The Colony of New Netherland by Jaap Jacobs

Cornell University Press has announced the publication of The Colony of New Netherland: A Dutch Settlement in Seventeenth-Century America in which Jaap Jacobs offers a comprehensive history of Holland’s colony along the Hudson River, from the first trading voyages in the 1610s to 1674, when the Dutch ceded the colony to the English. The book is available in paperback here.

About The Colony of New Netherland

The Dutch involvement in North America started after Henry Hudson, sailing under a Dutch flag in 1609, traveled up the river that would later bear his name. The Dutch control of the region was short-lived, but had profound effects on the Hudson Valley region. In The Colony of New Netherland, Jaap Jacobs offers a comprehensive history of the Dutch colony on the Hudson from the first trading voyages in the 1610s to 1674, when the Dutch ceded the colony to the English.

As Jacobs shows, New Netherland offers a distinctive example of economic colonization and in its social and religious profile represents a noteworthy divergence from the English colonization in North America. Centered around New Amsterdam on the island of Manhattan, the colony extended north to present-day Schenectady, New York, east to central Connecticut, and south to the border shared by Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, leaving an indelible imprint on the culture, political geography, and language of the early modern mid-Atlantic region. Dutch colonists’ vivid accounts of the land and people of the area shaped European perceptions of this bountiful land- their own activities had a lasting effect on land use and the flora and fauna of New York State, in particular, as well as on relations with the Native people with whom they traded.

Sure to become readers’ first reference to this crucial phase of American early colonial history, The Colony of New Netherland is a multifaceted and detailed depiction of life in the colony, from exploration and settlement through governance, trade, and agriculture. Jacobs gives a keen sense of the built environment and social relations of the Dutch colonists and closely examines the influence of the church and the social system adapted from that of the Dutch Republic. Although Jacobs focuses his narrative on the realities of quotidian existence in the colony, he considers that way of life in the broader context of the Dutch Atlantic and in comparison to other European settlements in North America.

About the Author

Jaap Jacobs (Ph.D. Leiden University), an independent scholar and writer, has been Visiting Professor of Early American History at Ohio University and Quinn Foundation Senior Fellow at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies and Quinn Foundation Visiting Professor in the Department of History at Cornell University.

Praise for The Colony of New Netherland

“Jaap Jacobs’s The Colony of New Netherland is rich, deep, layered, and authoritative. It puts its subject in its proper place both in American and in Dutch history. For anyone with an interest in the Dutch presence in North America, it is essential.”–Russell Shorto, author of The Island at the Center of the World

“The Colony of New Netherland is the definitive modern study of the early Dutch experience in North America. Jacobs offers many important new insights derived from scrupulous research in Dutch-language sources and situates the story of New Netherland in a truly Atlantic context. This book marks a crucial step in the process of diversifying our understanding of early North American history.”–Jon Parmenter, Cornell University, author of The Edge of the Woods: Iroquoia, 1534-1701

“Jaap Jacobs has read virtually everything about New Netherland, primary and secondary, in Dutch and English, and produced a model synthesis of social, political, and economic history for a colonial experience that has far too long been terra incognita. Jacobs is particularly strong in his ability to take a genuinely transatlantic perspective, detailing the many struggles within the Dutch West India Company over whether its North American interest was to be a colony of trade or a colony of settlement (or, indeed, a colony at all) as well as the efforts of the motley lot of a few thousand Europeans to recreate something resembling a society in New Amsterdam, Fort Orange, and points adjacent.”–Daniel K. Richter, Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of History and the Richard S. Dunn Director of the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, University of Pennsylvania, author of The Ordeal of the Longhouse: The Peoples of the Iroquois League in the Era of European Coloni!
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“The unique character of New Netherland has eluded many chroniclers of early America, but Jaap Jacob’s first-rate scholarship and thoughtful analysis demonstrate how well he understands the intricacies and intrigues that marked the Dutch settlement. His book is a captivating treasure hunt for lovers of New York history and an essential, illuminating guide to an oft-neglected corner of our shared American past.”–Elizabeth L. Bradley, author of Knickerbocker

“The Colony of New Netherland will convince specialists and students alike of the pivotal role played by the Dutch West India Company colony in seventeenth-century America.”–Joyce D. Goodfriend, author of Before the Melting Pot: Society and Culture in Colonial New York City, 1664-1730.

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