Dutch Notaries in New Netherland, 1626-1664

New Amsterdam New NetherlandDutch Notaries in New Netherland, 1626-1664

In Colonial America, after the Pilgrims arrived in 1620, the first notaries were in New England colonies in Connecticut and Massachusetts.  For 38 years, there were also Dutch notaries in New Netherland.

Notaries in New England followed notary laws based on English common law.  Eventually, English law spread across the country and formed the foundation for state notary laws that were written later, after the American Revolution of 1776.

Louisiana notary law is based on French lawPuerto Rico notary law is based on Spanish law.  French law and Spanish law are based on Roman law because the Romans conquered Europe and brought Roman law with them.  The Romans also brought Roman law to the Dutch.

New Amsterdam

In 1626, the Dutch West India Company established the colony of New Netherland, along the Hudson River, which remained in Dutch hands until it surrendered to the British in 1664.  New Amsterdam was the capital.  There were notaries in New Netherland, who followed Dutch-Roman law.

New York

In 1664, the British acquired the Dutch colony and it was renamed New York and the capital was renamed from New Amsterdam to New York.  The Dutch notaries were replaced with notaries who followed English law.

Some geographic names, such as Brooklyn, and some words in our vocabulary, such as boss and cookie, are from the Dutch languagePresidents Roosevelt and Van Buren were of Dutch descent.

The colors of the Dutch flag are still used for the flags of New York City and Albany, and in the colors of sports team uniforms, for the New York Mets baseball team, New York Knickerbockers basketball team, and New York Islanders hockey team.

While the Dutch notaries are long gone, Roman civil law once influenced Dutch notaries in the colony of New Netherland.

Image credit:
The Fall of New Amsterdam, artist Jean Leon Gerome Ferris [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Description: Print shows Peter Stuyvesant, in 1664, standing on shore among residents of New Amsterdam who are pleading with him not to open fire on the British who have arrived in warships waiting in the harbor to claim the territory for England. Postcard published by The Foundation Press, Inc., 1932. Reproduction of oil painting from series: The Pageant of a Nation.

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