Timeline, West India Company's First Decade, 1620-1630

The decade from 1620 to 1630 was one of extraordinary experimentation and activity for the Dutch abroad. The Dutch would outfit numerous fleets to the Americas and Asia, and the West India Company began to test what its carefully collected capital might accomplish. Although the WIC’s most extensive efforts would be focused on Portuguese Brazil and Luanda, New Netherland was one of a number of colonies that the Dutch would found in the decade. Far from being marginal, New Netherland was the small, new colony that the West India Company attended to most, sending over families, farm animals, and religious personnel. New Netherland also became a destination in this decade for enslaved people, who would, under the Company’s violent coercion, play key roles in establishing the colony.


2nd June 1621

West India Company [WIC] granted charter for a trade monopoly by the States General.


End of the Twelve years' truce with Spain 1621

End of the Twelve years' truce with Spain; the war against Spain resumes under the leadership of Maurits of Nassau, Prince of Orange.


English Ambassador in The Hague protests the Dutch activities in New Netherland 1622

Dudley Carleton lodges a protest in the States General against Dutch encroachment on “English” land


First Company Daughters arrive in the Dutch colony of Batavia/Jacatra, Java 1622

The Dutch East India Company attempts to colonize Batavia by subsidizing the migration and dowries of single women. This policy would be discontinued in 1632.


The Nassau Fleet departs the Dutch Republic April, 1623

The Nassau fleet under the command of Jacques l’Hermite sets out on its mission to attack the West coast of South America and disrupt the flow of silver into Spain. It continues on to Asia to trade. Sponsored by the Dutch East India Company, the States General and the stadtholder, the three year mission would be a failure.


First WIC ship leaves for New Netherland July, 1623

Although the WIC was chartered in 1621, its first ship bound for New Netherland, the yacht Mackreel, departed two years later, in 1623. The Mackreel would spend a year in New Netherland and return to patria in the summer of the 1624.


Jesse de Forest and his Colonists arrive in Wiapoco on the Wild Coast October, 1623

Leaving the Dutch Republic with the Mackreel in July, the Duyf would take Jesse de Forest and his colonists to the Wild Coast to found a colony. The people who remained behind would be rescued by a passing Dutch ship in 1625.


The WIC plans the “Grand Design” 1623

The West India Company’s directors decide to send a fleet to conquer Salvador da Bahia in Brazil and a second fleet to capture the Portuguese slave trading port of Luanda in Africa. The fleet departs for Bahia at the end of December 1623.


First colonists arrive in New Netherland 1624

First colonists arrive in New Netherland where they are settled at Fort Orange (Albany), the mouth of the Connecticut River, on High Island (Burlington Island) in the Delaware River, and on Governors Island. Forts are built on Governors Island and on the upper Hudson ( Fort Orange). Cornelis May, as senior skipper, is considered first director of New Netherland. 


Birthplace of New York State on Governors Island 1624

Birthplace of New York State by de facto transformation of the New Netherland territory into a province by imposing the Republic's legal-political infrastructure with the planting of the first settlers on Governors Island (then named Noten Eylant or in English, Nutten Island until 1784); the locus of New York's cultural patrimony of toleration.


First Religious Personnel arrive in New Netherland 1624

Bastiaen Jansz Krol arrives in Fort Orange to take up the position of ziekentrooster or comforter of the sick. He would only continue in the position for two years.


The West India Company briefly captures Salvador da Bahia May 10, 1624

The WIC takes the city of Salvador. The Company would surrender the city to a Spanish- Portuguese force on April 30, 1625.


The Dutch East India Company establishes Fort Zeelandia in Taiwan 1624

 The Dutch establish Fort Zeelandia so they can engage in trade with China. They would lose the fort and the island to Koxinga in 1661


First recorded auction of WIC goods coming from New Netherland December, 1624

The Company auctions furs from New Netherland in Amsterdam.


Johannes de Laet publishes Nieuwe Wereldt ofte Beschrijvinighe van West- Indien, uit veelerhande Schriften ende Aen-teekeningen van verschedyen Natien 1625

De Laet, a West India Company director, produces an early description of New Netherland as well as other parts of the Americas, relying on earlier travel accounts and other documents.


Publication of De Jure Belli et Pacis 6 Sep 1625

The publication of De Jure Belli et Pacis, by Dutch statesman and jurist Hugo Grotius, lays the foundation for the science of international law.

Prince Frederik Hendrik becomes stadholder upon death of Prince Maurits 1625

Prince Frederik Hendrik, the youngest child of Willem the Silent, becomes stadholder upon the death of Prince Maurits.


Willem Verhulst arrives as director of New Netherland 1625

Willem Verhulst arrives as director of New Netherland.


Kiliaen van Rensselaer becomes a West India Company director 1625

Van Rensselaer, who would found a patroonship in New Netherland, takes a leadership role in the WIC.


Arrival of the “Animal Fleet” 1625

The ships Schaep, Koe, and Swarte Paert, which were retrofitted and provisioned specifically to carry farm animals to New Netherland arrive with their cargo.


Daniel van Crieckenbeeck killed by Mohawks 1626

Daniel van Crieckenbeeck, commander at Fort Orange, and three WIC soldiers killed while supporting a Mahican war party against the Mohawks.


Peter Minuit replaces Verhulst as director 1626

Peter Minuit replaces Verhulst as director, purchases Manhattan Island; moves settlers from Fort Orange, Connecticut, and Delaware to Manhattan. 


First Africans arrive in New Netherland 1627

The ship Bruin Visch brings approximately two dozen enslaved people captured from a Portuguese ship off the coast of Trinidad.


Founding of Berbice and Tobago 1627

Abraham van Pere receives permission from the WIC to start Berbice, and Jan Marsen and Jan de Moor found Tobago


Isaac de Rasieres reports on a visit to New England 1628

De Rasieres explains English government to the WIC director Samuel Blommaert. He may have told the English about the value of wampum on this visit.


Piet Heyn captures Spanish silver fleet for the WIC 1628

Piet Heyn, a Dutch naval officer, captures Spanish silver fleet for the Dutch West India Company.


First Minister Arrives in New Netherland


Jonas Michaelius arrives and establishes a Calvinist consistory in New Amsterdam.


Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions 1629

The Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions, establishing the patroonship plan of colonization and laying the ground rules and expectations of the

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

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