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Beverwijck: A Dutch Village on the American Frontier, 1652-1664 Paperback – September 25, 2003


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Frequently Bought Together

Beverwijck: A Dutch Village on the American Frontier, 1652-1664 + Mohawk Frontier: The Dutch Community of Schenectady, New York, 1661-1710 (Excelsior Editions) + The Colony of New Netherland: A Dutch Settlement in Seventeenth-Century America (Cornell Paperbacks)
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Beverwijck explores the rich history and Dutch heritage of one of North America's oldest cities—Albany, New York. Drawing on documents translated from the colonial Dutch as well as maps, architectural drawings, and English-language sources, Janny Venema paints a lively picture of everyday life in colonial America.

In 1652, Petrus Stuyvesant, director general of New Netherland, established a court at Fort Orange, on the west side of New York State's upper Hudson River. The area within three thousand feet of the fort became the village of Beverwijck. From the time of its establishment until 1664, when the English conquered New Netherland and changed the name of the settlement to Albany, Beverwijck underwent rapid development as newly wealthy traders, craftsmen, and other workers built houses, roads, bridges, and a school, as well as a number of inns. A well-organized system of poor relief also helped less wealthy settlers survive in the harsh colonial conditions. Venema's careful research shows that although Beverwijck resembled villages in the Dutch Republic in many ways, it quickly took on features of the new, "American" society that was already coming into being. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

Beverwijck explores the rich history and Dutch heritage of one of North America's oldest cities-Albany, New York. Drawing on documents translated from the colonial Dutch as well as maps, architectural drawings, and English-language sources, Janny Venema paints a lively picture of everyday life in colonial America. In 1652, Petrus Stuyvesant, director general of New Netherland, established a court at Fort Orange, on the west side of New York State's upper Hudson River. The area within three thousand feet of the fort became the village of Beverwijck. From the time of its establishment until 1664, when the English conquered New Netherland and changed the name of the settlement to Albany, Beverwijck underwent rapid development as newly wealthy traders, craftsmen, and other workers built houses, roads, bridges, and a school, as well as a number of inns. A well-organized system of poor relief also helped less wealthy settlers survive in the harsh colonial conditions. Venema's careful research shows that although Beverwijck resembled villages in the Dutch Republic in many ways, it quickly took on features of the new, "American" society that was already coming into being. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (September 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791460800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791460801
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,198,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
70%
4 star
10%
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20%
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See all 10 customer reviews
Her research is deep, her writing clear, and her findings valuable.
Gail Stuart Rowe
It's a very good example of total-history, very interesting to get a good view of life in that age, but not something you would pleasantly read.
M. Buisman
I now have a better understanding of what it was like in the early years of New Netherlands and Albany.
Carol Springsteen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Rocco Dormarunno on April 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
Finally, a look at the other 17th century Dutch city on the Hudson. With the recent glut of books on the history of New York City (which, personally, I can't get enough of), it is refreshing to take a break and read about the history of the state's capitol, Albany--Beverwijck, as it was known way back when. In Janny Venema's "Beverwijck: A Dutch Village on the American Frontier, 1652-1664", Albany's Dutch years are finally given their just due. Venema's extensive research is evident in just about every paragraph, and is conveyed in a way that most historians strive: fluidly, logically, and at a modest pace. This 500+ page book reads remarkably quickly, much to the author's credit.
Many of the issues and personalities that shaped the development of New Amsterdam are echoed here: skirmishes with the natives; desperate moments when it seemed the place would implode; the ubiquitous Peter Stuyvesant; struggles with vice, etc. But what I found surprising is Venema's theme that Beverwijck was just as tolerant of races, just as much a springboard of modern America's ethics as was New Amesterdam. The Brooklyn guy inside me bristled at first, but the evidence is overwhelming.
I hope others will pick up this study, as it provides an indispensible look at a time and place that has been unnecessarily overlooked.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By M. Buisman on April 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is the definite book on the colony of Beverwijck, which would later become Albany in New York State. Veneme pays great detail to pretty much all the aspects of life in this frontier town. The dress, indian relations, healthcare, poor care, trade, important people. It gives a very good insight into how life was lived in the 17th century in both Holland and New Netherlands.
the detail and conciseness is also what is the matter with this book. It's good to use as reference and to look for things mentioned before, but because of the many details it is not always easy to get an overall view. The research done was great (it's a dissertation) but makes it at times unreadable. There are for example over 120 pages of notes in the back of the book.
It's a very good example of total-history, very interesting to get a good view of life in that age, but not something you would pleasantly read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sylvia Hawley on August 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I did not keep this book but took it to a highly eclectic bookseller. Not that I didn't like it but that I just needed to sell some books one month. He said, "This is arcane!!" I said, "I think it is her PhD thesis." There's my review since I am not a Dutch speaker or scholar but just someone who fell in love with the story because of Russell Shorto's account, "Island at the Center of the Earth." I'd say this is a worthy read for anyone who lives in or loves Albany, NY and wants to know its foundational history. The quick version is that the Dutch needed money to fight with Spain and beaver furs and pelts were worth a fortune and where Albany is, the Dutch erected Fort Orange and traded for beaver nearly to extinction. The "new world" was the resource after the population in Russia had been decimated by the same activity. As "Beaver Village" developed, many principles of government came into use that expressed Iroquois values as well as ideas from the Netherlands, which was forced toward democracy by its combination of water emergencies and regional independence. Those elements really became the paradigm we live with now as our ideal. Now I say this without being a perfect scholar of the matter, just a dabbler, so someone else may correct me and I won't take offense. This is what makes so compelling reading the Dutch adventures into what we now call New York State (because the British vanquished the Dutch and named it all after the Duke of York). Still, it was never a frontier suited for imperial governance and the British, we know, didn't keep it long. Janny Venema is a fine scholar and whether this work is arcane or for your coffee table maybe depends on where you live and what intrigues you personally. Without question, it is a finely detailed and thoroughly presented accounting of how things were in the middle 1600s. ps, my eclectic bookseller bought it. In Oregon.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gail Stuart Rowe on July 4, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Janny Venema gives her readers a close and rewarding look at Dutch life in early America. Her description of Beverwijck's founding and development offers important glimpses of that village's social, economic, political, and religious life. Her research is deep, her writing clear, and her findings valuable. This is among the very best of early American town studies.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bill Moore on July 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book contains a huge amount of information concerning the Dutch villages that preceeded Albany, NY. Unfortunately, the author repeats the same information several times in different chapters making the reading a bit confusing. Additionally, the heavy use of Dutch words requires a lot of reference to the glossary.

This is a good resource, but definitely not a casual read.
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