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New York before 1699
by William Montgomery Clemens
Editor of Genealogy Magazine, ©1926

New York was discovered in 1608 by Henry Hudson, who passed up the river which bears his name. His right to the country which he had discovered under a commission from King James I he sold to the Dutch. In 1614 the States General granted a patent for an exclusive trade on Hudson's River to a number of merchants, who built a fort near Albany. In the same year the Dutch were visited by Captain Argal from Virginia, and being unable to resist him they submitted for the time to the King of England. The country was granted by the States General to the West India Company in 1621. In June, 1629, Wouter Van Twiller arrived at Fort Amsterdam, now New York, and took upon himself the government. The extension of the English settlements naturally occasioned some disputes respecting the boundaries of the Dutch possessions.

The last Dutch governor was Peter Stuyvesant, who began his administration in 1647. The inroads upon his territory kept him constantly employed. In 1655 he subdued the few Swedes on the west side of Delaware Bay and placed the country under the command of lieutenant governor. But he was himself obliged at last to submit to the English. The country in the possession of the Dutch was given by the King of England to the Duke of York and Albany. An expedition was fitted out and August 27, 1664, Governor Stuyvesant was reduced to the necessity of capitulating to Colonel Nicolls, and the whole of the New Netherlands soon became subject to the English crown. The country was retaken by the Dutch in 1673, but it was restored in the following year. In 1683 the inhabitants of New York first participated in the legislative power. Previously to this period they had been completely subjected to the governor, but in this year they were summoned to choose representative to meet in an assembly. In 1688 New York was annexed to the jurisdiction of New England. In 1691 a governor arrived from England and the first assembly was held. The population in 1699 was about 18,000.














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