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Surprise! New Amsterdam becomes New York

Well... Dutch trade in New Netherland had been going well until four English frigates came over the horizon. The English want a piece of the action so they are taking New Netherland away from the Dutch. The English are surprised at how quickly the Dutch governor surrenders. They rename New Amsterdam to New York after the Duke of York, but nothing has really changed. The existing government institutions are Dutch and all correspondence and trade is in Dutch which requires a Dutch interpreter. The English and the Dutch must cooperate with each other to get things done but it is an unhappy marriage. If you ever wondered where insults such as "Dutch Courage" or "Dutch Treat" come from, it is from these times of bad feelings. And what the Dutch call the English is hilarious. In fact, the New Englanders like the insult so much they start calling themselves by the same name: Yankees. By next year the Second Anglo-Dutch War will begin, but in the New World, life will go on. The English and the Dutch are going to be living with each other for a very long time. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK. Where did the term "Yankee" come from? In English, the name John is a common name, but in Dutch it is pronounced "Yan". The diminutive form of Yan is Yanke or Yankee. It's like calling someone John-boy or Johnnie. The Spaniards are also well known in the New World and have been at war in the past with England so they are prime targets for insulting names. The patron saint of Spain is Saint James, but in Spanish his name is pronounced roughly like Santiago or San Diego. If you shorten up "Diego", you get "Dago" and thus you have a derogatory reference to Spaniards and Italians. It doesn't speak well for us as human beings. Does it? We still hurl names at each other as if it matters. One day a man named his two sons, "Winner" and "Loser," but all he proved was that a name is not one's destiny. "Loser" became a detective in the NYPD and he is known as "Lou" to his friends. His brother, "Winner," went to prison. Names do not matter. It is the character within that counts. [6] [7] [8] [9]

The English Colony Mix and Match *

At this point, the original 13 colonies of the American Revolution are still forming up. Many of the names of the colonies are in use and recognizable but the actual regions they describe are changing and will continue to change. For example, Maine receives its royal charter this year, but within a year Maine will be absorbed into the Massachusetts Bay colony. Currently there is a New Haven Colony, but that will be absorbed into the Connecticut Colony. There is also an East and West New Jersey. There is no North and South Carolina yet. It's just the Province of Carolina. The Province of Pennsylvania will be established in 1681 and the Georgia Colony will be established in 1733. [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
When I was researching this segment I vaguely remembered that Florida was out there as a British colony at the time of the American Revolution, but it had remained loyal to the King. It is easy to see why. It was a very late addition, so it hadn't experienced British rule for very long. It had been a Spanish colony most of the time. Quebec was in a similar situation. Having once been a French colony, it didn't have all the build up grievances against the British yet. It had plenty of grievances. Don't get me wrong, but not enough for rebellion. It was just bad timing. The other British colonies that remained loyal to the King during the American Revolution were the British West Indies, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Bermuda. [12]

Slavery for Life and Uncle Tom's Tragedy *

The Maryland legislature has passed a law that makes all negro slaves within its borders slaves for life. Any slaves brought into Maryland will henceforth be declared slaves for life and their offspring shall be slaves for life. There is also a provision that punishes a white woman for marrying a slave by making her a slave for life but Lord Baltimore has that part of the law repealed when his white servant marries a slave. He does not want to lose her to the slave owner, but everything else in the law is OK with him... apparently. It's now the law and this is why I don't equate "following the law" with "doing the right thing". Sometimes the law is the wrong thing... like this time. [13] [14]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
There is a biblical argument that always comes up regarding paganism and slavery. Many of the African slaves in the 1600s were not following Christianity so it was argued that lifetime slavery for pagans was justified. Yet the Maryland law made no mention of any biblical reasoning and there is no provision for a slave that converted to Christianity. In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe made the argument in her book "Uncle Tom's Cabin" that most slaves ARE Christian and that the slave masters were tormenting a modern messiah. She set Uncle Tom as a Jesus figure... always turning the other cheek and helping his fellow man. In other words, he was the perfect Christian. I don't want to spoil the ending of the book for anyone but Jesus died in the end to help everyone else. Right? (Spoiler alert: Uncle Tom dies in the end helping everyone else. The guy is a flippin' hero!) So... when you hear of someone being called an "Uncle Tom" think again about what is being implied. Someone is being accused of being Christ-like. Doesn't anyone read Uncle Tom's Cabin any more? I've provided a link to the audiobook that you can download and listen to FOR FREE. Please. [15]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1664, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Russell Shorto. Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City. Doubleday. 0385534574. ISBN 9780385534574. “The English took the Dutch colony by force in 1664. The Dutch got it back again in 1673, then lost it for good the next year. From that point, one might say, began the history of the 'thirteen original' American colonies. But while the English changed New Amsterdam to New York, they kept many of its structures in place for the simple reason that the city worked.” 
  2. James, son of Zebedee - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 19 October 2015. “James, son of Zebedee was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and traditionally considered the first apostle to be martyred. He was a son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of John the Apostle. He is also called James the Greater or James the Great to distinguish him from James, son of Alphaeus and James the Just. James the Greater is the patron saint of Spain.”
  3. Schoolcraft, Henry L. (October 1907). "The Capture of New Amsterdam". The English Historical Review (Oxford University Press) 22 (88): 674-693. http://www.jstor.org/stable/550138. Retrieved October 19, 2015. 
  4. New Amsterdam - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 19 October 2015. “New Amsterdam was renamed New York on September 8, 1664, in honor of the then Duke of York (later James II of England), in whose name the English had captured it. In 1667 the Dutch gave up their claim to the town and the rest of the colony, in exchange for control of the Spice Islands.”
  5. Nieuw Amsterdam (1664) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 19 October 2015. “An early picture of Nieuw Amsterdam made in the year when it was conquered by the English under Richard Nicolls.”
  6. Yankee - definition of Yankee (2015). Retrieved on 19 October 2015. “According to what is perhaps the most popular theory of the origin of Yankee, it comes from Dutch Janke or Janneke, which are variants of Jantje, 'Johnnie,' the diminutive of Jan, the Dutch equivalent of the English name John.”
  7. Words from History (PDF), Books on Words, Houghton Mifflin. “A very common name among the English was John (it still is) and to the Dutch this was Jan, pronounced "Yan."” 
  8. Freakonomics » Winner, Loser, and Marijuana Pepsi. freakonomics.com (April 21, 2009). Retrieved on 19 October 2015. “We wrote in Freakonomics about two brothers named Winner and Loser. Winner became a lifetime criminal; Loser a detective in the NYPD.”
  9. Dago - definition of dago (2015). Retrieved on 19 October 2015. “Used as a disparaging term for a person of Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese descent.”
  10. Province of Carolina - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 20 October 2015. “Sir Robert Heath, attorney-general of King Charles I of England, was granted the Cape Fear region of America, incorporated as the Province of Carolina, in 1629.[2] The charter was unrealized and ruled invalid, and a new charter was issued to a group of eight English noblemen, the Lords Proprietors, on March 24, 1663.”
  11. : Grant of the Province of Maine. The Avalon Project (1664). Retrieved on 23 September 2015.
  12. Thirteen Colonies - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 20 October 2015. “Besides these thirteen, Britain had another dozen in the New World. Those in the British West Indies, Newfoundland, the Province of Quebec, Nova Scotia, Bermuda, and East and West Florida remained loyal to the crown throughout the war (although Spain conquered Florida before the war was over).”
  13. Bernard Bailyn. The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600–1675. Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 9780307960825. “One of the most important of the early laws, an epitome of the difficulties of definition, was adopted by Maryland in 1664. It was the first statute to recognize lifelong heritable slavery as a matter of law, but strangely that was not its primary purpose. Confusing in its very title ('An Act Concerning Negroes and Other Slaves' -- the latter unspecified), the law stated at the outset that all negroes or other slaves already in the colony or others who would come in the future 'shall serve Durante Vita' (for life), and their children will follow their fathers' status into the same condition.” 
  14. Jonathan L. Alpert (July 1970). "The Origin of Slavery in the United States-The Maryland Precedent". The American Journal of Legal History (Oxford University Press on behalf of Temple University) 14 (3): 189-221. http://www.jstor.org/stable/844413. Retrieved October 20, 2015. "Bee it Enacted by the Right Honorable the Lord Proprietary by the advice and Consent of the upper and lower house of this present General Assembly That all Negroes or other slaves already within the Province And all Negroes and other slaves to bee hereafter imported into the Province shall serve Durante Vita [for life] And all Children born of any Negro or other slave shall be Slaves as their ffathers were for the terme of their lives And forasmuch as divers freeborne English women forgettful of their free Condition and to the disgrace of our Nation doe intermarry with Negro Slaves by which also divers suites may arise touching the Issue of such woemen and a great damage doth befall the Masters of such Negros for prevention whereof for deterring such freeborne women from such shamefull Matches Bee it further enacted by the Authority advice and Consent aforesaid That whatsoever free borne woman shall inter marry with any slave from and after the Last day of this present Assembly shall serve the master of such slave dureing the life of her husband And that all the Issue of such freeborne woemen soe marryed shall be slaves as their fathers were And Bee it further En- acted that all the Issues of English or other freeborne woemen that have already marryed Negroes shall serve the Masters of their Parents till they be Thirty years of age and noe longer.". 
  15. Uncle Tom's Cabin (Audiobook). LibriVox.org (2015). Retrieved on 20 October 2015. “The novel is believed to have had a profound effect on the North’s view of slavery. In fact, when he met Harriet Beecher Stowe, President Lincoln is said to have commented, 'So you’re the little lady whose book started the Civil War.' First published on March 20, 1852, the story focuses on the tale of Uncle Tom, a long-suffering black slave, the central character around whose life the other characters—both fellow slaves and slave owners—revolve. The novel depicts the harsh reality of slavery while also showing that Christian love and faith can overcome even something as evil as enslavement of fellow human beings.”

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