Dutch 1620's-1664

The Dutch and Fort Nassau

Sometime between 1623 and 1627 the Dutch created a trading post called Fort Nassau on the eastern shore of the Delaware River.   The location in said to be south of the Timmer Kil.  [ Kil  is the Dutch word meaning creek.]

1639  Caert vande Svydt Rivier in Niew Nederland.

As far back as 1827, research indicates that Timmer Kil is what today is now known as the Newton Creek.  But after the English took over the area from the Dutch, the English mis-labeled Timmer Kil as present day Timber Creek.   This continues to lead to confusion as to the location of the fort.

Fort Nassau would be occupied on and off, over the years by the Dutch in order to trade with the local Lenni Lenape people who had lived in the area for about 10,000 years.

Once the Swedes began to settle in the lower sections of the Delaware River in the area of present day State of Delaware, the Dutch occupied the fort more regularly in order to protect their claim to the area.

Caert vande Svydt Rivier in Niew Nederland.

Map Maker:  Johannes Vingboons   ca 1639

Library of Congress:    http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3832d.ct001069

The Dutch City of Hoorn.

Dutch navigator David Pietersz. de Vries was from Hoorn and sailed along the Delaware River.

This is a painting of Hoorn 1622, so the vessels that would have visited the Delaware River would have been similar.

Dutch Yachts

Dutch navigator David Pietersz. de Vries was from Hoorn and sailed along the Delaware River.

This is a painting of Hoorn 1622, so the vessels that would have visited the Delaware River would have been similar.

Smaller vessels, like the one here, were called yachts. These yachts would be used to investigate un-charted rivers, streams and creeks because they could navigate in shallow waters.

1648 - 

"signed: A. Hudde. Done at Fort Nassouw on the South River of New Netherland, this 7 November 1648." 

Andries Hudde was in charge of Fort Nassau on the South River (Delaware River)  for the Dutch West India Company.

Much of his time on the Delaware River was having to deal Governor Johan Björnsson Printz and the Swedes who also claimed rights to the lands along the Delaware River.

Images courtesy of the New York State Archives: [ https://digitalcollections.archives.nysed.gov/index.php/Detail/objects/50687  ]

Translation [ https://iarchives.nysed.gov/xtf/view?docId=tei/A1878/NYSA_A1878-78_V18_0001.xml  ]

Peter Minuit

Cornelis Jacobsen Mey

 or May be not?  1623  or 1627?

Although it has always been thought that the 1st Director of the Dutch North American Cornelis Jacobsen Mey had founded Fort Nassau it was more likely Peter Minuit

Minuit is credited with the purchase of the island of Manhattan from the Lenni Lenape.   Minuit likely setup Fort Nassau  when he was the 3rd Director of the Dutch North American colony of New Netherlands from 1626 until 1631.   Later on he founded the Swedish colony of New Sweden on the Delaware Peninsula in 1638.

Dutch navigator David Pietersz. de Vries

In 1631-1632 - Dutch navigator David Pietersz. de Vries traveled up the Svydt Rivier or South River (Delaware River) and visited Fort Nassau.

3rd of February 1633 - David P. De Vries

"The 3d of February, we hauled out of the kill, as the river was open again, and sailed to Fort Nassau, where we had left the Indians before, but found no one there now, and saw no Indians. It began to freeze again, and we hauled into a kill over against the fort, as we were apprehensive, if we should be frozen in there, we might be in danger. When we had lain in this kill, eight days before the ice broke, there came a canoe, in which sat an old Indian with a squaw, who brought with them some maize and beans, of which we bought a parcel. We could not understand from the Indian how it was that we saw no Indians. It seemed as if he were unwilling to tell us; he appeared astonished that he had escaped, ran frequently ashore, looked to and fro, so that we could perceive there must be something. We hauled the next day out of the kill, and were carried between the cakes of ice and the shore, which we could not prevent with our yacht."


Voyages From Holland to American in the Seventeenth Century by David P. De Vries, published in Holland in 1655 originally A.D. 1632 to 1644.

Translated From The Dutch For The New York Historical Society with Introduction and Notes, By Henry C. Murphy.

 Dutch Republic Lion

Created on June 3rd 1621, the Dutch West India Company was form. When they printed their charter, the title page displays the Dutch Republic Lion.

Also known as the States Lion, the lion is holding on the seven arrows representing the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands.

Geoctroyeerde Westindische Compagnie

The Dutch West India Company's flag would have been flown onboard the vessels that visited the Delaware River known to the Dutch as the South River.  

The "G.W.C" which stood for Geoctroyeerde Westindische Compagnie (Chartered West India Company)

The flags colors being horizontal tricolour of orange, white and blue were that of the Dutch nation;  whereas, the orange was replaced in the 1650 with Red.

[ Image from the New York City Public Library ]


1651 - Fort Nassau on the Delaware River abandoned.

Peter Stuyvesant (1610-1672) was the last Dutch director-general of the colony of New Netherland and as such made the decision to abandon Fort Nassau on the east side of the Delaware River in favor of Fort Casemier in Delaware.

He would later would have to surrender all of the Dutch holding to the English but remain in New York City where his name can still be seen on streets, neighbors and towns.

He lost his leg due to a cannonball in battle with the Spanish, resulting in him becoming known for his wooden peg leg.