‘Dutch Breukelen: Where Brooklyn Began’ is a curriculum developed by the Brooklyn Historical Society. It’s designed for grades 2 – 8 that transforms the classroom into a learning lab about seventeenth-century Brooklyn. With primary sources including maps, diaries, cookbooks, account ledgers, and drawings, ‘Dutch Breukelen’ contains resources and prompts that will spark and engage the curiosity of any New Yorker or Brooklyn-lover about the early colonial origins of New York’s most populous borough.
The history of the Dutch colonial period in Brooklyn covered in this curriculum (1636-1664) offers learners the oppurtunity to investigate case studies of Brooklyn’s five original Dutch towns: Breukelen (Brooklyn), Boswijck (Bushwick), Nieuw Amersfoort (Flatlands), Midwout (Flatbush), and New Utrecht (Nieuw Utrecht). These investigations have broad resonance about power-laden interactions in the communities of the New World. The topics included will address formative questions, including:
- What was the relationship between European colonists and Native Americans on Long Island and how – through land transfer, conflicting definitions of property ownership, disease, and war – were the Lenni Lenape dispossessed of their land here?
- Where and how did women access power and exert rights in the New World and how did laws governing family and women shift between Dutch and British rule? How did Brooklyn’s remoteness allowed for perpetuation of de facto Dutch legal practices?
- How did enslaved an freed Africans experience life in the New Netherlands colony and where can we find evidence of their families and legacies?
- What kinds of traditional water management skills did the Dutch bring to Brooklyn and how did that shape their transformations of Brooklyn’s waterfront?
The curriculum is free to use, you can download it HERE.