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.
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 →
2009 marked the 400th anniversary of the explorer Henry Hudson sailing the Hudson River. In that year, the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, New York organized an exhibition on the Dutch colonial experience in the Hudson River Valley and the lasting influence of the Dutch on economics, politics, and culture in the region.