Fort Orange Records, 1654–1679New Netherlands Institute
Translated and edited by Charles T. Gehring and Janny Venema.
The records in this volume represent the next to the oldest surviving archival papers of the Dutch community that eventually became Albany, the capital of New York state. Although the Dutch presence in this area began with the explorations of the East India Company’s ship the Halve Maen in 1609, local records were first maintained by the officials of the patroonship of Rensselaerswijck. Surviving records for this quasi-private entity, surrounding the West India Company’s trading post of Fort Orange, date from 1648 to 1652. However, the administration of the Company’s interests in the area remained in the hands of the council on Manhattan for almost thirty years. Thus records concerning the Company’s administration of affairs in this region are found among the minutes of the council on Manhattan or in the registers of the provincial secretary. Local WIC records first appeared in 1652 after the Company established the jurisdiction of Fort Orange and the village of Beverwijck.