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Subject Date   Significance Comment  
  List of Colonial governors of New York   {short description of image}

This comprehensive list clarifies confusion generated by differences between information in various references -including different Wilipedia entries. Will include the main dates for governors here.

  Dutch East India Company - Dutch West India Company   {short description of image}

The Dutch were dominating the seas by the early 1699's and establishing trading posts - forts - in south Asia. They decided to do likewise in America.

  Hudson, Henry 1565 - 1611 {short description of image}

After several unsuccessful voyages for England searching a northern route to China, he ws hired by the Dutch to do he same, but when he was turned back at NovaZembla by ice, he turned around and coasted America from Maine to Virginia. Then he found and entered the harbor of what became the Hudson River on which he sailed as far north and present Albany.

He claimed the land around the Hudson River for the States-General of Holland.

  New Amsterdam - Manhattan 1613 - 1664 {short description of image}

The Dutch established a trading post, first on Governors island, and then on Manhattan Island, which they named New Amsterdam. They explored the coast and islands as far northeast as Boston and Block Island, named for Captain Adriaen Block, and as far south as the Delaware River (1611 - 1614.

  Grant to Dutch West India Company out of Amsterdam 1614 - grant in 1621  

The Estates General chartered Amsterdam merchants to establish control of the Dutch claim in America - province of New Netherland between latitude 40 and 45 degrees north. The area included lands claimed by the English to the north and south. The full extent of the Dutch claim (of course disputed) included parts of our New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware, Rhode island and Pennsylvania - from Delmarva Penn. to Cape Cod.. They sent colonists from Germany and Wallonia as well as Holland.

  Fort Orange - 'Albany' 1615 {short description of image}

The Dutch established a trading post on the river near present day Albany. The post was named after the House of Orange.

They were wise to make a treaty of friendship with the powerful Iroquois and were content to trade and not colonize the Mohawk valley.

  Dutch West India Company 1621 - 1643 {short description of image}

The Estates General split overseas control into the West and East India Companies for better administration. These were private companies owned by groups of wealthy merchants. Each was a regional monopoly and able to become very wealthy. And the West company also had monopoly over the Atlantic coast of Africa and well as America from far north to Straits of Magellan. It even had its own fleet of 32 warships as well as merchant ships.

Both companies had full power to govern as well as trade.

  May, Cornelius Jacobsen, van Hoern, Captain 1600's {short description of image}

He first sailed in 1614 - 1620 to America. He first explored the Delaware River area and built Fort Nassau on the North River in 1621. There was much competition and argument over rights to trade around the Delaware.
In 1624 he was commissioned for a new effort - this time further north. The "New Netherland" ship was specially built for trade to New Netherland and on its first voyage took 110 men, women and children to America. He made two trips bringing settlers and then was assigned to remain and become the Governor (1624 - 25). They landed at Castle Island in May and quickly spread out from near Delaware Bay to Connecticut and north to Fort Orange. The company directors were delighted when the first returning ship brought a great wealth in fur. The French attempted to set up a coloney near the Delaware, so Captain May built Fort Nassau at the mouth of Timber Creek below Camden. .

This group of 30 families was far better provisioned with everything needed to establish a colony than were either English groups at Virginia and New England. Cape May, New Jersey is named for Captain May.

  Verhulst, Willem 1600's {short description of image}

Verhulst replaced May as governor - 1625 - 26. The company sent more and more colonists equipped with full supplies and equipment. He selected lower Manhatan Island as the location for the Dutch headquarters and named it New Amsterdam. (Fort Amsterdam) He was not popular with the colonists so was recalled.

  Minuit, Peter 1580 - 1638
{short description of image}

He was a Waloon but born in Germany. He joined the Dutch West India Company in the 1620's. He then replaced Verhult as governor (1626 - 1631). He 'bought' Manhattan island from local Indians (one claim is it cost $20 dollars - another that it was a bit over $1,000). Actually Minuit was the on-site agent for the Dutch ' owner' Kilian van Rensselaerswyck. And he made this the capital and headquarters for all Dutch activity. He built a fort on the island south tip - the Battery. He was recalled to Holland but then returned to Germany. From there he also founded the Swedish colony in 1638 at New Sweden on the Delaware near present day Willmington and built Fort Christina..

The Wikipedia entry devotes a lot of space to alternte calculations by various experts as to the value of the sale price would be in dollars today. Actually the trade was in goods from the Dutch worth then 60 guilders and the Indians didn't think of this as a 'sale'.

  Krol, Sebastiaen Jansen - Temporary mistake 1595 - 1674 {short description of image}

The local Dutch leader at Fort Orange made a huge mistake (typical actually) when he let the Mohican Indians to talk him into supporting them in war with the Mohawks. The latter were one of the five Iroquois league who soon made quick work of the incident. Minuit had to order most of Dutch to abandon Orange and shelter at New Amsterdam. Krol was briefly Director General

Minuit recognized the threat Iroquois enmity would cause the beaver trade.

  'patroon system.'  1629  

The company, in order to speed up colonization. divided the lands along the Hudson River and toward Delaware and Connecticut into large estate holdings and offered these to Company members who would bring 50 or more persons to occupy his holding and establish farms. These were 'feudal' type land domains. Naturally the leading merchant families in Holland bought large areas to become the 'patroon' before the law was published. Also interesting is that these 'patroons' were required to 'buy' their land from the local Indians.

The wealthy 'patroon' families remained politically powerful in New York through the Revolution.

  Twiller, Wouter van 1606 - 1654 {short description of image}

Minuit was recalled in 1632 alegedly for favoring some patroons and Van Twiller was sent the next year. He was director general from 1633 to 1638. He was unable to push the English out of Connecticut but did manage to expell them from the Delaware valley. He amassed a private fortune from trade.

Washingron Irving made fun of van Twiller

  Kieft, William 1597 - 1647 {short description of image}

Kieft became governor and soon caused much trouble. He drove the English out of Long Island and from around the Delaware. But he attacked the Mohawks which created the disasterous Kieft's War.

  Minuit again 1638  

This year Peter Minuit sought revenge by bringing a body of Finns and Swedes to Delaware Bay, bought land from the local Indians, and built Fort Christiana not far from present day Philadelphia.

  Kieft's War 1643-45  {short description of image}

Kieft launched a surprise attack on the Mohawk village (modern Hoboken) killing everyone he could find (most of them). The Indians retaliated of course and the war lasted 2 years. It was in this war that Anne Hutchinson's family, recently moved from Rhode Island were massacred. Kieft was blamed and removed in 1646 but drowned on the way to Holland.

  Stuvyesant, Peter 1612 - 1672 {short description of image}

He was Governor from 1647 to 1664. He was a soldier who had already lost a leg. He ruled with military discipline. He promoted trade by ending the Dutch monopoly and invited settlers from all sources. He repaired relations with the Indian nations. He settled (reluctantly) the territory dispute with New England. Then turned to oust the Swedes from the Delaware by building a Fort Castle (New Castle, now). The Swedes captured it.

After he was forced to surrender New Netheland to the English he became governor of Curacao.

  Stuvyesant captures Fort Castle 1655 {short description of image}

Stuvysant led a strong force to retake Fort Castle and also capture Fort Christiana. Thus ended Swedish coloniztion, but the Swedes there remained under Dutch government.

  Richard Nicolls - English take New Amsterdam - then renamed New York 1624 -1672 {short description of image}

In the Second Anglo-Dutch war the English King Charles II gave his brother, James, Duke of York all of New Netherland to seize from the Dutch, which Nicolls did with four ships of the line and 450 soldiers. He was named Deputy-Governor (1664 - 1668) and Fort Orange became Albany.

Population of New Netherland then about 1500.

  Lovelace, Francis, Colonel 1621 -1675 {short description of image}

(Governor 1668 -1673) Lovelace was born in Kent. His family fought for King Charles I in the Civil War. He fled to Virginia in 1650. He was sent by governor Berkeley to Charles II. During the continuing conflict he was captured and put in the Tower until Charles II regined the throne. When Nicolls resigned in 1668 and was replaced by Francis Lovelace as appointed by the Duke of York. He purchased Staten Island from the Indians.

  Third Anglo-Dutch War 1672- 74 {short description of image}

The Dutch sent a fleet of 23 ships and soldiers who recaptured New York. Lovelace being in Connecticut, the garrison was commanded by Colonel Manning, who was forced to surrender on 9 August 1673. He was blamed for the loss - even temporary - and put in the Tower in 1675. He lost all his property.

  Colve, Anthony 1673 {short description of image}

He was the new Dutch governor, but not for long. (1673 - 1674)

He was a naval captain who commanded the Dutch fleet at New York

  Treaty and new patent 1674  

By the treaty of Westminster ending the war, the Dutch holding in New Netherland and all was returned to the Engish. This required a new patent delineating the province boundaries.

  Andros, Sir Edmund 1637 -1714 {short description of image}

Governor, (1674 - 1683) Sir Edmund, an able soldier, was the new English governor of several colonies that were separate but had the same governor. Unfortunately he became a tyrant. He was removed.

  Brockholls, Anthony c, 1665 {short description of image}

He was the military commander in chief and acting Governor (1681 - 1683)

  Dongan,Thomas, Colonel 1634 - 1715 {short description of image}

Governor 1683 - 1688) He was a Catholic soldier who became governor and ruled more wisely. On 17 October he conviened the first session of a new General Assembly of the Province of New York. The legislature then passed 14 acts which the governor signed.
The main one was the "Charter of Liberties and Privileges granted by His Royal Highness to the Inhabitants of New York and its Dependencies".

The act is an historic document that established many freedoms and even put limits on levying taxes and gave the right to vote to all freeholdeers and freemen.

  James II, King 1685 {short description of image}

James, Duke of York, became King James II of England and revoked the provisions of the Charter. Dongan was deposed and Andros reappointed governor

  Nicholson, Francis 1655 -1728 {short description of image}

(Governor 1688 - 91) military governor

  Leisler, Jacob 1640 -1691 {short description of image}

He was a rebel who claimed to be governor. Leisler's Rebellion

  William and Mary 1689 {short description of image}

James did not last long. In the 'Gorious Revolution', he was deposed and fled while Dutch William and his English wife Mary were invited to become joint monarchs. Andros was thrown out and sent to England. New York was governed by a group. Jacob Leistler assumed control.

  Sloughter, Henry d. 1691 {short description of image}

He was appointed governor but until he arrived Major Ingoldsby acted as his agent and demandeed Leisler surrender, which was refused until Sloughter himself arrived. Leisler, Milborne and six others were tried and found guilty of treason. Sloughter refused to execute them but local enemies managed to hang them anyway. Two months later Sloughter died.

He was also Governor of Massachusets.

  Ingoldesby, Richard d. 1719 {short description of image}

He was Lt. Governor of both New York and New Jersey 1691-92

  Fletcher, Benjamin,. Colonel 1640 - 1703 {short description of image}

He was governor 1692 - 1697 - During his administration New York became a haven of pirates as the port was in competition with Philadelphia and Boston.

  Coote, Richard, 1st Earl of Bellomont 1636 - 1701 {short description of image}

He was born in Ireland and was a supporter of William and Mary ascending to the British throne. He proved to be an effective and well-liked governo (1698 - 1701).

During his administration William Kidd became a famous pirate.In 1701 he foolishly sailed into Boston harbor whereupon Governor Bellomont sent him to be executed in England

  Nanfan, John 1688 - 1702 {short description of image}

He was acting governor (1701 - 1702)

  Hyde, Sir Edward 1701 - 1708 {short description of image}

He was the 3rd Earl of Clarendon. He was also known as Lord Cornbury. He gained royal recognition when he defected with his army from James to support William and Mary. He became governor (1702 - 08) on the death of his predecessor. He was another tyrant and greedy fellow, probably appointed because he was the uncle of Queen Anne. But she recalled him in 1708 whereupon his creditors put him in debtor's prison. When his father died he became Lord Cornbury, thus escaping incarceration as a Peer.

  Lovelace, Lord, 4th Baron Lovelace 1672 - 1709 {short description of image}

He served as governor from 1708 until he died in 1709.

  Schuyler, Pieter 1657 - 1724 {short description of image}

He was acting governor and also first Mayor of Albany, New York

Note the Dutch name. The paltroons were still prominent land holders in the Hudson River Valley.

  Ingoldesby, Richard d. 1719 {short description of image}

He was an army officer, Lt. Governor of New York and New Jersey and again acting governor of New York in 1709.

  Beekman, Gerardus 1653 - 1723 {short description of image}

He was acting governor 1709 - 1710

  Hunter, Robert 1664 - 1734 {short description of image}

He was an army officer, and governor of New York and New Jersey from 1710 to 1719.

  Schuyler, Pieter 1657 - 1724 {short description of image}

He was again acting governor 1719 -1720

  Burnet, William 1687 -1729 {short description of image}

He was governor (1720 - 1727) of New York and New Jersey until shifted to be governor of Massachusetts and New Hampshire

  Bradford, William 1725 {short description of image}

He established the first news paper in the colony, having first set up a printing press in 1693.

  Montgomerie, John d. 1731 {short description of image}

He was an army colonel who became governor of New York and New Jersey (1728 - 1731). He also died in office.

  Van Dam, Rip 1660 -1749 {short description of image}

Acting governor (1731 - 32)

  Cosby, William, 1690 -1736 {short description of image}

Governor 1732 - 36. He was an Irish brigadier general who soon became in conflict with Van Dam over pay for the latter. They battled in the competing public newspapers. In his New York Weekly Journal John Peter Zenger attacked Cosby who arrested him and charged him with libel. Zenger's defense advocate was Andrew Hamilton. The jury voted 'not guilty'

This is the famous trial that claimed freedom of the press.

  Clarke, George 1676 -1760 {short description of image}

He was acting governor 1736 -1743. During his tenure the famous 'Negro Plot' (1740 -41) occurred. A large fire broke out in the city and without any evidence Negro slaves were blamed. A number were hanged, others burned at the stake, and many more transported to the West Indies.

  Clinton, George 1686 - 1761 {short description of image}

He joined the Royal navy in 1703 during the War of the Spanish Succession. He was the governor of Newfoundland and then Commander of the Royal fleet in the Mediteranian. He was Governor 1743 - 1753 during which service he had to cope with attacks of the French fleet during King George's War. He was promoted full admiral in 1747. He was continually opposed by the liberal colonial legislature led by James DeLacy who wanted to continue profitable trade with the French. So he appointed Colden to be his advisor and appointed Sir William Johnson to obtain the Mohawk Indians to be allies against the French.

The Wikipedia entry includes the names and dates of each ship he commanded as he rose throgh the ranks. He was the father of Sir Henry Clinton who commanded British forces during the Revolutionary War.
But among his cousins were the Clintons who were politicians and generals on the American side.

  Osborn, Sir Danvers 1715 - 1753 {short description of image}

He was the 3rd Baronet Osborn, succeding his grandfather. His parents on both sides were of distinished families, as was his wife. He raised and commanded troops in 1745 in support of King George II against the Stuarts. In 1753 the Board of Trade recommended him to be Governor of New York. He arrived in New York as was popular as Governor in 1753 but suddenly died of strangulation that was presumed to be suicide.

  De Lancy, James 1703 - 1760 {short description of image}

He was born in New York. He was educated in England - at Cambridge and admitted to the bar in 1725. In 1729 he became a member of the Assembly and in 1731 a justice of the Supreme Court. In 1735 he presided at the trial of Peter Zenger. In 1754 he presided at the Albany Conference called in an effort to unite the colonies in defence against the French and Indians in the war. He was the Lt. Governor who then was acting Governor on the death of Danvers Osborn. -1755 In July he attended the conference of governors in Virginia that helped prepare General Braddock's fated expedition.

  Hardy, Charles 1714 - 1780 {short description of image}

His father was a vice admiral, Charles entered the navy in 1731. In 1745 he commanded the fleet from Gibralter to Louisbourg. He was knighted in 1755. He was Governor of New York - 1755 - 1758. But again returned to naval command. he led the British navy against Louisbourg in 1757 and was 2nd in command in 1758. He supported Wolfe's campaign on the St. Lawrence River. In1779 as full admiral he commanded the Channel Fleet until his death in 1780.

His brother, Josiah, was Governor of New Jersey 1761-63

  De Lancy, James 1703 - 1760 {short description of image}

He was again acting governor 1758 - 1760, because Sir Charles Hardy was commanding the expedition against Louisbourg and then with Wolfe on the St. Lawrence River. He died in office.

  Colden, Cadwallader 1688 - 1776 {short description of image}

He was born in Ireland of Scotish parents. He studies medicine and various sciences in London. In 1710 he was invited to move to Philidelphia and in 1717 Robert Hunter invited him to move to New York, where he continued to practice medicine while also entering political life. He was acting governor 1760 -1762 - again 63-65 - again 69-70 - and 74-75. He met with the Iriquois and wrote the book about them. He was a strong loyalist and at one time was met by a mob protesting his support for the Stamp Act.

As a acientist he published study of public health and botany and as a surveyor he correspondee with Benjamin Franklin and published his views correcting Issac Newton.

  Monckton, Robert 1726 -1782 {short description of image}

He entered military service at age 15 in 1741 in the 3rd Regiment of Foot Guards. He fought in Flanders in the War of the Austrian Succession and rose to be Lt.Col in 1752. He moved to command in Nova Scotia and then to staff in Halifax. In 1755 he captured Fort Beausejour in Nova Scotia area. He was then assigned to supervise the relocation of the Acadians and then he was named Lt. Governor of Nova Scotia. In 1759 he was one of the three brigade commanders and 2nd in Command to the Army commanded by James Wolfe that captured Quebec. Although severly wounded in the battle, he remained for a month as commander of the city, then was sent to New York for recovery. He was promoted major general in 1761 and in charge of organizing the British frontier taking over the French forts. In 1762 he commanded the British campaign that captured Martinique. This was a tremendous, if little understood on our text books, strategic victory. The French were eager at the peace conference to give away all of Canada in exchange for return of Martinique (their rich sugar industry). He was appointed Governor of New York 1762 - 1763

He was wounded at Quebec and is shown in the famous painting of the Death of Wolfe, holding his hand over his wounded heart. Another painting by West is of Monckton at Martinique.
His younger brother was killed leading the grenadiers at the Battle of Monmouth.

  Colden, Cadwallader 1688 - 1776

He was again acting governor 1763 -1765, pending the arrival of Sir Henry Moore.

  Moore, Sir Henry 1713 -1769 {short description of image}

He was born in Jamacia to a wealthy plantation family. By 1756 he rose to become the governor, for which service he was made Baronet. In 1764 he was appointed Governor of New York and arrived in 1765. He was governor 1765 - 1769. When he arrived the city was in near rebellion over the Stamp Act. He agreed to not enforce it and in general was so well liked by the citizens that they gave him floral tributes. But he then did order General Gage to suppress rural uprisings by the tenants of the patroon land owners who also controled the legislature. He suddenly died in office and was succeeded by Colden. His 13 year old son succeeded as 2nd Baron but died at age 23.

  Colden, Cadwallader 1688 - 1776

He was again acting governor 1769 - 1770 on the death of Henry Moore while awaiting John Murray.

  Murray, John, 4th Earl of Dunmore 1730 - 1809 {short description of image}

He was born in Scotland, son of the 3rd Earl - thus a Scotish peer. His father supported the Stuarts in the 45 but his uncle (the 2nd Earl) supported the Hanoverians. In 1756 he became the 4th Earl. He was appointed Governor of New York in 1770 - 1771. But in 1771 on the death of the Royal Governor of Virginia - Norborne Berkeley, 4th Baron Botentourt - he was sent there. (See governors of Virginia for more biography.)

  Tryon, William 1729 -1788 {short description of image}

In 1751 he entered service in the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards and was soon promoted captain. He was wounded during operations in France during the Seven Years' War. In 1764 he was appointed acting Lt. Governor ofthe Province of North Carolina and was appointed governor in 1765 when Athur Dobbs died. He strongly promoted increase of the Church of England in the colony. He opposed the Stamp Act but it was repealed before any actions were needed. He generated much resentment over his construction of a huge and opulent mansion for himself paid for by taxes. This created the Regulator Movement in western North Carolina in 1768 which he suppressed at the Battle of Alamance in 1771. In the summer of 1771 he moved to New York to become Governor. He succeeded in obtaining legislature money for building quarters for the Army troops and in repairing the city defenses. But the Sons of Liberty there followed the example of Boston and dumped the tea rather than let it be imported. In 1773 he governor's mansion was burned down. In 1774 he went to England for consultation with Colden again acting as governor. He returned the next year.

  Colden, Cadwallader 1688 - 1776

He was again acting governor 1774 - 1775 while Tryon was in England

  Tryon, William 1729 - 1788 {short description of image}

He was again governor 1775 - 1780. When he returned from England the Continental Congress and rebels wanted to arrest and execute him. But General George Washington ordered that he be left alone. Neverthe less he had to flee to a British warship for protection until Admiral Howe arrived to occupy the city. He remained nominal civil governor but Robertson had the real power. But in 1778 Tryon was made major general (in America only) and led expeditions in Long Island and into Connecticut. In 1780 he retired to England but remained nominal commander of the 77th Foot in America until 1783.

Many places are named for Tryon despite much opinion that he was overly harsh in his dealing with civilians.

  Robertson, James 1717 - 1788 {short description of image}

He was born in Scotland. He moved to American as an officer in 1756. He was promoted and commanded varioius regiments. He was promoted major general in 1776 and commanded the 6th Brigade in the Battle of Long island. was appointed by Admiral Howe to be the British military governor in 1780 and departed in 1783.

  Elliot, Andrew 1728 - 1797  {short description of image}

He was born in Scotland and moved to Pennsylvania in 1746. In 1763 he was appointed collector of the port of New York. During the Revolution he held various offices in the city. He was the last British military governor - 1783. He then returned to Scotland.


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