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.

Episodes from the life of Petrus Stuyvesant appear in the records of both the NYC Municipal Archives and the City of Amsterdam Archives. A selection of episodes is excerpted below.

As you read about Govert Loockermans, consider the following questions, then post your reactions in the comments on our blog:

  1. Petrus Stuyvesant has been the victim of historical stereotypes that brand him as a peg-legged, inflexible, intolerant, autocratic ruler of New Netherland.  To what extent do the episodes illustrated by these documents shed new light on Stuyvesant as both a man and a leader? 
  2. As the Director-General of all of New Netherland (and the Dutch islands of Curacao, Aruba, and Bonaire) when he arrived in New Amsterdam in 1647, Stuyvesant was essentially the “governor” of a Dutch colony stretching from the South (Delaware) River, north to the North (Hudson) River, then northeast to the Fresh (Connecticut) River.  New Amsterdam, the central city for New Netherland, had its own separate municipal government after 1653.  Based on the documents, how would you describe the relationship between Stuyvesant as a colonial governor and the city government of New Amsterdam? Do you see any connections with today’s state governor / city mayor and council structure of government?