The New Amsterdam Name
What’s in a name? When that name includes New Amsterdam, there is a rich history in it that dates from the 17th century.
New Amsterdam was the name given to the area of southern Manhattan that was colonized by the Dutch in the 17th century. Dutch investors became interested in the area in 1609 after receiving reports from Henry Hudson recounting the abundant wildlife in the area around the river that now bears his name. Further exploration by others confirmed Hudson's report and resulted in the Dutch establishing trading posts in the area, followed by the construction of forts for protecting their fur trade interests, and, ultimately, in the colonization to establish an even firmer hold on the area. In 1625, New Amsterdam was designated the capital of the New Netherland province.
Of course, most of us have also heard the legend of how the island of Manhattan was purchased from Native Americans for the equivalent of about $24 worth of beads and trinkets. Peter Minuit, the 3rd Director of New Netherland was the man who made the purchase in 1626.
The Dutch remained in control of the area until 1664, when English warships arrived in New Amsterdam harbor and demanded the surrender of the area. Peter Stuyvesant, the Director-General at the time, ceded New Netherland to British control. On September 6, 1664, he authorized the signing of the Articles of Capitulation. New Amsterdam was then reincorporated under English law as New York City in June of 1665.
Our decision to adopt New Amsterdam as the name of our opera company is a tribute to the history of this diverse, dynamic city in which we are based. A city and its residents that have, through the centuries, welcomed, nurtured, and inspired adventurers, entrepreneurs, artists, and others pursuing their dreams. Our culture is richer because of it and we are committed to embracing, following, and advancing that rich heritage.
For more information about the fascinating history of New Amsterdam, please visit the New Amsterdam History Center website: