Adriaen van der Donck

By Chase Goodwin


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Yonkers 40.931210, -73.898747
Adriaen van der Donck

The Remonstrance was written by Adriaen van der Donck in 1649 and was published in the Hague, the Netherlands in 1650. The 49 page literature consists of 3 main parts: a description of the natives of New Netherlands and the physical features of the country; a narrative of the events first connected with the administration of public affairs from the founding up until 1651; and a remonstrance against the policy and acts of the Dutch West India Company, including the horrific behavior of governor Kieft. It’s significant in the sense that it is one of the earliest descriptions of America, including descriptions of the natives, flora, fauna and the geography. His goal was to convince the Dutch government and the Dutch merchants of the value this New World Dutch property offered. Since the colony was passed over from the Dutch government to the British in 1664 without much thought, it appears as if Van der Donck wasn’t successful in his first objective. However, he was very successful in convincing Dutch merchants of the new property’s potential; as a result of his publication of The Remonstrance, several ships of Dutch colonists left for the New Netherlands. The excitement reached a point where a Dutch West India Company director was quoted with writing, “Formerly New Netherland was never spoken of, and now heaven and earth seem to be stirred up by it and every one tries to be the first in selecting the best pieces [of land] there.”

Page from The Remonstrance
Negotiating Peace with the Native Americans

To go alongside the Remonstrance, van der Donck commissioned the Jansson-Visscher map of the colony. It showed the original Dutch territorial claim of New Netherlands ranging from just south of the Delaware Bay to New England and included drawings of wild game, typical Indian villages and the town of New Amsterdam. The map itself remained the definitive map of the area for over a century, a chief reason as to why so many Dutch names of places still exist today.

Jansson-Visscher commissioned map

Adriaen was a descendent of Van Bergen, who is famous for orchestrating the successful, Trojan-horse-style infiltration of the city of Breda, liberating the city from the Spanish Hapsburg rule. He lived from 1620 until 1655 and is regarded as one of the first true Americans, a man with more loyalty for this new country than his old. After obtaining a law degree from University of Leyden, he came to New Amsterdam to work as a schoute (loosely translated as sheriff) for Rensselaer, a wealthy businessman and landowner of Rensselaerswyck region further north along the Hudson River. Even though his law degree from one of the most prestigious schools in the world gave him so many career options, his adventurous spirit led him to work in the New World.

Eventually van der Donck’s relationship deteriorated with Rensselaer and he found himself moving lower down the Hudson River to work in the Manhattans. He played an instrumental role in ending Kieft’s horrific war that was caused by unreasonable taxes on the Native Americans. He sent a treaty to Amsterdam and convinced officials to order an end to Kieft’s war. Van der Donck greatly impacted the resulting treaty with the Native Americans since Kieft called upon his assistance and expertise to help create the document. Van der Donck was one of the most well known and influential advocates for Dutch-style republican government in the Dutch West India Company (DWIC).

As compensation for brokering peace between the Native Americans and the tyrannical Kieft, he was given a large tract of land by the DWIC. He later purchased additional nearby land, bringing his estate to a total of 23,000 acres. What is now Yonkers, NY located in northwest Bronx was once van der Donck’s land. He was addressed by the honorary title “jonkheer” because the Dutch called prospering young men who owned a lot of land that, similar to the British term “squire”. The title was typically shortened to simply “jonker.” Since the area was the Jonker’s possession, the name Yonkers was born slowly over time.

View from Yonkers Present Day

Van der Donck’s death in 1855 is shrouded in mystery. It is not known where he is buried, nor the exact cause of his premature death; however, it is believed that he was murdered by Native Americans. If this is true, how ironic of a death he had considering he devoted a huge part of his life to advocating for interests on the Native Americans’ behalf.

It is apparent Adrean van der Donck and his works are some of many examples of the Dutch influence on colonial America that can still be seen to this day. Van der Donck played a huge role in mitigating the conflict between the Dutch and the Native Americans; published a description of New Netherlands that convinced many Dutch and other Europeans to move there; owned land which eventually became known as one of the most populated cities in NY; and published the definitive map of colonial America, cementing the Dutch names of places to this very day. Most importantly, he advocated for democratic governance by getting Kieft removed from the position of governor, paving the way for this democratic theme to form the foundation of the United States of America.



Donck, Adriaen van der

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Wall Street- Roland Lucas, Cecilia Salazar, and Nicholas Botte Section 9

For our Dutch artifact we chose Wall Street. It is located in Manhattan, New York and we picked this because of its historical significance as a part of New York City (formerly New Amsterdam) and its relevance in our society as a dominating topic in political, economic, and social discourse. Wall Street, as it has grown into the financial and business center of the global economy, has taken on an identity that many Americans associate with wealth and power. However, many people today view Wall Street in a negative light because of the involvement of the banks and financial organizations in the recent financial meltdown along with the nefarious and speculative practices that have occurred.

Wall Street dates back to the Dutch colonial times in Manhattan. The name of this renowned street actually comes from the wall of the Dutch settlement because “in the 17th century the wall formed the northern boundary of the New Amsterdam settlement erected for defensive purposes,” ( Protection was important to the settlers as a potential war was threatening to erupt between the English and the Dutch. The wall was built around the year 1685 by the Dutch settlers, led by Peter Stuyvesant and the Dutch West India Company. Wall Street tells the story of the earliest Dutch settlers in Manhattan, and how they were innovative in the actual construction of the wall. Interestingly, Wall Street also created a natural split of socioeconomic classes as well. Local merchants of New Amsterdam became split into two groups: auctioneers and dealers. Also, Wall Street was a popular place where slave owners were able to rent out their slaves by the day, week, or month. Overall, the early economic innovation of Wall Street created by the Dutch shows how Wall Street, has been a major center for economic activity for many centuries. Now, Wall Street is the busiest financial area in the entire world. This relates to the history of how the Dutch settlers made this area extremely busy and lively back in the 1600s. While Wall Street is not directly connected to Rutgers, it has become an incredibly popular area for college graduates to seek employment and Rutgers sends many graduates and alumni to this historic financial center.

Wall Street

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Wall Street 40.900020, -74.358215

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Streets of New York: Wall Street

Wall Street

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Wall Street 40.706001, -74.008801

By Sarah Kim, Amy Mei, Yulin Ren (Section 08)

Everyone has heard of the famous streets of New York such as Wall Street, Broadway, Maiden Lane, Love Lane, and many more popular streets. However, not everyone knows where these street names originated from. Most of the street names of New York, and even the borough names such as Manhattan were actually named after Dutch influences! With New York being such a popular tourist spot, it is interesting to learn of the Dutch impacts on such big cities and streets.


Our chosen Dutch “artifact” can be found throughout the streets of New York City, scattered in various corners, dominating the identity of the avenues and streets of this urban city; street names and street signs around the Big Apple bear many Dutch influences.  Perhaps the most famous Dutch influenced street name is the world-renowned, Wall Street.  The original Dutch name was “de Waal Straat” which was directly translated to “Wall Street.”   In the 17th century, the wall created the northern boundary of the New Amsterdam settlement that was established with defensive intentions.  The name directly refers to a wall that was build by Dutch settlers on the southern tip of Manhattan Island; there was a war between the English and Dutch, which potentially could have expanded into the island’s American colonies.  The wall was never actually used for defense, but its legacy still holds strong, as Wall Street is now a figurative bastion of the world’s financial market and economy.  Wall Street is a 1.1 kilometer stretch of sidewalk that extends across eight blocks from Broadway to South Street, making it a monumental landmark in the heart of the city.

We chose to research Wall Street, because we’re all pursuing business for our bachelor’s degree at Rutgers University.  New York is such a popular and beautiful city which attracts millions of tourists and it was very interesting to learn how much the Dutch influenced this city.  But most importantly, we’re most invested in NYC, because many of us dream of working in the city one day, specifically on Wall Street, to fully immerse ourselves in the heart of business.  Wall Street is still an emblem of power, status, and authority in modern day society, so people still treat it with the same respect it was founded on.


Works Cited

“Dutch Art.” Google Books. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

“History of Wall Street.” (Business Reference Services, Library of Congress). Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

“NYC Street Names and Their Stories.” Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

“Wall Street & Stock Market History.” History of Wall Street and the Stock Markets. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

“Where Does the Name “Wall Street” Come From? | Investopedia.” Investopedia. 2004. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

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