American Minute with Bill Federer
Dutch Golden Age: World Maritime-Economic Power of 16th & 17th centuries, and the Dutch Colony of New Amsterdam, which became New York
After seven centuries of occupation by the Islamic dynasties of Umayyad, Almoravid, Almohad, Marinid, and Nasrid, Spanish troops under Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon finally drove out the last occupying armies on January 2, 1492.
Jews were culturally caught in the middle between Christians and Muslims , and consequently, viewed with reservation.

King Ferdinand issued an ignoble decree, March 31, 1492, ordering Spain's large Sephardic Jewish population to either convert or leave.
Some Jews fled to Portugal, then to the Holland, which was Europe's center of religious toleration.

By the 17th century, Holland prospered tremendously, with its largest city of Amsterdam becoming the wealthiest city in the Western world.
During this time, Holland fought an 80 year war of independence from Spain, from 1568 to 1648.

Spain, on one hand, defended Europe by driving back Islamic Ottoman armies and navies, but on the other hand, Spain attempted to crush the Reformation in Holland and England.
In 1572, as part of the Dutch War of Independence , the Spanish Iron Duke of Alba had his men pillage and murder thousands across the Netherlands in " The Spanish Furies."
The Dutch fought back, led by William the Silent, Prince of Orange.

In 1581, the Dutch formed the "Republic of the Seven United Netherlands."

It was one of the few nations with no king.
Spain, under Philip II, also assailed Queen Elizabeth's England in the Anglo-Spanish War, 1585-1604.

The Invincible Spanish Armada attacked in 1588, but Dutch and English sailors, with the aid of a hurricane, repelled it.
During The Eighty Years War, there was a brief twelve year truce, but hostilities renewed in 1619 as part of a larger European conflict called The Thirty Years War, 1618-1648.

It began as a dispute between Protestants and Catholics, but ended as a bloody rivalry for political dominance between France and the Habsburg Empire, leaving 8 million dead.
The fighting finally ended with the Peace of Westphailia in 1648.
The Dutch Golden Age is considered to have begun with the revolt of William the Silent in 1568, and lasted until the Napoleonic wars in the early 1800s.
The Dutch Republic had 2,000 ships, more than England and France combined.

It became a global leader in military, trade, science, and art.
Holland's University of Leiden, established by William the Silent in 1575, became a center of the study of Hebrew, Aramaic and Syriac, with a Jewish rabbi as a professor.
The Pilgrims lived in Holland for 12 years before sailing to America.

Several Dutch companies approached the Pilgrims to settle New Amsterdam on behalf of the Dutch Republic, but they decided to sail with a patent from England's London Company, eventually settling Massachusetts.
The word "company" has an interesting development.

It originated with the Latin word companio , meaning "one who eats bread with you" ("pan" means bread, and "com" means with).

By the Middle Ages, "company" was used to refer to religious orders and trade guilds.

The first use of "company" as a corporate business association was in England in 1553.
Prior to the Protestant Reformation, in Medieval Europe, it was forbidden to pay or receive interest.

It was called the sin of "usury."

As a result, there were no business companies.

If someone wanted to attempt an expensive endeavor, such as sailing around the world for trade or spices, they would have to approach a rich person or a monarch to underwrite it.
After the Protestant Reformation, Amsterdam was where some of the first corporations were started -- the largest being the Dutch East India Company.
Common individuals could pool their money by investing or "owning stock" in a company expedition of ships going to Indonesia in search of spices, and when the ships returned, interest or "dividends" were paid from the profit to the stockholders.
If individuals wanted to sell their share of ownership, they could do so at the first ever stock exchange -- The Amsterdam Stock Exchange.

One important feature of a corporation was limited liability.

Investors only risked the amount they invested. They were not liable for damages or additional losses if the business venture failed.
But what if a business failed, a ship sank, was taken in battle, or captured by Barbary pirates.

In that case, the Dutch invented insurance companies to cover the loss.
The Dutch city of Amsterdam, became Europe's leader in shipping, banking, insurance and commerce.

The city of Gouda in South Holland became famous for its cheese.
The version of Protestantism in the Netherlands was Dutch Calvinism, which prohibited religious paintings and statues in churches.

As a result, Dutch artists developed a variety of other nonreligious genres, such as:

  • informal portraits,
  • still life,
  • peasant life,
  • flowers,
  • landscapes,
  • townscapes,
  • animals, and
  • maritime paintings.
Famous Dutch painters included:

  • Pieter Brueghel the Elder,
  • Pieter Claesz
  • Frans Hals,
  • Willem Kalf,
  • Rembrandt van Rijn,
  • Jacob Isaacksz van Ruisdael,
  • Jan Steen,
  • Hendrick Terbrugghen
  • Johannes Vermeer.
The Dutch sailed around Africa's Cape of Good Hope, and captured Goa, India, from the Portuguese.

Dutch opened trade with:

  • Japan,
  • Jakarta,
  • Mauritius, and
  • the Indonesian Spice Island of Maluku.
Dutchman Willem Schouten was the first to sail around South America's Cape Horn in 1616, naming it "Kaap Hoorn" after his home port city of Hoorn in the Netherlands.
The Dutch sighted Fiji and Australia , and colonized:

  • the Pacific islands of Tasmania and New Zealand;

  • the Caribbean Islands of Netherlands Antilles, Aruba, Sint Maarten;

  • the South American settlements of Guyana, Suriname, and Brazil, which they captured from the Spanish and Portuguese for 24 years;

  • South Africa; and

  • the North American colony of New Netherlands, which included New York, parts of Connecticut, parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, which had previously been New Sweden.
On MAY 6, 1626, Peter Minuit, Dutch Governor of the New Netherlands Province, gave 60 guilders of brass buttons, scarlet cloth and trade goods to the Manhattan Indian Tribe in exchange for Manhattan Island.
The Articles for the New Netherlands' Colony, issued by the Chamber of Amsterdam, 1624, stated:

"They shall within their territory practice no other form of divine worship than that of the Reformed religion ...

and thus by their Christian life and conduct seek to draw the Indians and other blind people to the knowledge of God and His word, without, however, persecuting any on account of his faith, but leaving each one the use of his conscience."
In 1628, Rev. Jonas Michaelius organized the first Dutch Reformed Church in the Colony of New Amsterdam, considered one of the oldest continuous congregations in America.

The Dutch set up a New Amsterdam Stock Exchange along the wall of their fort -- Wall Street.
New Netherlands' original Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions, June 1, 1629, stated:

"Patroons (landholders) and colonists shall in particular, and in the speediest manner, endeavor to find out ways and means whereby they may support a Minister and Schoolmaster,

that thus the service of God and zeal for religion may not grow cool and be neglected among them, and they shall, for the first, procure a Comforter of the sick there."
Franklin D. Roosevelt told the Detroit Jewish Chronicle, March 7, 1935:

"All I know about the origin of the Roosevelt family in this country is that all branches bearing the name are apparently descended from Claes Martenssen Van Roosevelt, who came from Holland sometime before 1648."
The Dutch Amboyna Massacre occurred in 1623 against the British over which country would control of the far east spice trade.

Reports of this massacre were circulated, stirring up tensions which broke out into the Anglo-Dutch Wars:

  • First Anglo-Dutch War (1652-1654),
  • Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665-1667),
  • Third Anglo-Dutch War (1672-1674),
  • Fourth Anglo-Dutch War (1780-1784).
In the Anglo-Dutch Wars, British Admiral William Penn helped defeat the Dutch Navy.

This resulted in the New Amsterdam being taken over by the British in 1664.
After the Second Anglo-Dutch War, in negotiating the Treaty of Breda, 1667, Britain offered to give Manhattan Island back to the Dutch in exchange for the tiny nutmeg-producing Island of Run in the Moluccas, Indonesia.
In one of the most regretted negotiating decisions ever, the Dutch gave up Manhattan to keep the Island of Run.
New Amsterdam was renamed New York City after the Duke of York, who became King James II.

The New Amsterdam Stock Exchange became the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street.
King James II's daughter, Mary, married the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange, the great-grandson of William the Silent.

When it appeared King James II might make England Catholic again, Protestants asked the William of Orange and his wife Mary to leave Holland and take over England in 1688.

This was called The Glorious Revolution.
King James II's army deserted him and he fled to France, leaving William and Mary II to co-rule England.

When Mary died in 1694, Parliament agreed to recognize William as the King of England provided he agree to certain restrictions being placed on the powers of monarchy.
In 1696, King William granted freedoms to Dutch Church in New York with the Charter:

"William the third, By the grace of God, King of England ...

Our said loving subjects ... to preserve to them and their successors that liberty of worshiping God according to the constitutions and directions of the Reformed Churches in Holland ...

have therefore thought fit ... that no person in communion of the said reformed protestant Dutch Church, within our said City of New York ... shall be any ways molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any difference in opinion in matters of the Protestant religion ...

that all ... persons in Communion of the said reformed protestant Dutch Church may ... freely and fully have and enjoy his and their own judgments and consciences in matters of the Protestant religious concernments ... not using this liberty to licentiousness and profaneness ...

Mr. Henricus Selyns, the present Minister of the said reformed protestant Dutch Church ... since the ... dedication of the said Church to the service of God ... the instruction of the members of the said reformed protestant Dutch Church inhabiting within Our said City of New York, in the Christian faith according to the constitutions and directions aforesaid."
New York's Dutch congregation met in several buildings over the centuries, including the imposing St. Nicholas Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church at Fifth Avenue and Forty-eighth Street.

President Theodore Roosevelt attended church there.

The congregation continues at the Marble Collegiate Church, where President Donald Trump had attended.
After becoming a British colony, the Colonial Legislature of New York stated in 1665:

"Whereas, The public worship of God is much discredited for want of ... able ministers to instruct the people in the true religion, it is ordered that a church shall be built in each parish capable of holding 200 persons;

that ministers of every church shall preach every Sunday, and pray for the king, queen, the Duke of York, and the royal family ... Sunday is not to be profaned."
Schedule Bill Federer for informative interviews & captivating PowerPoint presentations: 314-502-8924 wjfederer@gmail.com  
American Minute is a registered trademark of William J. Federer. Permission is granted to forward, reprint, or duplicate, with acknowledgment.