America Immigration: Dutch Immigrants


Fifure 1.--The Dutch were another people who never emigrated to America in large numbers, but they arrived early in the 17th century. New Amserdam became the English colony New York. Unfortunately we do not know who the illustrator was here and when the drawing was done.

The Dutch were another people who never emigrated to America in large numbers. Remember that the people commonly referred to as the Pennsylvania Dutch in America are Germans. (Presumably the confusion comes from the German word for German--Deutsche. There is a small Dutch population in American, originating to large part from the first colonizers in New York. Peter Minuit purchased Manhattan from the Native Americans for $24.00 after New Netherland was established (1626). Peter Stuyvesant (1592-1672) founded New Amsterdam in 1647 which became New York. Names like Harlem, Brooklyn, Yonkers, Staten Island, etc. are all of Dutch origin. Individual Dutchmen went everywhere in America, but Michigan and Iowa are the only states where they settled in groups and where some Dutch influence still is still noticeable there . Three American presidents were of Dutch descent: the two Roosevelts and Martin van Buren, rather remarable given the small portion of the Dutch in the American population. A reader notes some Dutch influence in Texas. He writes, "The only place in Texas where I found some Dutch influence was Nederland near Beaumont. I only could tell by the Dutch and Frisian names on the mailboxes."

Limited Numbers

The Dutch were another people who never emigrated to America in large numbers. Remember that the people commonly referred to as the Pennsylvania Dutch in America are Germans. (Presumably the confusion comes from the German word for German--Deutsche.

New Amsterdam (1624-1664)

There is a small Dutch population in American, originating to large part from the first colonizers in New York. Peter Minuit purchased Manhattan from the Native Americans for $24 after New Netherland was established (1626). Peter Stuyvesant (1592-1672) founded New Amsterdam in 1647 which became New York. Names like Harlem, Brooklyn, Yonkers, Staten Island, etc. are all of Dutch origin. New Amsterdam was founded in the early 17th century, about the same times as Jamestown (1607) and Plymouth (1620). The Dutch colony operated for about a half century. They absorbed the neighboring Swedish colony (1655). It was the English of course who came to dominate the North American continent. The Dutch had neither the seapower nor the populstion needed to compete with the English. The English who were able to eventially seize New Amsterdam and end Dutch efforts to colonize North America (1664). New Amstrdam became New York. Interestingly the more open character of New Amsterdam seems much more in keeping with the American character than the early English comonies, especially the straigt-laced puritans. [Shorto]

Important Factors

There are some notable factors about colonial Dutch immigraion to the Americas. Because the Dutch actually established a colony, a very wide range of social classes and persons came. Not only were their ordinary settlers, but there were also represenatives of the ruling class, merchants, and settlers. Also notable was the small number who came, estimated at less than 6,000 persons and this includes Sweeds in the colony seized by the Dutch (1655). [Boogaart] Yet according to the Census of 1790 there were about 100,000 Dutch. This substantial increase relect the success of the Dutch in America even after the colony was seized by the British (1664). Also notable is the xtent to which the Dutch remained in the area or close to what was New Amsterdam.

Population Centers

Individual Dutchmen went everywhere in America. They of course are most prevalent in New York and New Jersey in the area of New Amsterdam. Small but notable groups of Dutch Quakers and Mennoites settled in Pennsylvania. The Dutch imprint can also be seen in Michigan and Iowa, states where they settled in groups and where some Dutch influence is still noticeable. A reader notes some Dutch influence in Texas. He writes, "The only place in Texas where I found some Dutch influence was Nederland near Beaumont. I only could tell by the Dutch and Frisian names on the mailboxes."

Extent

The Census of 1790 found that the Dutch were ily about 3 percent of the American population. They were, however, regionally important, over 15 percent of the population of New York and New Jersey. It is important to note that the immigrants that arrived before the Revolutionary Era were a relatively small part of the overall immigration flow, probably about 2 percent. Yet their importance is belied by their numbers because the early immigrants with their culture established the foundation for the nation.

Presidents

Three American presidents were of Dutch descent: the two Roosevelts and Martin van Buren, rather remarable given the small portion of the Dutch in the American population.

Sources

Boogaart, Ernst von den. "The Servant Migration to New Netherlands, 1624-1664," in P.C. Emmer, ed. Colonialism and Migration (Dordrecht, 1986).

Gehring, Charles. Gehring has overseen a New York Statec Library project to translate a wealth of documents from New Amsterdam into English to make them available to American scholars.

Shorto, Russell. The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotton Collony that Shaped America (Doubleday, 2004), 384p. Shorto rather overstates his thesis, but does present some interesting information about New Amsterdam.






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Created: April 30, 2004
Last updated: 1:31 AM 9/18/2006