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New Netherland’s Slave Trade: Origins, Evolution, Impact, Significance
06:30pm to 07:30pm - November 15, 2023

Join the New Amsterdam History Center

Jaap Jacobs - Dennis Maika - Andrea Mosterman

with moderator

Lavada Nahon

November 15, 2023

at 6:30 PM
New Netherland's Slave Trade Origins, Evolution, Impact, Significance


Historians of New Netherland have recently shed new light on the colony’s enslaved people: the conditions of their enslavement, the Africans’ relationship with their enslavers, and the inner workings of the trade in slaves. This program will introduce the findings of three leading historians whose research challenges various myths and misunderstandings about New Netherland slavery. Jaap Jacobs revises the date that Blacks first arrived in the colony; Andrea Mosterman reveals conditions aboard the slave ship Gideon; Dennis Maika probes Dutch merchants’ involvement with the slave trade. And much more.

The speakers will discuss the implications of their findings for New York history, and for our contemporary debates over slavery’s legacy, guided by moderator Lavada Nahon, a prominent museum educator.

Translation of document:

Based on the foregoing conditions, the following were purchased:

Jacobus Backer – 1 Neger (male) for 550 guilders;1 Negrin (female) 305 guilders
1 Neger 315 guilders (total) 1175 guilders

Dominie Johannes Theodorus Polhemius, Colonists’ account
1 Neger for 440 guilders
Nicholas Verleth, Colonists’ account: 1 Negrin for 290 guilders;
1 Neger 395 guilders; 1 Negrin and a child 360 guilders; 1 Negrin 260 guilders(total) 1305 guilders

Johannes Verveelen
1 Neger, 445 guilders

Original Date May 29 1664; Language Dutch
Source New York State Archives. New Netherland Council. Dutch colonial council minutes, 1638-1665. Series A1809. Volume 10.


Jaap Jacobs (PhD Leiden, 1999) is an Honorary Research Fellow in History, University of St Andrews, and the 2022-2023 Dr. Ernst Crone Fellow at the National Maritime Museum Amsterdam. His publications on Dutch New York include The Colony of New Netherland: A Dutch Settlement in Seventeenth-Century America (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009) and "The First Arrival of Enslaved Africans in New Amsterdam," New York History, forthcoming August 2023. He is currently working on a biography of Petrus Stuyvesant.

Dennis J. Maika is Senior Historian at the New Netherland Institute. As a specialist on colonial New York with a Ph.D. in history from New York University, he has written numerous articles and papers and served as a consultant for a variety of local history and education projects. His recently published work on New Netherland’s slave trade grew from his on-going book project about Manhattan merchants and their city government in the Dutch and English periods of seventeenth-century New York.

Andrea Mosterman is associate professor in Atlantic History and Joseph Tregle Professor in Early American History at the University of New Orleans. Her book Spaces of Enslavement: A History of Slavery and Resistance in Dutch New York (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2021) has won the 2020 Hendricks Award for best book-length manuscript relating to New Netherland and the Dutch colonial experience. She is currently researching the voyage of the Dutch slave ship the Gideon and the seventeenth-century Dutch Atlantic slave trade with North America.

Lavada Nahon is the Interpreter of African American History for NYS OPRHP-Bureau of Historic Sites and a cultural and culinary historian focused on the 17th-19th centuries mid-Atlantic region, with an emphasis on the work of enslaved cooks in the homes of the elite class. She has 20-plus years of public history experience working with a variety of historic sites, societies, and museums across the tri-state region. Her mission is to bring history to life by giving presence to the Africans and people of African descent enslaved and free in New Netherland/New York in whatever way possible.


  • 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm : New Netherland’s Slave Trade: Origins, Evolution, Impact, Significance
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