2. THE DUTCH IMPRINT
passion for trade enticed the earliest Dutch settlers to New Netherland,
later called New York. The colony was founded in 1609 by a merchant corporation,
the Dutch West India Company, rather than by a country. Making a profit
ranked as its major objective.
Company's Board of Directors would have preferred that the population
of New Netherland, an infant and tender colony, be composed only of Dutch
settlers, and thus remain homogeneous. The colony founders did not see
cultural diversity as a source of strength, but rather as a potential
source of chaos and curse. Their wish did not come true as the Dutch did
not settle here in large numbers. The corporation was forced to encourage
non-Dutch migration in order to invigorate the economy.
Even so, the Dutch are considered New York's imprint group. According to historian Joyce Goodfriend, "the Dutch introduced institutions, set the pattern of interaction with native peoples and imported Africans, and selectively transplanted their culture."