A Tour of New Netherland



The city of Philadelphia came into being in the English period, when, in 1681, William Penn acquired Pennsylvania from King Charles II. However, Europeans had established a presence in the area long before. In 1646, disputes were growing between the English, Swedish and Dutch over land rights, and in particular over access to the Indians of the Schuylkill and Delaware (South) Rivers and their furs. Angered by recent Swedish incursions, Director-General Willem Kieft of New Netherland decided to establish permanent settlements in the area, the first since the massacre of the settlers of Swaanendael in 1632. He appointed his agent, Andries Hudde, to purchase land in the region from the Indians. Hudde did so, contracting with several chiefs to obtain "a Certain piece of Land that these men do call Wigquachkoing Scituated in the South River of New Netherland Stretching from the South end of a Vally that runneth between t'vupebol and t'vassebos along the River Verby t'vogels Sand about New Netherland and to a kill having there a Round and Somewhat high Corner lying over against the South Corner of Seutters Island in the Land about 5 or 6 miles..."

This would be among the first settlements in the area that, decades later, would become Philadelphia. Another was the establishment, in 1648, of Fort Beversrede on the Schuylkill River.

There are many reminders of the Dutch and Swedish roots of the area in and around Philadelphia.

About the New Netherland Institute

For over three decades, NNI has helped cast light on America's Dutch roots. In 2010, it partnered with the New York State Office of Cultural Education to establish the New Netherland Research Center, with matching funds from the State of the Netherlands. NNI is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. More

The New Netherland Research Center

Housed in the New York State Library, the NNRC offers students, educators, scholars and researchers a vast collection of early documents and reference works on America's Dutch era. More


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By supporting NNI you help increase awareness of the 17th century Dutch colony of New Netherland and its legacy in America.