• ingewriting

The Correspondent: Under Wall Street lies a legacy of slavery. High time for a tour

Since 2009, the Netherlands has celebrated the end of slavery in the Caribbean with an annual day of remembrance. But we rarely hear about the slaves the Dutch kept in the colony that would become New York. I walked around the city to see if I could find traces of this buried past.


Originally published on 1 October 2016


The Dutch are pretty proud of founding New York. In 2009, the Netherlands and New York celebrated their 400-year history with myriad events, festivals, and parties.

Wherever possible, organizers emphasized shared values like freedom, tolerance, and equal opportunity – values the Netherlands is often given credit for coming up with.

But the story has a dark side that’s often overlooked. In the colony called New Amsterdam, the Dutch kept slaves from day one.

It’s true that slavery was banned within the borders of the Dutch Republic. But it was common practice from the beginning at the trading post of New Amsterdam, controlled by the Dutch from 1624 to 1664.

A year after the Dutch West India Company established the settlement in 1625, 11 male African slaves Read profiles of two of New Amsterdam’s first slaves. (likely from Angola and the Congo) were captured from either a Spanish or Portuguese ship and brought ashore here.


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