Colonization and Settlement (1621-1750)
(29 total)

Sort By | Title | Date | Recently Added
In this letter to superiors at the Hague, Pieter Schaghen describes conditions in New Amsterdam, including the purchase of Manhattan from local Indians for goods worth sixty guilders. Scholars have speculated that the Indians who took part in this transaction likely had a different view of it, and did not believe they had sold the island to the…

Tags:
Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1626

From the earliest days of the Virginia colony, laws governing the ownership of slaves were put in place to define the legal status of slaves and their masters and regulate interactions between them. In this series of laws dating from 1639 to 1705, the legal foundations of colonial slavery are established and codified. The slaves' status as property…

Tags:
Item Type: Laws/Court Cases
Date: 1639

In the 1640s, a group of enslaved Africans petitioned the Dutch West India Company for their freedom. The company's director-general, William Kieft, agreed to grant them "half freedom" (their children were not free and they owed an annual payment to the company), and gave them tracts of land in the unsettled area north of the city, thereby creating…

Tags: ,
Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1643

As the population of enslaved Africans grew, colonial elites in New York passed laws to restrict the activities and movements of black residents. These laws were similar to laws passed in Virginia and Maryland, indicating that white fears of slave rebellion were widespread. Following an attempted slave insurrection in New York in 1712, British…

Tags:
Item Type: Laws/Court Cases
Date: 1664

This account of Native American life in Pennsylvania was published by the colony's founder, William Penn, who hoped to encourage settlement in the colony. Describing the physical appearance, diet, shelter, rituals and mannerisms of the Lenni-Lenape, or Delaware, people, Penn is lavish in his praise. While his description of the Indians as "light…

Tags:
Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1683

In 1712, Manhattan's population was about 6,000 living in an area twenty blocks long by 10 blocks wide; 10-15% of those inhabitants were enslaved Africans. Within this small area, slaves lived with their masters and worked along side white servants and other slaves. Enslaved women mostly worked in domestic labor, whereas men spent most of their day…

Tags:
Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1712

This is a transcription of a bill of sale for a slave woman and her child that took place on Long Island in 1716. In the transaction, a woman named Francis and her two-year-old daughter Hannah are sold by William Willis of Hempstead to David Seaman of Oyster Bay for the sum of sixty-three pounds. Slavery was common in New York City and Long Island…

Tags:
Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1716

Many English settlers arrived in the colonies as indentured servants. Because poor men and women could not afford the cost of travel to North America, they bound themselves for four to seven years’ labor in return for passage across the Atlantic. Masters legally owned the labor of indentured servants. Servants who ran away and were caught had…

Tags: , ,
Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1718

Many English settlers arrived in the colonies as indentured servants. Because poor men and women could not afford the cost of travel to North America, they bound themselves for four to seven years’ labor in return for passage across the Atlantic. Masters legally owned the labor of indentured servants. Servants who ran away and were caught had…

Tags: ,
Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1718

As in the southern colonies, New York newspapers were filled with slave advertisements that provide many details about the life and labor of enslaved New Yorkers. Historian Jill Lepore calculates that 253 advertisements for runaway slaves and servants were printed in New York City newspapers from 1733 to 1752, many of which were placed by owners…

Tags:
Item Type: Advertisement
Date: 1734