of New York
Senate No. 5476
Assembly No. 2708
BY: Senators Marchi,
Farley and Johnson
BY: Committee on Rules at the request of M. of A. McEneny, Silver, Canestrari, Englebright,
Morelle, Markey, Cahill, Christensen, Colman, Cook, Destito, Farrell, Glick, Gordon, Gottfried, Gromack, Gunther, Jacobs,
Lavelle, Mayersohn, McLaughlin, Millman, Ortiz, Prentiss, Schimminger, Seddio, Sidikman, Sweeney, Tonko and Townsend
MEMORIALIZING Governor George E. Pataki to recognize the official place and date of birth of the State of New York as being
Governors Island in the year 1624
• WHEREAS, At the start of the 12-year armistice (1609-1621) between the
Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands (the Dutch Republic) and Spain, Captain Henry Hudson, commissioned by the [Dutch]
East India Company and aboard the ship Halve Maen (Half Moon), arrived in the River Mauritius (Hudson River) as the first
official explorer representing the Dutch Republic; Hudson conducted New York’s first recorded commercial transaction
in 1609 which formed the basis for ongoing private commercial interests in the fur trade for that region; and
WHEREAS, Various private commercial entities from the Republic had competed for a share in the fur trade in the Hudson River
regions since 1610 and, for the purpose of obtaining a fur-trading monopoly, amalgamated into the New Netherland Company on
October 11, 1614; and
• WHEREAS, The New Netherland Company was the result of the explorations, from 1611
through 1614, of the Amsterdam explorer and private commercial fur trader, Adriaen Block; the first explorer of any country
to chart the eastern coast of what is now Marblehead Bay, north of Cape Cod, to the Hudson River, and who named it New Netherland;
• WHEREAS, Upon the end of the armistice and the creation of the [Dutch] West India Company in 1621, the
Dutch Republic sought to effectuate a cultural transplantation on the North American continent by way of an eighth province
for the purpose of imposing its sovereignty onto the territory, now extending south to the Delaware Bay, through the delegated
authority of the West India Company; and
• WHEREAS, The West India Company recalled all private commercial
parties operating in the New Netherland territory in 1622 and 1623 and invalidated all private commercial interests, thus
voiding the law of the ship as only legal recourse in the region; and
• WHEREAS, The Dutch Republic officially
established its institutional, administrative and cultural infrastructure onto the New Netherland territory by planting its
first colony of thirty families on Noten Eylant in 1624 (renamed Governors Island in 1784); these colonists had disembarked
on Governors Island in the summer of 1624 from the ship named “New Netherland” under the command of Cornelis Jacobszoon
May (as in Cape May in New Jersey); and
• WHEREAS, In June, 1625, forty-five more colonists disembarked on
Governors Island from three ships named Horse, Cow and Sheep which also delivered 103 horses, steers and cows, in addition
to numerous pigs and sheep - thus successfully completing the Republic’s first planting of a colony in 1624, and extrapolating
the Republic’s culture, its 1579 Constitution and legal-political guaranty of tolerance onto the North American continent;
now, therefore, be it
• RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to memorialize Governor
George E. Pataki to recognize the official place and date of birth of the State of New York as being Governors Island in the
year 1624, continuing a heritage from Dutch settlers which will endure even as New York City contemplates possible new uses
for the island, such as facilities for The City University of New York; and be it further
• RESOLVED, That
the New Netherland infrastructure formed the foundation for New York’s continuing development and that the cultural
imprint of the New Netherland community, upon relinquishing political control to the English in 1674, had a profound and enduring
impact on New York’s unique cultural heritage; and be it further
• RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution,
suitably engrossed, be transmitted to George E. Pataki, Governor of the State of New York.
ADOPTED IN SENATE ON
May 14, 2002
John J. Marchi
By order of the Senate,
Steven M. Boggess, Secretary
IN ASSEMBLY ON
May 30, 2002
John J. McEneny
By order of the Assembly,
Karen L. McCann, Acting
THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2001
MAKE GOVERNORS ISLAND A BEACON OF HISTORY
Island: a place where New York began
By Joep de Koning
New York has a golden opportunity to turn Governors
Island into a unique historic park provided that the State Legislature seizes the moment.
Last week, it was reported
that the Justice Department had prepared a memo recommending that the federal government sell the former military base for
$300 million. Before President Bill Clinton left office, he signed a proclamation designating two sites on the island
– Castle Williams and Fort Jay – as federal monuments and giving the National Park Service three years to come
up with a plan for the rest of the island. In fact, he offered the island to the state for a dollar if New York State and
New York City could agree on its future development. Now the fate of the island is in doubt.
Today, few people
know about the important role Governors Island played in early American history, when in 1624 four shiploads of settlers and
cattle from the Netherlands landed there. That was the birth of New York State.
The legal, institutional and administrative
infrastructure the Dutch colonists and their successors planted on Noten Island, as it was called then, became the imprint
on which our diverse nation was built and the growth of a just and civil society became possible. Their blueprint was responsible
for New York’s extraordinary ongoing development and for today’s immigrant culture.
It is in keeping
with that spirit that we have proposed to build Historic New Amsterdam on a third of Governors Island. Along the lines of
Colonial Williamsburg, it would popularly recognize this historically significant American period for all Americans to embrace
and enjoy. We have been trying to persuade the New York Senate and Assembly to commit New York to the Historic New Amsterdam
vision, provided it receives the island from the federal government for one dollar.
Earlier this year, we appealed
to two legislative leaders to sponsor a bipartisan bill. But sponsorship is still wanting. A rare historical opportunity is
slipping a way into a political quagmire. Historic New Amsterdam on Governors Island can be a self-sustaining historical national
monument for young families and create great tourism value for New York. It can serve as a symbol of importance to the nation
within a National Heritage Triangle, comprising Governors Island, Liberty Island and Ellis Island or, if you like, tolerance,
freedom and welcome.
It can only be saved through the willingness of particular individuals in differing political
jurisdictions to embrace their common American heritage and to communicate. If New Yorkers and their elected officials were
to care, the Congress would care too, and future New Yorkers would be the richer for it.
Let’s look at some
aspects of this vital legacy. A 1657 New Netherland document preserved in the Queens Historical Society stated that “the
law of love, peace and liberty” also extends to “Jews, Muslims and Gypsies” in New Amsterdam (New York City).
This sentence sums up why the strength of legally protected diversity in New Amsterdam served as an enduring example to the
development of the nation; why New York became the preferred entry point for millions of immigrants.
today that various provisions of the Constitution were rooted in New York’s earliest beginnings and that some inalienable
birthrights, such as the First Amendment, were already affording legal protection to New York’s early 17th-century burghers
– well before the Constitution’s ratification in 1791?
Freedom has no meaning in an intolerant society.
Tolerance, therefore, precedes liberty and is New York’s unique gift to the nation. This legacy will be represented
by our proposed, not-for-profit commemorative park, Historic New Amsterdam, which would follow New Amsterdam’s original
street plan for lower Manhattan.
If the state doesn’t act soon, especially in light of the Justice Department’s
interpretation, then New Yorkers, if not all Americans, will lose a great opportunity to restore America’s 17th-century
patrimony and make our distinctive history come alive.
Let the lesson of tolerance that formed the basis for the
city’s enlightened culture of inclusion and diversity take root in Historic New Amsterdam and bloom on Governors Island.
To sign petition
GOVERNORS ISLAND'S LEGACY, Brief History
Historical facts support 1624 as the year of birth of New
York State and the year in which the New York Tri-State region (named New Netherland as of 1614) ceased to
be a territory for private traders under patents issued by the States General (i.e., the Parliament of the Dutch Republic)
and where only the law of the ship had sufficed in matters of justice (Legislative Resolutions No. 5476 and No. 2708.)
The year 1624 was the year in which the territory was transformed to a juridical entity
by specifically delivering the laws and ordinances of the Dutch Republic to North American soil. As of that year, the territory
was administered as a provincial extension of the Dutch Republic under the sovereignty of the States General by way of the
delegated authority of the West Indian Company.
These laws and ordinances were delivered by the first settlers to GovIsland - NYS
birthplace - and were responsible for the jurisprudence and culture of toleration as the basis for ethnic diversity and for
the tradition of inclusiveness in the region. This distinctive regional personality and ethos of tolerance is still the identity
of what is now referred to as the New York Tri-State region.
At the time, the principle of tolerance was unique to the New Netherland
region when compared to its adjoining regions on the east coast of North America. These three regions - Virginia, New Netherland
and New England - metamorphosed ultimately into the Original Thirteen.
The vibrant precept of tolerance - together with
its complementary, fraternal twin liberty - thus became the foundation of what now denotes the conception of American freedom.
It is America's ultimate virtue of tolerance which therefore is responsible for dynamically defining and defending American
The following year, in
1625, NY City was birthed by the deliberate decision of the New Netherland governing council - seated [in
a fort] on Governors Island - which selected Manhattan Island as the permanent, principal place of settlement as well as for
the construction of Fort Amsterdam as capitol of New Netherland. Cryn Fredericxsz - surveyor and fortification engineer -
had disembarked on Governors Island in 1625 with specific instructions to build the fort that was to be named "Amsterdam."
In addition, he was to build the civic houses necessary for the settlers and to lay out the farms outside of Fort Amsterdam
in which and around of which they commenced to settle in 1625. That village named New Amsterdam as capital of New Netherland
grew subsequently into a town and city with its own municipal rights in 1653.
Hence, the year 1625 was
the year in which Fort Amsterdam and the village of New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island came into being. The name was
[provisionally] changed in June 1665 to the City of New York upon re-incorporation under English occupation.
Yet, the town's original
1625 personality never changed materially - not with the granting of municipal rights in 1653; not during unlawful and provisional
possession of New Netherland by the English from 1664 to 1672; not upon definitive transfer to English sovereignty in 1674;
and not upon realizing the Original Thirteen as an independent republic in 1776.
This can still be observed today.
All Rights Reserved
The Tolerance Park Foundation
Tolerance Park on Governors Island
Composing the National Heritage Triangle of America's fundamental values
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