Did you know that New York was originally New Amsterdam and settled by Dutch? Do you know what Wall Street is named after? I learned so much this week!!!
A little history…. after Henry Hudson explored the area looking for a Northwest Passage to India the Dutch, being savy business people, wanted to begin trading with the Native Americans. They wanted beaver pelts. When the Dutch New Indies Company tried to get settlers to go to New Amsterdam they had trouble as many Dutch didn’t want to come. The Dutch actually lived very comfortable with religious freedoms & government representatives at home! So New Holland ended up having a mix of many other European nations who were eager to come live in New Amsterdam. The Dutch New Indies Company then offered to give patrons a large piece of land if they provided 15 colonists to live & work it. But the colony was not well run; there were outhouses on the street, pigs running loose, lots of drinking & fights, and no defenses. The Dutch New Indies Company appointed Peter Stuyvesant to fix it up! He was not very popular, but he fixed it and raised money for ‘police’ by taxing imported liquor. When news of war between England & Holland reached the colony they begin building a wall around the colony, but they ran out of money and the colonists did not want to finish it. (The only part of the wall would later be known to the world as Wall Street!) In 1664 English ships did come and as the colonists refused to fight with Stuyvesant, they surrendered. New Amsterdam became an English territory and was renamed New York.
Dutch were the first to bring cows to America – we looked at pictures and Goofy recounted how he milked a cow.
We made our own butter by shaking cream in a Tupperware for about 15 minutes. Then we shaped it into a ‘biscuit’. The kids thought that was hilarious; it tasted good too!
Resources – I have three really good ones for you this week, but they are not currently pictures on Amazon. You can still get them used on Amazon or through a good local library.
- Wooden Shoes in America by Louis Maloy – This book is about a family who moves to America and what their life is like the first year they are there. It has simple, beautifully done illustrations and really gives some insight into life for in New Amsterdam. It is written with chapters, although there are illustrations on each page.
- Old Silver Leg Takes Over! A Story of Peter Stuyvesant by Robert Quackenbush – This is a GREAT way for kids (and adults) to learn about New Amsterdam (later New York!) It is full of great information, easy to read, and has nice blue & white illustrations. My son loved the comical pigs on the bottom right of each two-page spread and reading what the pigs had to say.
- Colonial Life for Children: The Dutch & New Amsterdam by Schlessinger – I stumbled upon this series by accident in my local library. I’m so glad I did! There are 9 in the series about Colonial Life. A kid walks your kids through a 23 minute visit to that aspect of Colonial Life. You will see characters in costume, learn a lot of interesting facts, and feel like you get a wonderful glimpse of their life! My son loved the visual!