Cross Roads and Cross Rivers: Diversity in Colonial New York

The gallery exhibition at Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and the accompanying catalog are made possible by a generous grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. The gallery exhibition was on view through August 15, 2000. The online exhibition was made possible in part by the New York Council for The Humanities.

Unless otherwise noted, artifacts and images are from the collection of Historic Hudson Valley.

Novi BelgiiBetween 1680 and 1750, a surprisingly diverse group of people converged at the Upper Mills of Philipsburg Manor. This site, constructed and operated by enslaved Africans, served as one of two commercial centers on a manor consisting of 52,000 acres along the east shore of the lower Hudson River. The people who lived and traded here were brought together, in part, by the varied business ventures of Frederick Philipse (1626-1702) and his son Adolph (1665-1750). According to historians, the activities of the Philipse family and other merchant/land speculators helped create colonial New York's culturally diverse society.

Pursuit of trade introduced a varied group of partners, some willing and some forced, to this landscape. In New York, the commercial activity that had initially involved Native Americans and Europeans soon grew to include people who had once lived in Africa and Latin America. This double stamp of commerce and cultural diversity has marked New York since its very beginnings.