Research


Scope and Content Note

The Curaçao records document the West India Company's activities in the Caribbean during the seventeenth century, supply information about the administration of affairs on Curaçao, and depict the commercial relationship between the islands and New Netherland. Records of the first period include instructions from the West India Company to Stuyvesant and his council detailing how Curaçao should be regulated and resolutions representing the administrative decisions of Stuyvesant and his council from January 5, 1643 to November 9, 1644.

Records of the second period relate to the management of affairs on Curaçao, particularly during Matthias Beck's tenure as vice-director, and include instructions from Stuyvesant to Beck and correspondence between Beck, Stuyvesant, and the WIC directors in Amsterdam. Also included are commercial records such as bills of lading, manifests, orders, memorandums, charters, accounts, lists of supplies requested from New Netherland, and receipts for items received. A ship's journal and related documents in the series describe a voyage during which 110 slaves perished before the journey ended in shipwreck. The ship sent to rescue survivors was itself captured by English pirates. The captors removed surviving slaves from the ship and spirited them away, never to be seen again.

Petrus Stuyvesant's name appears on many of the records, both as vice-director of Curaçao from 1642 to 1644 and director-general of New Netherland, Curaçao, Bonaire, Aruba, and their dependencies from 1647 to 1664. There is also correspondence of vice-directors of Curaçao Lucas van Rodenburgh (1644-1655) and Matthias Beck (1655-1664); Balthazar Stuyvesant (Petrus Stuyvesant's son); and Wilhelmus Valckingburgh, domine (an ordained minister of the Dutch Reformed Church) on Curaçao.

This series originally constituted volume 17 of the New York Historical Manuscripts in the New York State Library. The original records are in the Dutch language.