Stories

Merchants. Traders. Government officials. They lived on the island of Manhattan in the 17th century, in a city called New Amsterdam. Details from their lives are reflected in historical records that have been preserved for over 300 years. These records include business contracts, loan agreements, wills, deeds, court transcripts, marriage contracts, and more. The archival records illuminate a time, a place, and a diverse population from which we can both gain new perspectives, and identify common threads.

 

asser levy

Levy was an Ashkenazi Jew who arrived in Amsterdam in 1654, weeks before Sephardic Jews arrived from Brazil. He was a "sworn butcher" and was also involved in trade.

 

govert loockermans

Loockermans arrived in New Netherland as a teenager and achieved great status and wealth as a merchant and "founding father" of New Amsterdam.

 
 

Petrus Stuyvesant

The seventh and final Director-General of New Netherland, Stuyvesant was installed by the Dutch West India Company in 1647 and governed until the English takeover in 1664.

 

anna and wolfert webber

The Wolferts were two of the many immigrants who arrived in New Amsterdam during the 17th century.