The colony of New Netherland was established by the Dutch West India Company in 1624 and grew to encompass all of present-day New York City and parts of Long Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey. A successful Dutch settlement in the colony grew up on the southern tip of Manhattan Island and was christened New Amsterdam. Tolerance and diversity were fundamental foundations of Dutch New Amsterdam. Along with tolerance and diversity, commercial focus also played an integral function in the establishment of Dutch New Amsterdam.
In order to better understand how tolerance, diversity, and commercialism fundamentally impacted Dutch New Amsterdam, we must apprehend their meanings. Tolerance is the ability or willingness to constitute a fair, objective, and permissive attitude towards those whose opinions, practices, races, religions, nationalities, etc., differ from others. When referring to tolerance in Dutch New Amsterdam, it is important to take into consideration the amount of different people who populated the colony, whether it is by race, gender, religious differences, etc. Diversity is the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization. Diversity and tolerance are relatable when attributing to Dutch New Amsterdam because there were many diverse individuals who were seeking tolerance for their beliefs. Commercialism is a key factor that contributes to every society. We especially witness it in Dutch New Amsterdam. What is commercialism? It is the attitude that is concerned with making a profit at the expense of quality.
The Dutch Republic was first to recognize commercial possibilities of the New World. Here is where the Dutch West India Company comes in. The Dutch West India Company was a Dutch merchant company that was chartered in 1621 to carry on trade amongst and with Africa, North and South America, Australia, and the West Indies. More specifically, it was on June 3rd of 1621 that a 24-year charter was awarded to the Dutch West India Company; it was a corporation that was modeled on its East India predecessor. These companies processed at least ten times the capital Britain’s Virginia Company. The key purpose of the new enterprise was to expand trade for the Netherlands between West Africa and Newfoundland. Rules for the new colony were drawn up in March 1623. Settlers were given strict instructions not to trade with foreigners a nd were scattered from Albany to New Jersey, to New York Bay. Manufacturing and retailing also began to grow. An example of commercialism is the introduction of baked goods. After 1637, two windmills were operating to grind flour for export, and several bakers set up shops in town. By 1664, ten bakeries were selling breads and cookies to an expanding clientele. After this, many retail stores began to open.
As for tolerance and diversity in the Dutch colonial period, there were people from various cultures residing in New York at the time, and continued to arrive to New York. Manhattan’s population included English auxiliaries, Dutch reinforcements from Brazil and Curacao, Swedes from the Delaware region, blacks, Indian allies, and countless others. It was very clear that Manhattan was filled with diversity. Religious tolerance has been one of the biggest touch points of what made New Netherland so pivotal in America. In 1647, when Stuyvesant arrived, he banned all but Dutch reformed religious services. He reasoned that in the New World, diversity might have led to danger. In September of 1654, Asser Levy led 23 Jews in the city. “Jews would only bring confusion to New Amsterdam”- Domenie Megapolensis. However, the West India Company wanted the Jews to stay, for means of expansion. Although the Jews were allowed to stay, Stuyvesant still had many problems with many other religious groups.
During the British colonial period, tolerance, diversity and commercialism are also