jamaica.
Shop Til You Drop – In 1929, J.C. Penney opened store #1252.
Land Dispute – In 1767, the Mason-Dixon survey was completed.


One Response

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  1. vanbraman said, on October 11, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    The Dutch were also in Rhode Island in the early 1600’s. See my post Newport Tower for a few details.

    I definitely need to do a lot more research about the Dutch in Rhode Island. It is also known that Roger Williams traveled on Dutch trading ships and also used them as a good source for news from Europe.

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