Washington Irving, Gibbet Island, and Jersey City

My post from last summer examined the connection between Washington Irving, America’s first international author and a connoisseur of Dutch culture, and the village of Communipaw—a part of contemporary Jersey City.

This post has proven to be my most read piece with visitors from around the globe, illustrating the power and the possibility of culture—whether it be art, literature, music, or cuisine–to transcend nationality, race, religion, and ethnicity. Although culture is often mocked by power and society (including President Obama, disappointingly enough), culture does not only enrich individual lives, but it intellectually and even spiritually serves as the bedrock of civilization. If a society does not value culture, what might it become? ISIS is the most horrific  contemporary example.

But I digress.

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The Peach Tree War

My blogging has been sporadic during the past several months, and my attention has wandered far afield from my original subject of Jersey City. This post marks an intellectual return to the forgotten Dutch empire on the banks of the Hudson River.

Following the Pavonia Massacre, hostilities between Dutch colonists and the surrounding Native American tribes continued until a treaty was brokered in 1645. Two years’ later in 1647, Willem Kieft was recalled to the Netherlands to account for his troubled leadership and management of the colony. Peter Stuyvesant arrived in New Netherland in 1847 to replace Kieft as the Director-General. Kieft died in a shipwreck off the coast of Wales en route to Amsterdam to address  the charges against him. Continue reading

New Netherland in the Public Schools … in New York

A fellow history blogger (follow link for the story) reported that the New York State Social Studies curriculum is placing a greater emphasis on the period of Dutch colonial history in that state.

A School in the Schoolmaster's Apartment (Courtesy of German History in Documents and Images)
A School in the Schoolmaster’s Apartment, unknown artist, 16th century (Courtesy of German History in Documents and Images).

A three-day workshop will be offered for educators at the New York State Museum (a fun place, by the way) in Albany, New York this autumn. Maybe the Garden State will follow its neighbor’s example.