Pavonia, New Netherland

Pavonia, New Netherland

Pavonia was a settlement on the west bank of the Hudson River in what would become contemporary Hudson County, New Jersey that was part of the 17th century province of New Netherland.

The first European to lay claim to the area was Henry Hudson, an Englishman sailing for the Dutch East India Company, who anchored his ship the "Halve Maen" ("Half Moon") at Harsimus Cove and Weehawken Cove in 1609.

At that time the area was inhabited by bands of Algonquian language speaking peoples, collectively known as Lenni Lenape and later called Delaware Indian. This collection of tribes is believed to have lived for more than 2800 years on lands around and in-between the Hudson and Delaware Rivers. Mostly a mobile hunter-gatherer society, they practiced small scale (mostly slash and burn) agriculture as well as hunting, fishing, and trapping. Among those who circulated in the region were to become known as the Hackensack, the Tappan, the Wappani, and the Raritan.

The name was given by the first European to own the land, , a burgermeester (burgomaster) of Amsterdam and a director of the Dutch West India Company. Pavonia is the Latinized form of Pauw's surname, which means "peacock". Pauw was given the title of patroon, or landholder, with manorial rights, similar to those of a feudal lord. Three Lenape sold the land for 80 fathoms (146 m) of wampum, 20 fathoms (37 m) of cloth, 12 kettles, six guns, two blankets, one double kettle and half a barrel of beer. These transactions, dated July 12, 1630 and November 22, 1630, represent the earliest known conveyance for the area. It is said that the three were part of the same band who had sold Manhattan Island to Peter Minuit then "sold" this land, to which they had retired after that sale in 1626..

In 1629, the Dutch West India Company started to grant the of title of patroon and large tracts of land, notably along the Hudson River, to some of its invested members, encouraging immigration to America. The deeded tracts spanned 16 miles in length on one side of a major river, or 8 miles if spanning both sides. The title came with powerful rights and privileges, including creating civil and criminal courts, appointing local officials and holding land in perpetuity. In return, a patroon was commissioned to establish a settlement of at least 50 families within four years of the original grant. 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.

The area encompassed by Pauw's holdings included most of the Hudson County peninsula and likely included the eight miles of shore line on each of the Hudson and Hackensack Rivers from Bergen Point to today's Bergen County line. Pauw, however, failed to fulfill the conditions and was required by them to return his speculative acquisition back to the company in 1633. Nonetheless, homesteads were established at Gemoenepaen (Communipaw) for Jan Evertsen Bout in 1633, at (Ahasimus) Harisumus by Hendrick Van Vorst in 1634, at Hobuk (Hoboken) (site of North America's first brewery) by Aert Van Putten in 1643. Abraham Isaac Planck (aka Verplank) received a land patent for Paulus Hook on May 1, 1638, but doesn't appear to have built there. Though the settlements were small, they were strategic in that Pavonia was a foot-hold on the west bank of what had been named the North River across from New Amsterdam and was an important trading-post for the settlers and indigenous people, who dealt in valuable beaver pelts.

Relations between the Netherlanders and the Lenape were tenuous. Trade agreements, land ownwership, familial and societal structures were misunderstood and misconstrued by both parties. Language differences mostly likely did not help matters. These conflicts led to rising tensions and eventually an incident which started a series of raids and reprisals, known as Kieft's War, named for Willem Kieft, who was the Director-General of New Netherland at the time. Kieft arrived in New Netherland in 1639 with the task of increasing profits from the port at Pavonia. His first solution to the problem was to tax the Lenape living in the region, with claims that the money would buy them protection from rival tribes.

At the time, the settlers in New Amsterdam were in intermittent conflict with their Wappani neighbors. [cite web|author= Sultzman, Lee|year= 1997|title=Wappinger History|accessdate=July 5 | accessyear=2006|url=] The death of a Dutch settler, Claes Swits, at the hands of a Weckquaesgeek (Wappani on the east side of the Hudson River) particularly angered many of the Dutch when the tribe would not turn over the murderer. Kieft decided to punish the Indians by attacking Pavonia and Corlears Hook which he ordered on February 25 1643. The initial strike was a massacre: 129 Dutch soldiers killed 120 Indians, including women and children. Historians differ on whether or not the massacre was Kieft's idea [cite book|author=Winkler, David F. |title= Revisiting the Attack on Pavonia|year= 1998|publisher=New Jersey Historical Society] cite web|author=Beck, Sanderson |title= New Netherland and Stuyvesant 1642-64|year=2006| url=] Many consider this to be one of the first acts of genocide of Native Americans by European settlers in North America. The massacre united the Algonquian peoples in the surrounding areas, to an extent not seen before. On October 1, 1643, a force of united "tribes" attacked the homesteads at Pavonia which were burned to the ground (except the brewery at Hobuk, which did not have a thatch roof). Most settlers were killed and those who survive were ordered to the relative safetly of New Amsterdam, and Pavonia was essentially abandoned.

For the next two years the united tribes harassed settlers all across New Netherland, killing sporadically and suddenly. The sparse forces were helpless to stop the attacks, but the natives were kept too spread out to mount more effective strikes. A truce was finally agreed upon in August 1645. Kieft was recalled to the Netherlands to answer for his conduct in 1647, but he died in a shipwreck before his version of events could be told. The war was extremely bloody in proportion to the population at the time: more than 1,600 natives were killed in at a time when the European population of New Amsterdam was only 250.Kieft's successor was Peter Stuyvesant.

The uneasy truce with the Lenape allowed for further settlement, including Constable Hook (1646) and Awiehawken (1647). In late 1654 a series of grants were made for tracts "achter de Kol", behind Kill van Kull" [History of new Netherland, E.B. Callaghan (c)1855] The situation remained relatively peaceful until 1655, when Pavonia was attacked by united band of about 500 Lenape. One hundred settlers were killed, and 150 taken hostage and held at Paulus Hook, and were later released. This incident was part of Peach Tree War, and is said to have been precipatated by the killing of a young woman who had stolen a peach from settler's orchard on Manhattan, but may have been a retaliation for the Dutch attack on the Lenape's Swedish trading partners on the Delaware Bay.

In 1658, wishing to further formalize agreements with the Lenape Stuyvesant agreed to "re-purchase" the area "by the great rock above Wiehacken," then taking in the sweep of land on the peninsula west of the Hudson and east of the Hackensack River extending down to the Kill Van Kull in Bayonne. [ [,M1 History of the County of Hudson, New Jersey, from Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time] , p. 62, accessed march 29, 2007] Bergen was founded in 1660 by settlers who wished to return to the west bank of the Hudson. Its semi-independent government was granted on September 5, 1661, by Stuyvesant, as part of his efforts re-gain a foothold on the North River's western shore and expand beyond New Amsterdam on the southern tip of Manhattan, under the condition that a garrison be built. Located at today's Bergen Square, it was part of the original patroonship, atop the southern end of the New Jersey Palisades, sometimes called Bergen Hill, west of the waterfront. It is the first permanent autonomous European settlement in what would become the state of New Jersey.

The name Pavonia remains as an avenue in contemporary Jersey City. It is broken in sections as runs east-west at the waterfront, at Hamilton Park, in the Journal Square district, and in the Marion section. There is also a Pavonia Court in Bayonne and Pavonia Avenue in Kearny. Erie Railroad's Hudson waterfront terminus was called Pavonia Terminal located nearby PATH rapid transit system's Pavonia Newport Station. Saint Peter's College, located on land that was part of the patroonship, has as it's mascot a peacock. There is also a Pavonia Branch of the Jersey City Public Library system.

See also

*Achter Col
*Bergen Township, Bergen County, New Jersey (Historical 1683)
*Bergen Square
*Elizabethtown Tract
*Oude Dorp



*David Pietersz de Vries, Korte historiael ende Journaels Aenteykeninge, van verscheyden voyagiens in de vier deelen des wereldts-ronde, als Europa, Africa, Asia, ende America gedaen, (Hoorn, Netherlands, 1655), edited by H.T. Colenbrander, WLV3 (1911)
*W.B.J. van Balen, Holland aan de Hudson (Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1943)

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