Source: Dutch New York
This video segment from Dutch New York describes the governing system set up by the Dutch West India Company in 1624 in New Netherland. A director, a council and officers worked together to govern the colony, though they had to gain approvals from their superiors in the Netherlands, which often took months. This segment also describes the colony under the rule of director Willem Kieft, who governed from 1638 to 1647. During this time, relations between the colonists and the native peoples were strained and ultimately resulted in a two-year war known as Kieft's Indian War.
BARRY LEWIS: After the island was bought and the fort was built, the Dutch West India Company set about actually governing their new colony. The political system they set up was very simple. There was a director, a council and officers. The director and the council had to agree on policy, that’s part of the Dutch system of consensus.
Of course, the director and the council didn’t always agree, that’s very Dutch also. But when they did agree, they then had to send back to Amsterdam to get approval of the company’s directors.
Dr. CHARLES GEHRING: The problem with the directors is that they are dealing with a time lag between them and their superiors in the Netherlands. They can send a message back, or a letter back, and ask for confirmation of this law, or permission to do this or that, but they may have to wait. It may take months, six to eight months before they receive a reply. So it depended a lot on the willingness of the director to take risks.
LEWIS: During the first 14 years of New Netherlands existence, there were six different directors. In 1638 a wealthy Dutch merchant, Wilhelm Kieft, arrives in New Amsterdam like most of his predecessors, he had no experience with a job. And like most of the previous directors, he probably got the job because he knew the right people.
GEHRING: Wilhelm Kieft had connections with a West India Company, so he became director, very capable people weren’t able to get the job probably because they lack these connections.
LEWIS: In 1640, the Dutch West India Company’s a monopoly over the fur trade is over. The market is open to everyone. Unfortunately, some of these new traders were not honest with the Indians and they were encroaching on Indian territory. Beside that, Kieft insisted on taxing the Indians for protection. Protection from what?
LEWIS: Well according to Kieft, protection from the English and the other Indian tribes. Well, the local Indians were not happy. The situation was getting messy, and we were heading straight for a disaster.
GEHRING: When population increases you begin to have tensions between the Christians, or the whites, and the indigenous peoples. Livestock is getting into the Indian corn, the Indians retaliate by killing livestock, and one thing leads to another and people start getting killed.
And you have an escalation of unfortunate incidents that eventually lead to full-scale war. And Kieft simply didn’t understand how to handle the situation.
LEWIS: Kieft’s Indian war lasts almost two years and practically destroys the colony. At the end of that period, he’s recalled back to Amsterdam to defend his actions. On the way home, a situation occurs all too common in that period.
His boat sinks, he’s drowned, and all his records are lost.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.