Dutch Manhattan - The Sheriff Comes to Town  | 4

American History Tellers

By Wondery

Dutch Manhattan - The Sheriff Comes to Town | 4

Wednesday, 25 September

Just as it was becoming a New World success story, disaster came to New Amsterdam. Willem Kieft, the Dutch leader appointed by the West India Trading Company, declared war on local tribes, sending soldiers to slaughter them in their villages. The tribes responded with waves of death and destruction that would set the European settlers back decades in their development. 

A new colonist named Adriaen Van der Donck arrived to find the place in chaos. The colonists were furious at Kieft for endangering their settlement with his attacks. Van der Donck had been trained as a lawyer, and he soon found a role organizing the colonists against Kieft. He lobbied Kieft to permit the formation of a council to give the residents a say in their government. But when it became clear Kieft had no intention of giving the council any real power, Van der Donck responded by going over Kieft’s head and appealing directly to the leaders of the West India Company for intervention. 

The response wasn’t what he expected. It would lead to the appointment of a new Dutch leader, a hardliner tasked with wrestling the wayward colonists back under control. His name was Peter Stuyvesant.


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