Seventeenth-Century Imperialism and New York

New York is apparently not celebrating its 350th anniversary this week.


According to an article in The New York Times, “On August 26, 1664, 350 years ago Tuesday, a flotilla of four British frigates led by the Guinea, which was manned by 150 sailors and conveying 300 redcoats, anchored ominously in Gravesend Bay off Brooklyn, between Coney Island and the Narrows. Over the next 13 days, the soldiers would disembark and muster at a ferry landing located roughly where the River Café is moored today, and two of the warships would sail to the Battery and train their cannon on Fort Amsterdam on the southern tip of Manhattan. Finally, on Sept. 8, the largely defenseless settlement tolerated a swift and bloodless regime change: New Amsterdam was immediately renamed New York.”

This transition resulted from the colonial competition between the Dutch and British empires in the Americas. Although the Dutch Republic and Britain both promoted Protestant versions of Christianity, their competing maritime commerce and naval policies resulted in several wars during the mid-seventeenth century.

Dutch settlers established New Amsterdam in the early seventeenth century, but the town remained small. The heart of the Dutch maritime empire was in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean. There were numerous other larger Dutch colonial holdings in the Atlantic World, but  New Amsterdam’s position as an important North American harbor placed it conflict between the two rival maritime empires.

New York official celebrates its founding by the Dutch in 1625, but choosing this date had to do with late twentieth-century politics.

The New York Times reports on the anniversary.

This entry was posted in Atlantic World, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, Empires and Imperialism, European History, European Wars of Religion, Maritime History, War, Culture, and Society, Warfare in the Early Modern World. Bookmark the permalink.

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