1633 June 8: Agreement for a Trading House on the Connecticut River (Pre-Minute Books documents)

vancurler_sickenames-drchny2-139The records that were bound together in the mid 18th century and labelled as “Minute Books” of the Albany Indian Commissioners had earlier precedents that were not included in those compilations. I am going to post copies of as many of these as I can find in order to look at how the Albany Indian Commissioners, and the diplomatic protocols they followed, evolved out of both European and Native American traditions.

Here is one of the earliest, an agreement made on June 8, 1633, between Jacob Van Curler, Commissary for the Dutch West India Company, and  Tattoepan, the chief of Sickenames, on the Connecticut River at what is now Hartford. Although framed by the Dutch as the purchase of a piece of land, this agreement contains the condition that the native owners will live there with the Dutch. The purpose of the agreement is clearly to allow the Dutch to build a “trading-house” that can be used by “all tribes of Indians,” even those in conflict with each other. The Dutch proceeded to construct a fort called Huys de Hoop . Sadly, the intent to keep things peaceful did not last and the trading house was soon caught up in the violence of Dutch-English-Pequot quarrels.

Source: E.B. O’Callaghan (ed.). Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, Albany: Weed, Parsons, 1853. You can download it from the Internet Archive here.

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