The Millstone Times September 2021

New Jersey’s History as the New Netherland By: Nazli Mohideen New Jersey-home to nearly 10 million residents on the East Coast-is best recognized for its close proximity to the shore, unbeatable bagels and pizza, and unfortunately high tax rates. With tourist attractions of Cape May, Atlantic City, and Liberty State Park, people of all different cultures, ages, and ethnicities come annually to explore the Garden State. What is now a densely populated democratic state on the coast, however, was once a colony under Dutch rule. Thanks to Henry Hudson voyaging around the world and the Dutch West India Company looking for new trade opportunities, the colony known as New Netherland was established, covering parts of present-day New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and of course, New Jersey. Walloons, people who spoke French, were among the first to live here, but New Netherland would soon become home to thousands of others. Much like today, the area was incredibly diverse. The Dutch were the main inhabitants alongside the Native Indians, but there were also African Ameri- can slaves and people fromGermany and Ireland, along with other various European nations. Plenty were invited by the idea of a new future, fleeing from places that were frequently subject to war/violence, religious and political oppression, and dangerous weather patterns. Different languages were spoken and of all the religions practiced here, being a member of the Dutch Reformed Church was the most popular. Homes were rather simple but effective, nonetheless. At first, they were just simple structures encased in wood and bark, but evolved to entirely wooden, stone, and brick buildings. In these homes, were plates and bowls that had been passed down multiple generations, paintings reminiscent of Europe, and the Bible to spread religious teachings. Home births were also relatively common at the time as proper medical care was inaccessible to many. Livestock and farming provided most of the settlers’ food. Bread was a staple, eaten with porridge, stew, or with butter on top. Other delicacies included corn, squash, meat from pigs, and milk and cheese from cows, goats, and sheep. A special treat had by the Dutch was sapaen, a combination of mashed cornmeal and milk. The lines of childhood and adulthood were often blurred in New Netherland. Despite playing card games and jumping rope, after learning basic letters, numbers, and teachings from the Bible, children were launched into performing mature tasks for their age. Girls tended to home life, cleaning, cooking, and sewing, while boys hunted, fished, and trained to follow their father’s profession. The villages in New Netherland gave way to people becoming farmers, bakers, teachers, and millers, many of whom used fur as currency. Trying to extend their influence around the world, the Dutch took advantage of everything this area had to offer. The colony tremendously prospered as trading beaver fur and wood, farming, and imports by the Slave Trade took off, contributing to the colony’s overall wealth. Yet, the peace of New Netherland was disrupted in 1664 when they were at odds with England. Years’ worth of war, the English had successfully taken control of New Netherland. Even though the Dutch were determined to fight them off, they simply did not have the manpower to do so. Some of the Dutch culture lingered in New Netherland while the English gained access to the trading ports. Eventually, New Netherland’s name was changed to New Jersey, and the colonial land defined by war and trade has since transformed into the beautiful Garden State. Sources:

40 The Millstone Times

September 2021

Made with FlippingBook PDF to HTML5