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Dutch Proprietary Manors In America: The Patroonships In New Netherland

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Chapter Summary

The patroonships in New Netherland have been much criticized by historians. Ever since Edmund B. O’Callaghan, the first historian to devote attention to the Dutch colony, in 1846 asserted that the patroonship system “transplanted to the free soil of America the feudal tenure and feudal burdens of continental Europe”, the label of feudalism has stuck to the patroonships. Patroonships were available to major shareholders of the West India Company, if they declared their intention to set up within four years a settlement of at least fifty people over fifteen years of age. Patroons were allowed to select their own site, with a number of restrictions. The failure of the patroonship system in New Netherland was not simply the result of the inability of colonial authorities to avoid conflict, though it must be admitted that the actions of rash individuals offered little help.

Keywords: America; Dutch colony; feudalism; Netherland; patroonship system; West India Company



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