Sunset at Gowanus Bay

Sunset at Gowanus Bay
Sunset at Gowanus Bay, Henry Gritten, 1851

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Curaçao Papers, 1640-1665

Curaçao Papers, 1640-1665, translated by Charles T. Gehring. A description and brief introduction is online at the New Netherland Institute's website. Here it is described as Volume 17 of the Dutch Colonial Manuscripts at the New York State Archives. I believe it is considered to be volume 17 of the New Netherland Document Series, which is the name used for the continuation of the New York Historical Manuscripts series which began with Arnold J. F. van Laer's translations. If the categorization and titles given to all of these translations and publications is confusing to you (and indeed it does seem unnecessarily complicated) I would refer you to the Introduction published by the New Netherland Institute. Curaçao Papers, 1640-1665 was published in 1987 by Heart of the Lakes Publishing, Interlaken, NY, and used copies can be found for sale online. However, asking prices (as of this post) are high ($275 to $441). Fortunately there is digital version available in PDF from the NNI. Unfortunately, it does not include the introduction or an index.

Below the description of this volume are three links. The first is to a digital copy (PDF) of the published translation by Charles T. Gehring. The second link is to a transcription by Jacob Schiltkamp done in 1987. The third link will take you to the digital images page at the New York State Archives website. Here is a direct link for the translation:

Besides an index, this online PDF edition also does not include the introduction. That can be found separately online, as a PDF, here:

Whether or not anyone named Brouwer is found in this work is not known to me. I have not read through the entire volume. Of interest though, to those researching Adam Brouwer, is a paragraph found in the separately published introduction. On page 2 of the Introduction is a narrative describing events taking place in around the island of Curaçao during the first half of the 1640s. Here we find, with regards to the year 1644: 

     "During the first week of April, while Stuyvesant was lying siege to the fort on St. Martin, approximately 450 West India Company fled to Curaçao from the Maranhao region of Brazil. This exodus was prompted by the fall of Sao Luis, the major city in the Maranhao, on the 28th of February. Most of the men in this contingent were soldiers under the command of David Adam Wiltschut, the former military commander on Curaçao. Stuyvesant must have been overwhelmed when he returned to Curaçao, minus one leg, to find 450 new mouths to feed. The islands were already short of provisions because of the expedition to St. Martin and Wiltschut had brought none with him from Brail. Stuyvesant resolved the crisis by sending the majority of the soldiers to Willem Kieft, director of New Netherland, to assist in his campaign against the Indians."

We of course know from Adam Brouwer's Power of Attorney to Geurt Servaessen, dated 21 February 1645, that Adam Brouwer had gone to Brazil in 1641, as a soldier employed by the West India Company, and was stationed at Fort St. Louis (Sao Luiz), and since he is in New Amsterdam by early 1645, it is most certain that Adam Brouwer experienced the events described above.

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