Dutch Manhattan - The One-Legged Soldier  | 5

American History Tellers

By Wondery

Dutch Manhattan - The One-Legged Soldier | 5

Wednesday, 2 October

Peter Stuyvesant was fresh from losing a leg in battle against the Spanish when he arrived in Manhattan in 1647. He was a tough soldier who was ready to take charge of the unruly population of New Amsterdam. He soon clashed with Adrian Van der Donck, the leader of the opposition, who was secretly crafting a formal legal complaint that would compel the Dutch government to give the colony a form of representative government. When Stuyvesant discovered that Van der Donck had been spearheading an effort to overthrow his rule, he had him arrested for treason. 

But after a public faceoff revealed the Dutch government had come down on the side of colonists, Van der Donck was released. He returned to Europe and traveled to The Hague, where he argued that the Dutch government should take over the colony from the West India Company. At first, the Dutch government supported Van der Donck’s cause. It granted New Amsterdam a charter, giving the colony official status as a Dutch city, and ordered Stuyvesant's recall. But then order was abruptly rescinded. Oliver Cromwell’s English government was declaring war on the Dutch republic.


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