Dutch Influence on Indians in America

The influence of the Dutch on the Indians North of Mexico was confined to the period (1609-64) from Hudson’s visit to the surrender of New Amsterdam and its dependencies to the English. The region in which this influence was exerted lies between the Susquehanna and Connecticut rs., and between the Atlantic and L. Ontario. Ft Orange, now the city of Albany, was a noted trading post of the Dutch, and there they came in contact with the Iroquoian tribes of the N., in addition to the Algonquian tribes of the S. The harsh conduct of Hudson toward the Indians met by him on Hudson r. was in part responsible for many subsequent conflicts between the Dutch and the natives. The Dutch were agents in furnishing brandy to the Indians of their territory and to the surrounding tribes, thereby undoing much of the good sought to be accomplished by the French authorities. The United Company of the New Netherlands, which exercised the first controlling influence in the region of Hudson r., was succeeded in 1621 by the powerful West India Company, and in 1632 was founded the fort on Connecticut r. where is now the city of Hartford. The trade in furs with the Pequot and other tribes was extensive. Disputes soon occurred that f roved detrimental to trade, and De Forest Hist. Inds. of Conn., 73, 1852) considers that it was the loss of the Dutch trade which induced the Pequot to invite the English of Massachusetts bay to settle in Connecticut, an act that led ultimately to their own destruction. Quarrels between the Dutch of New Amsterdam and the Indians, and the savage conduct of Gov. Kieft in 1642, led to much slaughter of natives during the next 2 years, and stirred up many of the Connecticut tribes against both the English and the Dutch. Some of them had engaged in intriguing, now against one, now against the other party of the whites. Friederici (Indianerund Anglo-Americaner, 16, 1900) takes a more favorable view of the attitude of the Dutch toward the Indians in general than that entertained by many authorities. The Dutch helped the Iroquois confederacy against the northern Algonquian hordes, and the wars thus initiated were in progress when the English conquest took place. They also aided the Mali i can against the Mohawk (Ruttenber, Ind. Tribes of Hudson R., 56, 1872) and the Seneca against the Munsee, to whom the Swedes had supplied arms. Many troubles arose from the cupidity of the traders and settlers who sold firearms and liquors to the Indians, regardless of the general policy of the government (Nelson, Inds. of New Jersey, 1894). An interesting relic of Dutch influence is the title “Kora” given by the modern Iroquois of Canada to the governor-general, or to the King of England, a corruption of Corlaer, the name of one of the Dutch governors of New Amsterdam. (A. F. C.)

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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