In the United States, a patroon (from Dutch patroon, owner or head of a company) was a landholder with manorial rights to large tracts of land in the 17th century Dutch colony of New Netherland in North America (notably along the Hudson River in New York). Through the Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions of 1629, the Dutch West India Company first started to grant this title and land to some of its invested members. These inducements to foster immigration (also known as the "Rights and Exemptions"), are the basis for the patroon system.

The deeded tracts were called patroonships and could span 16 miles in length on one side of a major river, or 8 miles if spanning both sides. In 1640 the charter was revised to cut new plot sizes in half, and to allow any Dutch American in good standing to purchase an estate.

The title of patroon came with powerful rights and privileges, similar to those of a lord in the feudal period. A patroon could create civil and criminal courts, appoint local officials and hold land in perpetuity. In return, he was commissioned by the Dutch West India Company to establish a settlement of at least 50 families within four years on the land. As tenants working for the patroon, these first settlers were relieved of the duty of public taxes for ten years, but were required to pay the patroon in money, goods, or services in kind. A patroonship had its own village and other infrastructure, including churches (which recorded births, baptisms, and marriages).



The largest and most successful patroonship in New Netherland was the Manor of Rensselaerswyck, established by Kiliaen van Rensselaer. Rensselaerswyck covered almost all of present-day Albany and Rensselaer counties and parts of present-day Columbia and Greene counties in New York State.

Original patents

Other large private land patents

English manorial grants

Notable English non-manorial grants



The word patroonship was used until the year 1775, when the English redefined the lands as estates and took away the jurisdictional privilege. Rensselaerswyck was dismantled in the 18th century and became different counties and towns in New York's Capital District.

See also



External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Patroon — Pa*troon , n. [D. patroon a patron, a protector. See {Patron}.] One of the proprietors of certain tracts of land with manorial privileges and right of entail, under the old Dutch governments of New York and New Jersey. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • patroon — (n.) 1660s, variant of PATRON (Cf. patron) used in foreign contexts, from Du. patroon or Fr. patron master, patron, from Old French (see PATRON (Cf. patron)); used from 1758 in parts of N.Y. and N.J. colonies for landholder, especially one with… …   Etymology dictionary

  • patroon — ☆ patroon [pə tro͞on′] n. [Du, protector < Fr patron < OFr PATRON ] a person who held a large estate with manorial rights under a grant from the Dutch government of New Netherland …   English World dictionary

  • Patroon — Le terme de patroon (du néerlandais patroon, propriétaire ou dirigeant d une compagnie) était un propriétaire terrien possédant des droits seigneuriaux sur de grandes étendues de terre (un patroonat, en néerlandais patroonshap) dans les colonies… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • patroon — noun Etymology: French patron & Spanish patrón, from Medieval Latin patronus, from Latin, patron Date: 1743 1. archaic the captain or officer commanding a ship 2. [Dutch, from French patron] the proprietor of a manorial estate especially in New… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • patroon — patroonship, n. /peuh troohn /, n. a person who held an estate in land with certain manorial privileges granted under the old Dutch governments of New York and New Jersey. [1655 65; < D < F < L patronus. See PATRON, OON] * * * …   Universalium

  • patroon — captain of a ship; coxswain of a longboat Nautical Terms …   Phrontistery dictionary

  • Patroon — Stephen Van Rensselaer’s nickname …   Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games

  • patroon — pÉ™ truː n. owner of a patroonship, owner of a land lease privilege granted to individuals by the Dutch government in New York and New Jersey during the 18th century …   English contemporary dictionary

  • patroon —    (pah TROON) [Dutch, from French, from Latin] Under the old Dutch governments of New York and New Jersey, the owner of a landed estate with some manorial privileges, i.e., the right to impose fees or taxes.    In the 1600s, the Dutch West India …   Dictionary of foreign words and phrases

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