Place: Staten Island

Staten Island  (Staaten Eylandt) was particularly important to the Dutch West India company because of its strategic location, and potential for farming so close to Manhattan Island.  There was clearly a lot of controversy of ownership of this land, and here are just a few examples.  Use the Timeline button to see more.

1630 DWIC issues a patent to Michael Pauw for Staten Island

1641 - The Pig War - The Raritans were accused of stealing pigs, and several of them were killed and their crops destroyed.  In return, they burned the entire Dutch settlement to the ground.

1642 DWIC issues a patent to Cornelis Melyn for Staten Island , except so much as has already been granted to David Pietersen de Vries for a bouwery.

1643 - The Whiskey War 

1655 - The Peach War - A young Indian woman Tachiniki  from the Wappingers tribe was killed by a  Dutch settler for stealing a peach from the property of Cornelis van Tienhoven,.    The people of New Amsterdam believed that  in retaliation the Hackensacks and Susquehannocks attacked Dutch settlements in the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, and Staten Island.  More than 600 Susquehannocks descended upon New Amsterdam, a settlement with approximately 300 houses.   In reality, the Peach War began because of the attach on New Sweden by Petrus Stuyvesant and his forces.   

On Staten Island, 23 Dutch Settlers were killed and 67 were captured by the Hackensack tribe. Captain Adriaen Crijnin Post, who led the settlement of the Colony for Baron Hendrick van der Capellan, had learned the language of the Natives. Chief Penneckeck trusted him and permitted him to leave captivity to negotiate with Stuyvesant for the release of the settlers on behalf of the Natives. The captives were safely returned, including his own wife and children, for the price of ammunitions, wampum and blankets.

The Baron ordered the 67 settlers to return and build a fort. They found their homes burned to the ground, crops destroyed or damaged, and their livestock and horses set free to roam or killed. Many of the inhabitants soon moved to the Long Island Colony. Post remained with a few settlers to fulfill the Baron's wishes, but his health declined temporarily and he was not able to complete his goal. He eventually moved his family to what became Bergen County, New Jersey after the British gained control.

1657  Indian deed to Lubbertus van Dincklage, attorney of Henrick van der Capelle tho Ryssel, for the whole of Staten island, called by the Indians Eghquaons.

1659, 2 years later, Cornelis Melyn signed a Deed of Surrender

1660 - A peace treaty is signed with the Raritan, Hackensack, and others.

1661 - Several settlers petition for land on Staten Island including Pierre Billou

At the time the DWIC became interested in Staten Island, the Native Americans who fished, hunted, and raised crops there included the  Raritan tribe of the Algonkians and the Hackensack.   There remains evidence of their residence there in the form of  of burial grounds, shell middens, arrowheads etc. today.   Because the Algonkians had a nomadic tradition, slash and burn agriculture, fishing and hunting all took place on Staten Island in seasons when hunting and fishing was particularly good.   It is likely that by the Little Ice Age, the Native Americans may not have wished to overwinter on the small island every year.     A number of tribes utilized the island including Hackensack, Raritan, and many others.   Over the course of many years, violence between the Dutch settlers and DWIC soldiers vs. Native Americans on Staten Island led to a chaotic series of documents relating to land rights there.  


Image Credits

Manatus, by Johannes Vingboons 1639