Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Colonies of the Dutch and Northern Europeans

Today I note the colonies of the "other" powers that established colonies in the New World; the Dutch, the Swedes, the Danes, and the Russians.  Don't worry, the English are to follow.

File:Nieuw Nederland and Nya Sverige.svg
A Map showing the original areas of New Netherland and New Sweden.

  • DUTCH:
    • Guiana (1616):  Here, on the north coast of South America, the Dutch would have a colony.  Its capital is Paramaribo
    • New Netherlands (1626): The date for the establishment of the Dutch colony of the New Netherlands is certainly variable!  Henry Hudson, sailing for the Netherlands explored the area in 1609 (one date), the earliest Dutch settlements came in 1613 (another date), but the foundation of the actual city of New Amsterdam in 1626 by the Dutch West India Company really makes the firms start of the colony.  This, like New France, was a fur trading venture, and a place from which to strike at Spanish shipping.
    • Dutch Brazil or New Holland: from 1630-1654, the Dutch set up shop in the northeast corner of Brazil, seizing Portuguese Pernambuco with its sugar.  The Dutch capital was at Recife.
    • Curacao (1634) & Aruba:  These islands made up the Dutch West Indies.  Curacao was settled by the Spanish in 1527, but taken by the Dutch in 1634.  It would be an odd mix of Dutch, Spanish, and African residents, as it is today.  The capital is Willemstad.
File:Dutch Caribbean location map.svg
Map of the Dutch Caribbean, which also includes St. Maartin, Saba, and St. Eustatius.

  • SWEDISH: New Sweden (1637): Founded by the poor and rather disinterested Kingdom of Sweden, under the leadership of Peter Minuit, New Sweden occupied the Delaware River valley in what is now Delaware and parts of NJ & PA.  This was to be a fur & tobacco based colony.  Log cabins are reputed to originate here.  The Swedish experiment in American colonies ended in 1655 when the Dutch under Peter Stuyvesant (gov. 1647-1664) conquered New Sweden and added it to the holdings of the New Netherlands, expanding the NN to include NY, NJ, & DE.
File:Dansk Vestindia.png
The Danish Virgin Islands (now the US Virgin Islands).

  • DANISH: Virgin Islands (1672):  A portion of the Virgin Islands, just east of Puerto Rico, were acquired for the Denmark – St. Thomas in 1672, St. John in 1683, and St. Croix was bought from France in 1733.  They became a royal colony in 1754.  These are now the US Virgin Islands.
Russian America, prior to its sale to the United States.
  • RUSSIAN: Russian America [Alaska] (1799): The Russian Empire would also establish a colony in the New World, in what is now Alaska.  Initially, the Russians only explored the area to determine its relationship to Siberia, but by the mid 18th century, fur traders were making excursions here.  Permanent settlements began in the 1790s.  The Czars finally made this a formal colony and possession only in 1799.

Live well!

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