May 2024

The Settlement of Nutten Island (Noten Eylandt)

The Event –

A Family Picnic to Commemorate the First European Settlement in New Amsterdam

In September 2024, we will host a family picnic at  Governor’s Island off the tip of Manhattan. We will be on the island where the Dutch West India Company brought 30, predominantly French Huguenot, families on the ship, New Netherland, to establish the first Dutch settlement in America on Nutten (now Governors) Island off the southern tip of Manhattan. 

Our events are designed to both commemorate and educate about the events that occurred 400 years ago. In addition to a fun-filled picnic featuring games and activities, we will also provide interactive educational.

All are welcome!  Sign up here to get on the list for more information.

 


 

History of Nutten Island

The Dutch West India Company was a corporation that established trading settlements in regions claimed for Holland in 1609 by the explorer Henry Hudson, an English Captain who sailed for the Dutch. Their first ship, Nieu Nederlandt (New Netherland), set sail in 1624 with 30 families, most of which were Flemish Walloons (French Huguenots), to establish the first settlements. The families were dispersed in four different locations; a few settled on Burlington Island on the Delaware River, some on Nutten Island (Noten Eylandt) at the mouth of the Hudson River, and others at Fort Orange (Albany), where a Dutch fur trading post had previously been established in 1615. Shortly thereafter, the Burlington Island and Fort Orange settlements proved unviable, and those families were relocated to the new town of New Amsterdam.

On Nutten Island, the captain of the New Netherland, Cornelis Jacobsz May, who became the first Director of New Netherland, settled the families on the smaller island 800 yards off the tip of lower Manhattan, initially providing a haven from the Indians and the unknown wilderness beyond. Several months later, they were relocated to the newly developing Fort Netherland in the town of New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island.

 

About the Flemish Walloons or Huguenots, the first families

The Flemish Walloons were Protestants, and their counterparts were the Huguenots in France. They were differentiated by where they lived: France, Flanders, or Wallonia, the latter two now part of Belgium. Today, they all come under the same heading as Huguenots. Nevertheless, they had all been persecuted because of their religious beliefs. Learn more about them at the Huguenot Society of America.

The Flemish Walloons of New Amsterdam had been living in Holland at the time they petitioned the Dutch West India Company to send them to New Netherland so they, like the English Puritans who settled in Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts a few years before in 1620, could practice their religion in peace. In turn, they were to establish a trading colony for the Dutch West India Company.


References:

The New Netherland Institute on Cornelius Jacobsen Mey

The Dutch West India Company and Colonization

Ship Journey: 1624 from the New Amsterdam History Center

The Walloons in Albany then New Amsterdam

The Walloon Settlers Memorial Information

  • Country
  • Establishment Date
    1624
  • Area
    Governor's Island
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