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Bill Thayer

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Readings in
Dutch History

The page before you is no more than a guide to the rather miscellaneous collection of pages onsite of some significance to the history of The Netherlands or of the Dutch people. As my site has grown to over twelve thousand webpages and nearly two hundred books on various historical topics, the increase in the number of such pages was inevitable, and this index may therefore prove useful to some.

For now, these pages tend to be about Dutch colonial enterprises and emigration; they are all in English, unless otherwise indicated. I would probably do well, though, to start considering the inclusion onsite of a good comprehensive English-language resource on Dutch history, and I welcome any advice in the matter. One good modern history of The Netherlands can be found online elsewhere, mind you: Jona Lendering's Consensus and Crises: A History of the Netherlands.

[image ALT: An engraving of a port scene, with two wooden sailing ships at dock, and in the background, two blocks or so of urban landscape, four-story gabled houses and a taller and larger building in the center, surmounted by a cross-topped lantern. It serves as the icon on my site for Fiske's book, 'The Dutch and Quaker Colonies in America'.]

[ 617 pages of print
presented in 20 webpages ]

The most important item onsite by far is John Fiske's two-volume The Dutch and Quaker Colonies in America, telling of Hudson's explorations, the West India Company, the founding and administration of New Amsterdam, and the Dutch presence in New Jersey and Delaware. The Quaker section by the way — basically Pennsylvania — has more than chronological and geographical proximity to cause its inclusion with the other: firm bonds existed between the Quakers and the Dutch, and the connection is no accident. Fiske, a good writer, lays it all out solidly and interestingly, with a wealth of detail.

[image ALT: A rectangular field of three equal horizontal stripes; the central stripe bears a monogram that can be described as the three letters DID, the first D of which is reversed, and the I of which is connected to each D by a diagonal stroke from the middle of the I to the top of the downstroke of the D. The flag was that of Nieuw Holland — the Dutch outposts in northern Brazil — and serves to represent the section of my site on the history of Dutch Brazil and Guyana.]

[ 199 pages of print
presented in 9 webpages ]

A section on the History of Dutch Brazil and Guyana covers the Dutch exploration, trade, and colonization of northern Brazil and Guiana, mostly in the early 17c; and two articles on the Dutch Caribbean.

[image ALT: An engraving of a man in his fifties wearing a heavy coat, and portrayed as having been interrupted as he was reading a book.]

[ 49 pages of print
presented in 3 webpages ]

The Life of Charles Nerinckx by Camillus Maes is the story of a Belgian Catholic priest who emigrated in the early 19c to the United States, where he is considered an important pioneer. Chapters 1‑3 tell of his early life in The Netherlands, seen especially from a Catholic religious angle; Americans in particular will probably need to be reminded that when he died, in 1824, Belgium was still a part of The Netherlands, and Fr. Nerinckx's experiences shed an interesting light on the history of both countries. Throughout the later chapters as well can be found outcrops here and there of Dutch Catholicism, Flemish art, the situation of the Low Countries under Napoleon, etc.

[image ALT: A round metal plaque with an inscription surrounded by a stylized laurel wreath. It is a Roman military decoration, used on this site as the icon for the works of Tacitus.]

[ 148 pages of print:
Latin text and English translation presented in 6 webpages ]

Extending Dutch history back in a different direction, The Histories of Tacitus tell the Batavian Revolt, one of the earliest firm notices of the Low Countries on the stage of European history: IV.1‑37, 54‑79, V.14‑26.

[image ALT: An eight-pointed star flanked by birds. It is a motif associated with the Artaxiad royal dynasty of Armenia.]

[ 3 pages of print ]

Minor from a historical standpoint perhaps, but not from that of the people who sought, and found, Holland's traditional hospitality towards refugees from persecution: Armenians in the Netherlands.

[image ALT: A close-up of a collection of papers spread out on a table. It is the icon used on this site to represent my American History Notes subsite.]

[ 18 articles, 288 pages of print ]

Among the journal articles onsite, most of them also collected in my American History Notes section, several are of interest here, listed as chronologically as possible:

Origin Of American Aborigines: A Famous Controversy (De Laet vs. Grotius)

Cochin in Jewish History

Dutch Maritime Power and the Colonial Status Quo, 1585‑1641

The Dutch and Cuba, 1609‑1643

The English and Dutch Towns of New Netherland

Dutch and Swedish Settlements on the Delaware

The Dutch Invasion of England: 1667

Flemish Franciscan Missionaries in North America

St. Eustatius in the American Revolution

Three Dutch Medals

Dutch Reformed Beginnings in Illinois

The Dutch Settlements of Sheboygan County (Wisconsin)

Diary of a Journey from The Netherlands to Pella Iowa in 1849 (primary source)

The Journey of an Immigrant Family from The Netherlands to Milwaukee in 1854 (primary source)

Reminiscences of Arend Jan Brusse on Early Dutch Settlement in Milwaukee

The First Dutch Settlers in Milwaukee

The Founding of New Amsterdam in La Crosse County
(a different New Amsterdam: not New York, but Wisconsin)

White Settlement in Saba Island, Dutch West Indies

[image ALT: A rectangular field of three equal horizontal stripes, bearing a lion rampant, who is crowned, brandishes a sword in his right paw, and in his left clutches seven arrows. This design serves to represent the section of my site on Dutch history.]

The field of the icon I use for this subsite is the current Dutch flag; on it the heraldic lion of the Counts of Nassau disports himself. The gentle reader should not be led astray though by the assemblage of the two, which is my own graphic and has, to my knowledge, never been borne as an emblem by anyone. And finally, Dutch republicans need not fret: that inherited lion (crown and all, as far as I can tell) served as the coat of arms of the sovereign Republic under which The Netherlands saw their most glorious days.

Lion and flag are repeated in the background of this page, along with a Roman centurion's military decoration found near Nijmegen, and the Gouden Leeuw, Cornelis Tromp's flagship at the Battle of the Texel, one of the greatest of the many Dutch naval victories of that same golden age of the Republic.

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Site updated: 5 May 15