This edition of A Description of New Netherland provides the first complete and accurate English-language translation of an essential first-hand account of the lives and world of Dutch colonists and northeastern Native communities in the seventeenth century. Adriaen van der Donck, a graduate of Leiden University in the 1640s, became the law enforcement officer for the Dutch patroonship of Rensselaerswijck, located along the upper Hudson River. His position enabled him to interact extensively with Dutch colonists and the local Algonquians and Iroquoians. An astute observer, detailed recorder, and accessible writer, Van der Donck was ideally situated to write about his experiences and the natural and cultural worlds around him. Van der Donck's Beschryvinge van Nieuw-Nederlant was first published in 1655 and then expanded in 1656. An inaccurate and abbreviated English translation appeared in 1841 and was reprinted in 1968. This new volume features an accurate, polished translation by Diederik Willem Goedhuys and includes all the material from the original 1655 and 1656 editions.
The result is an indispensable first-hand account with enduring value to historians, ethnohistorians, and anthropologists.
Charles T. Gehring is the director of the New Netherland Project with the New York State Library and the coeditor of numerous collections of original documents from Dutch New Netherland. William A. Starna is a professor emeritus of anthropology at the State University of New York College at Oneonta and a coeditor of Iroquois Journey: An Anthropologist Remembers (Nebraska 2007). Gehring and Starna coedited A Journey into Mohawk and Oneida Country, 1634-1635: The Journal of Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert and (with Dean R. Snow) In Mohawk Country: Early Narratives of a Native People. Diederik Willem Goedhuys is a native of the Netherlands and thirty year resident of South Africa. In addition to having knowledge of Dutch, Afrikaans, and English at his disposal, he also spent several months at the New Netherland Project in Albany, New York, where he had access to the best reference sources for the translation of a seventeenth-century publication.
Forward by Russell Shorto; Map of New Netherland; Preface A Description of New Netherland: The Country; Of the Manners and Extraordinary Qualities of the Original Natives of New Netherland; Of the Nature, Amazing Ways, and Properties of the Beavers; A Conversation Between a Dutch Patriot and a New Netherlander Concerning the Condition of New Netherland Appendix; Endnotes
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