May 13 at 10AM, Dennis Maika from the New Netherland Institute will give a lecture on slavery in New Netherland and colonial New York at the Putnam Valley Free Library in Putnam Valley, NY. Maika is senior historian and education director. This is a FREE program open to the public.
When Americans think of slavery, they typically conjure up images of a large Southern plantation in the decades before the Civil War. Most New Yorkers, then, are surprised to learn that slavery existed in their state for almost as long as it survived in the southern United States. Slavery in New York began with the arrival of enslaved Africans in Manhattan in the 1620s and lasted until all slaves were formally made free in 1827. The experiences of enslaved people and the institution of slavery changed significantly over the course of 200 years, revealing a very different, distinct, but no less sad history than what evolved in the American south. What helped make New York slavery distinctive was its origins in the Dutch New Netherland period, which has been much misunderstood and mischaracterized. New research, including investigation into seventeenth-century Dutch sources, has provided a more accurate understanding of the experiences of both the enslaved and the enslaver. This presentation will focus on the origins of slavery in 17th century New Netherland and the Hudson Valley, and will provide an overview of the final century before the official end of slavery.