Exploration and Settlement


What were the Dutch colonial holdings?

New Netherlands was the only Dutch colony on the North American mainland. It consisted of lands surrounding the Hudson River (in present-day New York) and, later, the lower Delaware River (in New Jersey and Delaware). Explorers from the Netherlands first settled the area in about 1610. In 1624 the colony of New Netherlands was officially founded by the Dutch West India Company. On behalf of the company, in 1626 Dutch colonial official Peter Minuit (1580–1638) purchased the island of Manhattan from the American Indians for an estimated $24 in trinkets. The colonial capital of New Amsterdam (present-day New York City) was established there. The Dutch held the colony until 1664 when it was conquered by the English under the direction of the Duke of York (James II; 1633–1701), the king’s brother. The English sought the territory since New Netherlands separated its American holdings. Under British control the area was divided into two colonies: New Jersey and New York.

During the colonial period the Netherlands also claimed the West Indies islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao (called the Netherlands Antilles), which were administered separately from New Netherlands on the North American mainland.


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