THE HISTORY OF THE COLONY OF NEW YORK
New Netherland was captured from the Dutch on August 27, 1664. The capture was confirmed by the Treaty of Breda in July, 1667, in exchange for the Isle of Rum in the East Indies. In March, 1665, the Duke of York was granted a Royal colony which included New Netherland and present-day Maine.The New Netherland claim included western parts of present-day Massachusetts putting the new province in conflict with the Massachusetts charter.
The York charter allowed the traditional propriety rights and imposed the fewest restrictions upon his powers. In general terms, the charter was equivalent to a conveyance of land conferring on him the right of possession, control, and government, subject only to the limitation that the government must be consistent with the laws of England. The Duke of York never visited his colony and exercised little direct control of it. He elected to administer his government through governors, councils, and other officers appointed by himself. No provision was made for an elected assembly.
In July 1673, a Dutch fleet recaptured New York and held it until it was traded to the English by the Treaty of Westminster. The second grant was obtained by the Duke of York in July 1674 to perfect his title.
The first governor Richard Nicolls was known for writing the so called "Duke's Laws" which served as the first compilation of English laws in colonial New York. The British continued the Dutch policy of welcoming dissenting Christian sects, including the Huguenot founders of New Rochelle. The Duke's Laws established a non-denominational state church. Governor Edmund Andros in 1674 said "permit all persons of what religion soever, quietly to inhabit within the precincts of your jurisdiction" The British replaced the Dutch in their alliance with the Iroquois against New France with an agreement called the Covenant Chain.
A colonial Assembly was created in October 1683. New York was the last of the English colonies to have an assembly. The assembly passed the Province of New York constitution on October 30, the first of its kind in the colonies. This constitution gave New Yorkers more rights than any other group of colonists including the protection from taxation without representation. On November 1, 1683, the government was reorganized, and the state was divided into twelve counties, each of which was subdivided into towns. Ten of those counties still exist (see above), but two (Cornwall and Dukes) were in territory purchased by the Duke of York from the Earl of Stirling, and are no longer within the territory of the State of New York, having been transferred by treaty to Massachusetts. While the number of counties has been increased to 62, the pattern still remains that a town in New York State is a subdivision of a county, similar to New England.
An act of the assembly in 1683 naturalized all those of foreign nations then in the colony professing Christianity. To encourage immigration, it also provided that foreigners professing Christianity may, after their arrival, be naturalized if they took the oath of allegiance as required.
New York became a royal province in February, 1685 when its proprietor, the Duke of York, was crowned King James II of England. James II did not approve the New York constitution and declared it void in October, 1685. The charter assembly did not meet after 1685. In May 1688 the province was made part of the Dominion of New England. In April 1689, when news arrived that King James II of England had been overthrown in the Glorious Revolution, Bostonians overthrew their government and imprisoned their governor. The province of New York rebelled in May in what is known as Leisler's Rebellion. King William's War with France began during which the French attacked Schenectady. In July, New York participated in an abortive attack on Montreal and Quebec. A new governor Henry Sloughter arrived in March 1691. He had Jacob Leisler arrested, tried, and executed.
New York's charter was re-enacted in 1691 and was the constitution of the province until the creation of the State of New York.
In the 1690s, New York City was the largest importer of the colonies of slaves and a supply port for pirates.
During Queen Anne's War with France from 1702 to 1713, the province had little involvement with the military operations, but benefited from being a supplier to the British fleet. New York militia participated in two abortive attacks on Quebec in 1709 and 1711.
Nearly 2800 Palatine German emigrants were transported to New York by Queen Anne's government in ten ships in 1710, the largest single group of immigrants before the Revolutionary War. By comparison, Manhattan then had only 6,000 people. Initially the Germans were employed in the production of naval stores along the Hudson River near Peekskill. In 1723 they were allowed to settle in the central Mohawk Valley west of Schenectady as a buffer against the Native Americans and the French. They also settled in areas such as Schoharie and Cherry Valley.
The first newspaper was started in 1725.
With its shipping and trades, New York slaveholders used skilled Africans as artisans and domestic servants. Two notable slave revolts occurred in New York City in 1712 and 1741. The numbers of slaves imported to New York increased dramatically from the 1720s through 1740s. By the 17th century, they established the African Burying Ground in Lower Manhattan, which was used through 1812. It was discovered nearly two centuries later during excavation before the construction of the Foley Square Courthouse. Historians estimated 15,000-20,000 Africans and African Americans had been buried there. Because of the extraordinary find, the government commissioned a memorial at the site, where the National Park Service has an interpretive center. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark and National Monument. Excavation and study of the remains has been described as the "most important historic urban archaeological project undertaken in the United States."
By: Armonía Hita Garrido