Work and Commerce

The colony of New Netherland was first looked upon by the Dutch West India Company as a vast array of natural resources to be exported to Europe. Fur bearing animals, which in many parts of Europe had been hunted to near extinction, were soon added to other materials, like lumber, aboard ships heading out. The Dutch were focused on international trade, and many experienced and novice traders came forward to ensure goods got moved, and profits made.

To support the fur industry and the Dutch West India Company's claim to the land between the Delaware and Connecticut Rivers, land development needed to take place. Population relocation was a slow process that hampered the colony for years, but eventually, growth took off under British rule.

As the fur trade declined, other colonies were beginning to thrive throughout the Americas, including the West Indies. Merchant traders from New Netherland and later New York needed to add something else to the Virginia tobacco, South American cocoa, and island sugar they sent abroad. Wheat and other European grains, like rye and barley, thrived in the rich soil, and it was not long before thousands of acres were under cultivation. European livestock, along with fruit and vegetable crops, were added to native staples like corn and oysters, creating foodstuffs like butter and preserved meats for the local population, and commodities that could be exported to the world market.  

In this section we look at some of the people and goods that played a role in the vast world market of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. We explore the lands and goods of the manors, and the people who participated in the amazing transformation of the "New World."

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