Samuel Blommaert

Samuel Blommaert

Samuel Blommaert colonial patron, born about 1590; died about 1670.

He was one of the directors of the Amsterdam chamber of the Dutch West India Company, and, in company with Samuel Godyn, a fellow-director, bargained with the natives for a tract of land reaching from Cape Henlopen to the mouth of Delaware river. This was in 1629, three years before the charter of Maryland, and is the oldest deed for land in Delaware. Its water-front nearly coincides with the coast of Kent and Sussex coast. The purchase was ratified in 1630 by Peter Minuit and his council at Fort Amsterdam.

A company including, besides the two original proprietors, Kiliaen van Rensselaer, De Laet, the historian, and David Pietersen de Vries was formed to colonize the tract. A ship of eighteen guns was fitted out to bring over the colonists and subsequently defend the coast, with incidental whale-fishing to help defray expenses. A colony of more than thirty souls was planted on Lewes creek, a little north of Cape Henlopen, and its governorship was entrusted to Gillis Hosset. This settlement antedated by several years any in Pennsylvania, and the colony at Lewes practically laid the foundation and defined the singularly limited area of the state of Delaware, the major part of which was included in the purchase. A palisaded fort was built, with the "red lion, rampant," of Holland affixed to its gate, and the country was named Swaanendael or Zwaanendael Colony, while the water was called Godyn's bay. The estate was further extended, on May 5, 1630, by the purchase of a tract twelve miles square on the coast of Cape May opposite, and the transaction was duly attested at Fort Amsterdam.

The existence of the little colony was short, for the Indians came down upon it in revenge for an arbitrary act on the part of Hosset, and it was destroyed, not a soul escaping to tell the tale. According to acknowledged precedent, occupancy of the wilderness served to perfect title ; but before the Dutch could reoccupy the desolated site at Lewes, the English were practically in possession.

Later Blommaert assisted with the fitting out of the first Swedish expedition to New Sweden in 1637 and engaged Peter Minuit to command it. Blommaert's letters to the Swedish chancellor, Count Axel Oxenstierna, from 1635-1641 and thirty-eight in number, are of great importance to the history of New Sweden, and were published in the "Bijdragen en Mededeelingen" of the Utrecht Historical Society, vol. XXIX.

References

*Project Gutenberg Narrative New Netherland, by J.F. Jameson, Ed - http://www.ibiblio.org/gutenberg/etext02/nwnth10.txt - includes a footnote about Blommaert.


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