Imposed Consensus. An Examination of the Relations between Dutch Settlers and Native Americans in North America between 1674 and 1783
When the peace of Westminster was signed on November 10, 1674, the Dutch colony formerly known as New Netherland came into the hands of the British after a ten-year struggle. The moment the Dutch surrendered, the victors began to write the history of the United States from a British perspective. They mainly focused on the thirteen original colonies, largely ignoring the influence of other European countries, including the significant role the Dutch had played during these formative years. In The Island at the Center of the World (2004), Russell Shorto argued that removing the Dutch from the history of the United States was unjustifiable and that New Netherland had indeed “contributed to the settling of North America.” The impact the Dutch may have had on the history of the United States in the period after New Netherland is yet to be examined.
The objective of this research project is to assess the role the Dutch played in the genesis of the United States during the formative years of the 17th and 18th centuries by exploring the relationship that existed between the Native Americans and the Dutch from 1674 till 1783, partly in analogy with and partly in opposition to their British and French counterparts. Contrary to what has been previously assumed, the Dutch as a cultural entity did not disappear when they surrendered their colony, New Netherland, to the British in 1674. They recognized the new political order and by doing so, they were able to maintain their distinctive ethnic identity which influenced their relationship with the indigenous people. By researching the relationship that existed between the Natives and the Dutch from 1674 till 1783 this project hopes to contribute to a better understanding of Dutch-American history and assess the extent to which the Dutch-influenced the genesis of the United States during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Supervisors: Hans Bak, Mathilde Roza and Pieter Hovens (National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden)
Researcher: Iris Plessius
Start: October 1, 2015