Colonies in Crisis continued...

Continuing from the previous "Colonies in Crisis" post...

Why did the English want the Hudson Valley?
  • Security--the Hudson Valley was the backdoor to Massachusetts Bay and they had a very heavily armed military power (Five Nations of the Iroquois) on the border.
  • Territory--the English were interested in expanding their territory. They out-numbered the Dutch and were already setting up towns in Western Massachusetts, but they wanted more land.
  • Trade--the port at the end of the Hudson could provide military and trade advantages; there were also bountiful beaver populations which the English could make money by hunting them, skinning them, and selling their pelts to make hats and other clothing items for the people over in England.
  • Food production--the Hudson could be used to export food to the English landholdings in the Caribbean Islands.
The First Anglo-Dutch War (1652--1654): A Global War with Local Effects
  • The Dutch West India Company (DWIC) realized that the English of Massachusetts Bay out-numbered them greatly and were looking to take control of the Hudson Valley.
  • The Dutch strengthened the upriver site of Fort Orange (which had been is serious disrepair) and repaired the wall around their settlement in the New Amsterdam (the wall is where Wall Street in New York City gets its name).
  • The DWIC also stepped up its munitions trade with the Mohawks, depending on them to be a "wall of flesh" against the English.
  • Dutched tried to prove that they are actually in control of the Hudson Valley by the leading attacks on the Esopus Indians (located near modern-day Kingston, NY)--this decade of warfare goes so badly for the Dutch that they demonstrated their weakness and ineptitude, not their strength.  
The International Rivalry Heats Up: England and the Netherlands Go At It Again in the 1660s
  • In 1660, King Charles II is invited back to power at the death of Cromwell. Charles had been a refugee for 12 years and lacks administration experience.
  • With a weak king in charge of a nation, there are sure to be many problems. Poplation is still divided as a legacy of the recent Civil War, unemployment (although getting better) is still high; the kingdom is broke and he needs money but cannot tax. England has lost ground in a colonial race to claim North America and Africa because of Dutch gains.
  • He needs friends to keep him in power and money to finance the war.
  • The people who were in a position to loan him money were merchants with extensive investments in the Caribbean.
  • In exchange for loaning money, they want:
    • more land in the Caribbean
    • lands on the mainland on which to grant freedom dues for former indentured servants and on which to grow crops to feed their workers
    • unlimited access to slave trading in Africa (controlled by the Dutch)
    • secure shipping lanes for their global investments
  • All of these conditions argue for war with the Dutch. Again, a global war with local effects. In 1664, the English take the Hudson.
English Takeover and its Effect
  • The Dutch lose the Hudson as part of the Second Anglo-Dutch War in 1664
  • The Puritans living on Long Island rowed over to take over Manhattan without firing a single shot.
  • The resident population is not interested in loyalty--they want to make money and believe that they can do that jst as well with an English colonial governor as they have been doing with a Dutch colonial governor.
  • The reason for the name New York was because the colony of New Netherland was given to James, Duke of York.
  • At first, the English administration leaves the Dutch property and trade laws in place, which was especially good for frontier tradespeople and tenant farmers. This lead to pluralism (diversity if views), but with soldiers to protect them and not being terribly loyal to the Dutch government anyhow, this was a profitable and fairly easy transformation for people used to doing international business in other nation's territories.
Long-term Consequences of the Anglo-Dutch Wars for North America
  • The English consolidate coastal areas of middle North America; they are able to get vital naval building supplies and can thus better control the shipping lanes.
  • The imperial contest in North America will hereafter be between the Spanish (Florida and west of the Mississippi River), the French (Mississippi Valley, Great Lakes, and Canada), and the English (mostly centered within 100 miles of the Atlantic coastline).
  • The Dutch will remain an international powerhouse, but not in North America. They will be redirected to the more lucrative areas of the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean.
  • The Dutch lost control of the monopoly on the African slave trade. The English will develop the Royal African Company and many more slaves will be directed from Africa to colonial America.
  • Although they have not been good at it in the past, the English now have to manage diversity of all kinds.

I think this is a good place to stop with this particular blog entry, and I hope it keeps you yearning for more historical knowledge but also tides you over until the next entry. I cannot guarantee that I will be able to post it soon, as I start classes for the spring semester on Monday, but I hope to have the time to post entries on a semi-regular basis.

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