". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

On This Day in 1664 New Amsterdam Became New York

It's a summer of significant historical observations.  Today it's Nieuw Amsterdam becoming New York.

It's one of the many fascinating things about living in New City and New York state that the underlying Dutch culture has persisted.

 Peter Stuyvesant Surrenders Niew Amsterdam to the English.
He Wasn't Happy About It.

Not to mention many a legal fundamental, with documents created and executed during the regime of the Dutch, such as land titles (to land stolen from the Natives, of course), wills and many other material and financial property instruments.  We have entire legal libraries filled with these documents here in the city and in Albany.

This provides employment for the qualified.  There are services here that can translate these old Dutch language instruments and docs into English.

Perhaps the most significant contribution the original European settlers of this part of the world is their tolerance of diversity in languages, religions and, most of all, ways of making money.  Nieuw Amsterdam or New York -- this place was never about anything else except making money.  Which explains, of course, why NYC was the center of the New World's overseas slave trading in terms of financing ships, insuring them and so on, for the Caribbean and Brasilian trade.  They dominated in the decades post the War of 1812.  This, despite Rhode Island, who began earlier, started ahead of NYC in the trade, and always Boston was jockeying to seize the number one position for itself.

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