Saturday, August 30, 2008
Nether india coins VOC nagapatnam coin
In 1602 the States General of the United Provinces, known as the Netherlands, chartered the United East India Company (the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, called the VOC) with the mission of exploring for a passage to the Indies and claiming any unchartered territories for the United Provinces. On September 3, 1609 the English explorer Henry Hudson, on behalf of the United East India Company, entered the area now known as New York in an attempt to find a northwest passage to the Indies. He searched every costal inlet and on the 12th took his ship, the Halve Maen (Half Moon), up the river which now bears his name, as far as Albany and claimed the land for his employer. Although no passage was discovered the area turned out to be one of the best fur trading regions in North America.
As early as 1611 the Dutch merchant Arnout Vogels set sail in the ship St. Pieter for what was probably the first Dutch trading expedition to the Hudson Bay. This secretive mission was so successful in 1612 Vogels chartered the ship Fortuyn which made two, back to back trips to the area. The initial trip of the Fortuyn was under the command of Captain Adriaen Block. Two months before the Fortuyn returned on her second trip, Adriaen Block landed in Hudson Bay in a different ship. Block did not try to keep his activities a secret, he traded liquor, cloth, firearms and trinkets for beaver and otter pelts; however, before he could leave the Hudson for an early spring crossing to Amsterdam he saw the arrival of another Dutch ship, the Jonge Tobias, under the command of Thijs Volckertsz Mossel. Competition to exploit the newly discovered land was underway.
On October 11, 1614 merchants from the cities of Amsterdam and Hoorn formed The New Netherland Company receiving a three year monopoly for fur trading in the newly discovered region from the States General of the United Provinces. In 1615 the company erected Fort Orange on Castle Island near Albany and began trading with the Indians for furs. Although merchants came to New Netherland for business purposes, the area was not colonized and at the end of the three year period the company's monopoly was not renewed. At that point the land was opened to all Dutch traders. Eventually the States General decided to grant an monopoly to a company that would colonized the area. There was a need to have a permanent political presence in their colonies in New Netherland, Brazil and Africa against the possibility of an English, French or Spanish challenge.
The Dutch West India Company and Colonization
In 1621 the newly incorporated Dutch West India Company (the Westindische Compagnie or WIC) obtained a twenty four year trading monopoly in America and Africa and sought to have the New Netherland area formally recognized as a province. Once provincial status was granted in June of 1623 the company began organizing the first permanent Dutch settlement in New Netherland. On March 29, 1624 the ship, Nieu Nederlandt (New Netherland) departed with the first wave of settlers, consisting not of Dutch but rather of thirty Flemish Walloon families. The families were spread out over the entire territory claimed by the company. To the north a few families were left at the mouth of the Connecticut River, while to the south some families were settled at Burlington Island on the Delaware River. Others were left on Nut Island, now called Governor's Island, at the mouth of the Hudson) River, while the remaining families were taken up the Hudson to Fort Orange (Albany). Later in 1624 and through 1625 six additional ships sailed for New Netherland with colonists, livestock and supplies.
It soon became clear the northern and southern outposts were untenable and so had to be abandoned. Also, due to a war between the Mohawk and Mahican tribes in 1625, the women and children at Fort Orange were forced to move to safety. At this point, in the spring of 1626, the Director General of the company, Peter Minuit, came to the province. Possibly motivated to erect a safe haven for the families forced to leave Fort Orange, at some point between May 4 and June 26, 1626 Minuit purchased the island of Manhattan from the Indians for some 60 guilders worth of trinkets. He immediately started the construction of Fort New Amsterdam under the direction of the company engineer Cryn Fredericksz.
Because of the dangers and hardships of life in a new land some colonists decided to return to the homeland in 1628. By 1630 the total population of New Netherland was about 300, many being French speaking Walloons. It is estimated about 270 lived in the area surrounding Fort Amsterdam, primarily working as farmers, while about 30 were at Fort Orange, the center of the Hudson valley fur trade with the Mohawks.
New Netherland was a company owned and operated business, run on a for profit basis by the directors of the West India Company. The intent of the firm was to make a profit for the investors who had purchased shares in the company. WIC paid skilled individuals, as doctors and craftsmen, to move to New Netherland and also sent over over and paid soldiers for military protection of the settlements; the company also built forts and continually sent over provisions for the settlers. All the New Netherland positions one would usually consider government or public service jobs, were in fact, company jobs held by WIC employees. Laws were made by the company appointed Director General in the province with the consent of the company directors in Amsterdam; even the New Netherland provincial treasury was actually the company treasury. All taxes, fines and trading profits went to the company and the company paid the bills. Basically the company profit was whatever was left after expenses had been paid (it should be noted expenses included ample salaries for the Amsterdam directors). WIC soon discovered the expenses associated with establishing and expanding a new colony were considerable. In order to increase their profit margin the company sought to find what might be thought of as subcontractors. The first attempt at partnerships was the Patroonship plan.