While looking for the Northwest Passage for the Dutch East India Company in 1609, Henry Hudson sailed into New York Harbor and up into upstate New York on the river that now bears his name. Claiming the land for the Netherlands, the Dutch soon began colonizing Long Island, Manhattan, and the Hudson River Valley. Although the Dutch surrendered their colony to the English in 1664, many of their cultural traditions, architecture, and customs persist in the New York State today.
Students have the opportunity to research early New York’s Dutch history and write about the Dutch roots of three American cultural traditions:
- Religious tolerance
- Freedom of speech
- New York as a center of world trade
Students must conduct original research and use their findings to develop their essay. Students should interpret their findings and draw their own conclusions about the Dutch influence on New York State over the past 400 years.
Fourth and fifth grade students are asked to write an essay based on this topic: “Choose a person from the colony of New Netherland and describe how and why his/her actions have helped make our country a better place today.”
Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students are asked to write an essay based on this topic: “Discuss why early settlements in New Netherland were a success, and how they contributed to our current way of life”
Ninth through twelfth grade students are asked to write an essay based on this topic: “Choose one of the three Dutch traditions – religious tolerance, freedom of speech, or New York as a center of world trade – and discuss how it has impacted our American society from colonial times to the present. Pay particular attention to the tradition’s change over the last four centuries and how it has been adapted to fit the fabric of our nation today.”
Questions? Please contact the Office of Statewide Programs at 607-547-1534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.