The Story of Asser Levy

Asser Levy’s long road to Manhattan began in Vilna, his birthplace in seventeenth-century Poland. He moved to Schwelm, a town in the Ruhr Valley near Dusseldorf, probably as a result of the Cossack pogroms, and then travelled to Amsterdam, where like so many others, he learned about new opportunities in …

The Story of Manuel de Gerrit de Reus

On a cold day in January of 1641, Manuel de Gerrit de Reus climbed the ladder that would be his place of execution. Before him stood New Amsterdam’s population, ready to bear witness to the court’s ruling. Behind him stood the West India Company’s executioner, another enslaved African, who secured …

The Story of Govert Loockermans

Sailing across the Atlantic Ocean was an exciting adventure of a poor sixteen-year old boy from Turnhout, a small commercial town in what was then known as the Spanish Netherlands. Young Govert Loockermans made his way to Amsterdam, then spent two months travelling as a cook’s mate before arriving in …

The Story of New Amsterdam

The Global / Atlantic Context: To understand the origins of early New York, we must understand the culture that created it. In the seventeenth century, the Netherlands was Europe’s leading commercial power. This was the “Golden Age” of Dutch commerce and culture, when merchants from the Netherlands traded with all …