I start off by talking about the most successful Patroon; Killian Van Rensselaer yet he never saw his estate in America. The further travels of the director general, Pieter Stuyvesant, he did a great job for the company but, not for the people, and finally, the takeover of the Swedish territory by the Dutch.
The choices for Director Generals over New Netherland were poor. Willem Kieft was only in the leadership position for himself and his relation with the Algonquin Indians was deplorable, created a war lasting two years. Their retaliation was devastating. I included a general history written by Author Frederick Jones covering the seven reasons the 3 nations of England, Holland and Sweden did not have an open conflict, disagreements but, no shots being fired. Now arrives Pieter Stuyvesant a better director I’m not so sure.
The Dutch had a hard time increasing their colony populations, due to a couple of factors. Reputable people were not making the trip most likely because of the patroon system and the leaders of the New Netherland. Once Wouter Van Twiller was released from duty, he was replaced with someone who created more problems especially among the Indians, William Kieft. A new nation would settle in the lands, the Swedes, headed by Peter Minuit, a Dutchman and former director general of New Netherland. So now we have the English, the Dutch and the Swedes, oh my!
The Dutch had to contend with the English claims over American territory. In one form or another, the English laid claim to everything, maybe not so much with the French. It’s unfortunate that the Dutch claims were between those of the French and the English. Add to that the Dutch thought introducing a patroon system was a wise move, and finally a few mishaps with the Indians and placing not so wise Dutch governors in charge. How were the Dutch colonies going to survive?
Many explorers had sailed down and mapped the eastern coast of America, each claiming for their sovereign nation a stretch of land. The English were complaining about the Dutch encroaching on English territory, setting up trading posts, and trading with the Indians. The Dutch organized the West India Company and through their charters, it began its side of expansion on American soil.
New colonies were springing up all over New England. The Massachusetts Bay Company needed to keep an eye open to maintain its own legitimacy and legal patients. There was always someone bending the ear of the king. If one Puritan community didn’t agree with your beliefs, one could move to a different one, this included preachers.
Gorges was trying to gain COMPLETE control of New England. His latest scheme was to relinquish the present patents desiring King Charles I to reissue a series of new charters, eight to be exact. Each to be given to eight of his patentees, hoping these would be not considered an illegal arrangement by parliament. Well, the Massachusetts colonists did not take kindly to this underhanded approach to take over their hard work and freedoms. Gorges lost his right hand man, John Mason and along with the troubles in England, he never quite secured the patents covering New England and his province called Maine.
For a time we find Gorges defying the orders of Admiral Thomas Pennington to allow French sailors to board English ships and sail off to fight for the French in a war the English captains wanted no part of. He was able to keep his head but, with a civil conflict between Royalty and the Parliament breaking out in England, his enemies made their thoughts known against him. Finally with this encounter behind him, he proceeded to lay the ground work for his realm.
There were many tied to the colonization efforts, I think none more than Captain John Smith and that of Sir Ferdinando Gorges. Through his patents acquired a substantial amount of North America land, even against the vocal discontent of the London Company. Gorges had the necessary royal pull on his side. England was not a quiet place, a war with Spain which would later involve France. Gorges helped where he could, mostly with his insight of what England must do to protect its sovereign lands, including the New World.
Christopher Levett was determined to make his mark on New England. Finally gaining a patent for 6000 acres, he turned to his friends in Yorkshire but, they didn’t have the same burning ambition that Levett embodied. Finally sailing off in 1623 after exploring and meeting with New England’s neighbors, he put his stamp near Portland harbor, a place he named York. Within the year 1624, the settlement was gone. Politics back in England such as they were, Levett never made it back to his “York”. He was one of many that further lit a torch to the beauty, the possibilities and desires to plant a seed in America.
The Plymouth colony continues to grow and prosper. Bradford would on and off for the next several years act as their governor with others filling in as elected. What became the biggest problem was the paying down on the debt incurred by shipping supplies and people from Leyden. The beaver and otter skins trade was paying down money owed. It was the purchase of two ships, the Friendship and the White Angel that upset the adventurers or investors in England. The increase was above an acceptable level. Was Isaac Allerton acting as the agent in England delivering the goods ordered for the betterment of the colony or treating his voyages as a side business? James Sherley and William Bradford let the dealings concerning Allerton side too long. But in the end the crops were plentiful and able to sell off the excess to the outlying communities and the Indians. Life in Plymouth looked pretty good
Bradford was a well respected Governor and was not allowed to retire. He and the colonists had to put up with what Weston’s group had done among the Indians and the Plymouth trouble makers John Lyford and Oldame passing letters filled with untruths back to England. Captain Standish led his group against a group of Indians who were planning to attack Weston’s group and Plymouth. Through all these mishaps the colony was progressing even though they did experience a six week drought.
With the arrival of the Fortune, more colonists were added to Plymouth and not being well prepared, more of a hindrance than anything else. Next to show up is a group of adventurers posing to establish a new colony in Virginia. An unruly bunch counters to the civilized Puritans. The Puritans had demonstrated their worth in Indian relations and their husbandry of the land. Weston’s crowd was causing trouble with Indians and a headache for those of Plymouth. The Indian interpreter, Squanto passes away and Winslow saves the life of Massasoyt.
Half of the original colonists made it through that first winter; they were still bound and determined to make a go of it. They had a valuable ally in the Indian interpreter, Tisquantum or called by Bradford, Squanto. He would introduce the colonists to their surrounding neighbors and relations were developing well. Massasoyt and many of his followers joined in with the colony’s first thanksgiving, and finally letters that were later sent home to encourage others to make the trip and join the Plymouth colony. The pilgrims had built a successful home for themselves.
After a couple more ventures to pick that final spot, construction started on the Pilgrims new home. Many of these first colonists had already passed away from the cold. It was mentioned that this was a “mild” winter, what if it had been a normal one? They were finally visited by an Indian who knew the English people and spoke their language well, enough to give them a history of why so many fields and houses had been left empty. The years 1616-1619 were an absolutely terrible time period for these Indians especially the Massachusetts. The English king looked upon this as a great opportunity for his people. So starts the Plymouth colony.
While the Mayflower sat anchored, many ventured forward searching for the perfect location to start a colony. Time was of the essence, winter was all around them and they must start building shelter or else the health and safety of many could be in jeopardy. Coasting and exploring the land of Cape Cod Bay, the brave party of men finally laid their eyes upon the land which would proof to be most advantageous for their new home.
To celebrate my 100th episode, family and friends were directed to ask me questions about history. I tried to make the answers not so serious but, then history is a serious matter. Come listen to a question and answer episode and what makes the Discovering America podcast tick.
The so-called pilgrims had to find a country where their Puritan beliefs could be practiced without persecution. The King of England had his own beliefs and his own supremacy of which must be followed and obeyed. The group made their way to the Low Countries and lived for a few years successfully. To start a new, in a new land, that would be the ultimate freedom. So starts the idea of sailing across the ocean for purpose of establishing a colony, which would be the perfect scenario. But, a land under the jurisdiction of England may not be the such a good plan, let’s try it anyway.
So I have here my own take on the life of Pocahontas, from the writings of John Smith, letters written and authors, Charles D. Warner and Williams Simms. No it is not like the movie so many have watched but, you say how could that be? I’m not going to go there. Enjoy.
After his accident, Smith returned to England, never to see Virginia again. During his down time and most likely recuperating form his injuries, he wrote and published in 1612, a descriptive book including a map about Virginia. Two years later he was ready to explorer more of the east coast of North America. He did a great job of mapping an area he would name New England, problem is nothing of great significant was found nor was the fishing enough to offset the cost of this voyage. The second voyage was a bust due to pirates or Frenchmen acting as such, that took away any possibility to further explore the coast. He could not muster enough funds to set off again and so started writing about early history to his present time and about his own experiences. A great debt is owed to Smith, who had laid the groundwork for others to follow, if they would only listen.
John Smith had so much to contend with, settlers too lazy or it was beneath them to put out any labor to construct, plant, or do whatever else the colony needed instead, sold tools, arms and others items to the Indians for corn. This couldn’t continue and neither could the mutinous men who may have been conspiring with Powhatan. And then to see what at first was thought to be enemy ships, only to find out that England had sent over more people without regard on what the colony really needed. Smith knew his commission was coming to an end but, he didn’t give up, that is, until the accident.
John Smith had to teach these “gentleman” from England what is was like to work a hard day’s labor. Work or starve that was the new motto and a necessary act if the colony was to feed itself. Presently, the provisions in the storehouse had not been properly stored. The English had no choice but to visit varies villages to force the Indians to make good on their promises to supply them with corn. It was soon evident that Powhatan had instructed his followers not to trade with them. So Smith thought it would be a good idea to surprise Powhatan and take, barter or whatever it took to get the provisions so desperately needed. That didn’t go so well and a similar experience unfolded at the Pamunkey village of Powhatan’s relative, Chief Opechancanough, where the English escaped with their lives due to Smith’s bravery and trying control in both situations. Even after such events, the English sailed home with the provisions they anticipated.
Back from one voyage, he set off within three days to finish mapping and visiting with any and all who he came in contact with on the Chesapeake Bay. Many of the Indian tribes were not on friendly terms with each other; he brought many diverse chiefs together and together worked out terms for peace. This did not always happen some just like to shoot arrows at the approaching ship. With all the flying arrows not an Englishman was lost. Once back at Jamestown, Smith is elevated to president of the council. A supply ship reaches Jamestown full of new arrivals, and yet still so much to be done.
John Smith was back at Jamestown but, like so many upstarts it needs to survive on its own. The colony still had to rely on the Indians for food. So far the relationship was congenial, to some extent. The Indians thought the world of English copper, and so what if a shovel came up missing. It’s when the stealing was blatant that Smith put his foot down and the outward challenge against him and others. After a visit from Pocahontas with a message from her father, Powhatan, peace and stolen items were returned. Since Smith was not allowed by decree and order of Newport to explore any inland areas, now was his chance to sail off on a voyage of discovery, the Chesapeake Bay.
At first Smith was only a council member and arrived on American soil in chains, this would soon change and the charges were dropped but, he was not well liked by other council members. Smith would be captured by a powerful Chief named Powhatan. He was scheduled to be executed but, was saved by a young girl named Pocahontas, whereby gaining the respect from the chief and receiving needed supplies from his followers. Soon many of the people of the colony became sick and many died. Smith regained his strength and did what was needed to supply the colony with food by trading with the Indians and start construction projects for necessary shelter and buildings to make the colony safe.
John Smith was a young boy when he began his life on the road. Although not a well taught school boy, what he experienced on the road you cannot learn from books. He grew into a strong and able fighter, some self-taught through reading and hard practicing. His survival, combat skills and others traits came from harrowing battles. This part describes his early years before the trip across the ocean.
Wishing you Happy Holidays and a Grrrrrreat New Year. Thanks for listening to the Discovering America Podcast.
The lower global attempt proved a failure in the search for the Northwest Passage. The fourth voyage carried them to the cold climate once again. Traveling west right about Iceland, some of the crew had words aimed at Hudson but, against his better judgment the little ship continued on. Ice and rocks were a problem eventually, making their way up and around the land mass and sailing as far south as the continent would allow, wintering at James Bay. In the spring, the less honorable men had a different opinion of the voyage’s goal, a parting of the crew, and the worst find of mutiny.
The ship, the Half Moon, sailed as far up the Hudson River as Waterford, New York. William and four other men rowed off to explore farther up the river to make sure there was enough depth for the ship. Well their findings were that the Half Moon had reached the furthermost point possible. Henry Hudson and the crew were visited by many Indians along their travels. Some were cordial and some were not. The third voyage was financed by the Dutch. Upon his arrival home the English were not too happy about another country exploring “their land.” So how much farther can one travel west?
Men tried to find a shorter distance to the Orient by sailing north and then head east passing above Norway. The greatest obstacle was the ice barrier, a free open sea was not to be found and what about the cold climate? So the eastern direction was out of the question. Hudson headed west after the crew told him that was a good idea. Hudson’s third voyage finds him near Virginia and adding to the discovery of the river that bears his name. So John what’s the weather like?
Nicolet became very familiar with the northwest and not just the land, but its inhabitants. First living with the Algonquins for two years on Allumette Island and then spent 8 to 9 years with the Nipissing tribe located near Lake Nipissing. With so much experience with the Indian’s language, Champlain sent him on an expedition to push father into unknown territory, something Champlain was not able to do. “Hello, my name is Jean Nicolet, how do you do?”
The coasts were becoming quite the busy place and yet France still expected to have a monopoly of the trading business with the Indians at The Three Rivers, Montréal, and Tadoussac. And what about the many ports where the fisherman hung out? The territory was immense. The conflict with France and England didn’t help matters. Here comes the English strength laying claim to New France by the commander David Kirke along with his brothers Thomas and Louis Kirke in 1629. Champlain regained command of Quebec in 1633, although on Christmas day 1635, Champlain passed away. What he left behind was invaluable, volumes of his works, maps and charts.
The company never fulfilled its part of the bargain to supply needed provisions and manpower to keep the fort and settlement strong. Relations with the fathers of the cloth seemed to be progressing. Yet, unrest among the Indian tribes had started up again, not to mention the killings that had occurred without bringing the guilty to justice and discovering why such actions had happened in the first place. Champlain dug in and with his continued commitment used what resources were available to keep the country afloat. The changing of the Viceroy probably didn’t help matters. And then the English show up laying claim to the land of New France.
Champlain was in charge but, he needed the King and his Lord Montmorency to be on his side, once and for all, to set precedence upon the old and new companies involved in the fur trade. New France also needed people who were willing to put their heart and mind into this venture, so far not so well. Champlain now has a new Indian friend, Miristou or Mahigan Aticq, which meant wolf and stag. And with the two Iroquois peace makers, things may be looking up for New France.
A major incident that could have upset the balance of New France was smoothed over with the sight and integrity of Champlain. Now if he could just get the cooperation of the traders and those in France, well he did have the support of the King and Duc de- Montmorency. His wife would now join him in Quebec. If only there was a Nordstrom here, my wife would be very happy.
This trip Champlain sails with 4 friars who start the process of building their new homes and chapels, with the intent of converting the Indians to Christianity. Champlain sets out to fulfill another promise of helping his Indian allies against the Iroquois. This time around he was late and the war party left without him. Along the way, he would visit many Indian villages cementing the friendship and trade that was so important to him. The war or minor engagement was a bust; they headed back with their tails between their legs. Champlain was forced to spend the winter of 1615-16 with the Algonquins, but he made the best of it, taking notes of their life style and customs, along with visiting many surrounding villages. If only I had a camera.
Poutrincourt was having trouble with the aristocrats in France, being forced to allow the Jesuits into his realm and trying to keep Port Royal to himself. Marquise de Guercheville had the means and the desire to save the souls of New France, take the land for herself and of course, profit from the fur trade. Champlain had connections with Count de Soissons, Charles de Bourbon and would stand behind his New France ambitions. He really wanted to witness the Northern Sea. A man by the name of Nicholas de Vignau, expressed that he had been there. So off they went, to bad Nicholas was lying.
Champlain had to make good on his promises so, he set out with the Algonquin, Huron and Montagnais Indian tribes to battle the Iroquois, the firing of the French arquebuses un-nerved the Iroquois, and the battle was soon over. Once this was behind him, he set out to lay the groundwork for another settlement, La Place Royale - Montreal. Champlain wanted to experience the unknown lands of these Indian tribes, so building a friendship with these people was important, so far so good. Does anyone know the way to San José?
De-Monts’ commission extended his monopoly of the fur trade for one more year, and so two ships were fitted out at the port of Honfleur. Pontgrave’s trading post at Tadoussac was still holding on. The Basque fur traders were trading with the Indians and were not inclined to honor his piece of paper from the king of France about the fur trade. Champlain heads down the St. Lawrence to create a most wonderful colony, Quebec. So how is the fishing here?
Poutrincourt was driven to make sure his little trading post at Port Royal would continue to flourish. Champlain was still on the look-out for that perfect location to start his new colony. He would explore again Nauset Harbor, Cape Cod Bay and a little bit beyond. His crew paid a visit to many Indians, noting their customs and living conditions, not all were friendly. Lescarbot was, may I say, along for the ride to inspire his writings. Is that Plymouth Harbor over there? Yes but, not the spot I was looking for
The fisherman of the world had been sailing across the Atlantic for years, some even trading European wares for firs with the Indians in Canada. Aymar de Chastes would beg from Henry IV a patent to colonize the New World. He formed a company with the more prominent among the merchants. Two small ships set sail one commanded by Francois Grave Du Pont and the other by Samuel de Champlain. Frenchman were again leaving their footprints on the North American continent.
Sir Walter Raleigh wanted to be a part of the colonization of the New World. He had the financial abilities to fund such a venture. And so with a patient in hand from the Queen of England, the voyages began to establish a colony on the shores of what they called Wingandacon, later called Virginia and today is actually the state of North Carolina. The settlement only lasted 10 months; the settlers were picked up by none other than Sir Francis Drake. If there was a Walmart there, we would have stayed.
The battles of Gravelines pushed the Spanish back. Francis tried to pursue the survivors but the weather changed his mind. When Phillip heard that England was cutting the dragon loose, that being Drake, he had many of his sea ports fortified, Francis would soon realize the days of plundering were behind him. In the name of the Queen, I want your gold!
The fire in the eyes of Sir Francis Drake was not dead; he knew Spain was planning to attack England, but when? The Queen wanted a defensive war well; Francis wasn’t a defensive type of guy. He wanted to destroy the Spanish armada once and for all. The fight would come to England and in the age of sails sometimes it came down to the temperament of Mother Nature. “Hold on tight mates, here comes another gale!”
Francis Drake had the abilities to have men flock to his side; they knew action was in their future. He also had the tactics to wage destruction to those who fought against him upon the high seas and had strategies to conquer coastal settlements. Francis was a thorn in the side of King Phillip; these next few assaults would only further his irritation.
While Queen Elizabeth was busy figuring out if a war with Spanish was emanate, Francis slipped away on a mission of his own. The sailors on board were told they were bound for Alexandra but, after a wrong turn, they must have realized this trip was headed for more interesting waters. Francis Drake and his ships would load up on Spanish treasures. This was not all, second on the agenda was a trip around the world. Come one come all! Who is ready for a terror trip through the Magellan straits?
England and Spain are in the middle of deciding whether to go to war or not. Drake had other plans so he slipped down to the Spanish Main to help himself to the treasures sitting in their storehouses. The ex-Spanish African slaves, the Cimarrones or Maroons as called by the sailors would go along with Drake’s schemes. Shipping was not what it used to be; now there was Drake and company. The ships dragging from the weight of their cargo arrived back at England. Only to find out that Spain had a price on his head, time to lay low. To Ireland I go. No ship was safe with Francis Drake at the helm.
This episode mixes in the history of the unsettled affairs in Europe and how a very famous pirate or should I say privateer got involved. Francis Drake is just getting his feet wet with the fight against the Spanish control of the wealth coming out of the Indies and beyond.
Winter was coming on, the temperature was dropping and many of the men were sick. Admiral Gomez on the Santo Tomas was instructed to head home with letters, journals and charts and give an account to the viceroy what they had discovered. Unfortunately that’s not all, the ship would carry home. The ship would be loaded with the sickest of men. Scurvy had taken over the ships. Later on, a storm would separate the San Diego and the Tres Reyes. The San Diego and Vizcaino’s crew would soon turn around while; the Tres Reyes would continue sailing north a little longer. All three ships made it home but, many of the sailors did not. Remind me to take along barrels of limes and apples for our next voyage.
This is a special edition of the Discovering America podcast, an interview with author Maggie Espinosa where she explains her extraordinary journey walking to 21 Spanish Missions in the Southern California region.