Sad Day in Calvinist History

Say so long to New Amsterdam.

On Aug. 26, 1664, 350 years ago Tuesday, a flotilla of four British frigates led by the Guinea, which was manned by 150 sailors and conveying 300 redcoats, anchored ominously in Gravesend Bay off Brooklyn, between Coney Island and the Narrows.

Over the next 13 days, the soldiers would disembark and muster at a ferry landing located roughly where the River Café is moored today, and two of the warships would sail to the Battery and train their cannon on Fort Amsterdam on the southern tip of Manhattan.

Finally, on Sept. 8, the largely defenseless settlement tolerated a swift and bloodless regime change: New Amsterdam was immediately renamed New York. It would evolve into a jewel of the British Empire, endowed with a collective legacy — its roots indelibly Dutch — that distinguished it from every other American colony.

Do not take it personally, though, if you have not been invited to the 350th birthday party. None is scheduled in the city. Neither the British nor the Dutch are planning any official commemoration. Nor is Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Shouldn’t the good Calvinists at Redeemer NYC have led a protest? After all, those Dutch colonists were the forerunners of neo-Calvinism.


6 thoughts on “Sad Day in Calvinist History

  1. It is sad. If only the Dutch could have held on, we conceivably could have had a North America of smaller countries, more like South America or Europe. With less British colonies overall, and with New Netherland dividing the New England and other Atlantic colonies from the southern ones, and with New Netherland perhaps aligning with New France against the English, there might have been multiple smaller countries, in time, rather than America and Canada as we know them today; not to mention the impact such differences would have on technological and social development of western civilization…


  2. I know. Shame y’all lost. We British North Americans tried to help you Dixie folks as best we could, allowing attacks from our soil on the north, and plotting of Confederate agents in Toronto, but ultimately to no avail.


  3. The names, the court system and the language changed, but the tolerance, aspirational spirit, geography and diversity remained the same,” said Kenneth T. Jackson, a Columbia University historian and the editor of “The Encyclopedia of New York City.”

    Tolerance? Didn’t Francis Makemie spend 6 weeks in jail for preaching in New York in 1707?


  4. Paul, ding ding. And the Dutch had a lot more of a leash in the New World to be intolerant than they did in the United Provinces. Tolerance didn’t come until the Pretty Good Awakenings.


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