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Peter Stuyvesant

Stuyvesant, Peter (stĪˈvəsənt) [key], c.1610–1672, Dutch director-general of New Netherland. He served as governor of Curaçao and lost a leg in an expedition against St. Martin before succeeding Willem Kieft in New Netherland. On his arrival (1647) in New Amsterdam (later New York City), he immediately informed the colonists of his autocratic intentions. He set up a board of nine men to advise him but dissolved it (1651) when they asked for redress of their grievances in a remonstrance to the Dutch government. As a result of this petition, however, Holland granted (1653) municipal government to New Amsterdam. Nevertheless, Stuyvesant continued his harsh rule and was intolerant of religious dissenters, especially Quakers. While he lost territory to Connecticut (1650), he expanded the colony by conquering New Sweden (1655). Overwhelmed by a surprise English attack, Stuyvesant surrendered New Netherland to England in 1664. He spent the rest of his life on his Manhattan farm and was buried there under his chapel, now the site of a church, St. Mark's-in-the-Bouwerie.

See E. L. Raesly, Portrait of New Netherland (1945, repr. 1965); H. H. Kessler and E. Rachlis, Peter Stuyvesant and His New York (1959).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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