Relations between New Netherland and New England to the east deteriorated as the colonies spread toward one another and as the home countries engaged in a series of wars in the 1650s and 1660s. Overlapping Dutch and English land claims in America became such an acute problem that leaders signed a 1650 agreement setting the border 10 miles east of the Hudson River. Although this line was generous to New England, English settlers began to move across it within a few years. Several English Puritan communities had formed on Long Island also, and these insisted that Stuyvesant allow them town meetings. He ignored their demands, but such attitudes spread to Dutch settlements and further undermined his authority.
Stuyvesant encountered other problems as well. New Sweden seized a Dutch fort on the Delaware River in 1654. The following year, Stuyvesant led 600 men against the Swedes, who peacefully agreed to Dutch rule. While Stuyvesant was absent, Algonquin Indians attacked the farms of several colonists. The ensuing war caused much property damage and cost the lives of fifty colonists and sixty natives. Stuyvesant hurried back to end the conflict and recover hostages. He banned the creation of outlying settlements and fortified the defenses of New Amsterdam.
By 1664, New Netherland’s population was approximately two-thirds Dutch. The colony also contained English, German, French, Finnish, and Jewish settlers. This diverse population had little loyalty to the company or the Dutch government, and many colonists disliked Stuyvesant’s authoritarian rule. That year, King Charles II of England granted the region to his brother, James, Duke of York. James sent four ships under Colonel Richard Nicolls to New Netherland demanding its surrender. Although Stuyvesant wanted to resist, he received no support from the townspeople. Focused on trade, they held little allegiance to the Netherlands. When Nicolls informed them that they would retain commercial and political rights, they agreed to English rule, and James renamed the colony New York. New Amsterdam became New York City and Fort Orange became Albany.
Dutch influences remained in New York after the English takeover. Place names such as Breukelyn (Brooklyn) and Haerlem (Harlem) continued with only slight modification. Most settlers stayed in the colony, as did Stuyvesant. During a subsequent English-Dutch war, the colony briefly reverted to Dutch rule in 1673. The following year, the Dutch signed a treaty surrendering all claim to New York forever. James E. Klein See also: Dutch; Fort Orange; New Amsterdam; New York; New York and New Netherland (Chronology); New York City; Document: Rights and Privileges of Patroons (1629). Bibliography Berlin, Ira. “From Creole to African: Atlantic Creoles and the Origins of African-American Society in Mainland North America.” William and Mary Quarterly 53:2 (April 1996): 251–88. Kammen, Michael. Colonial New York: A History. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1975. Rink, Oliver A. Holland on the Hudson: An Economic and Social History of Dutch New York. New York: Cornell University Press, 1986.