Wouter van Twiller
A painting of Wouter van Twiller by Washington Allston (detail)
|5th Director of New Netherland|
|Preceded by||Sebastiaen Jansen Krol|
|Succeeded by||Willem Kieft|
|Born||May 22, 1606|
|Died||August 29, 1654 (aged 48)|
|New Netherland series|
|The Patroon System|
|People of New Netherland|
Wouter van Twiller (May 22, 1606 – buried August 29, 1654) was an employee of the Dutch West India Company and the fourthDirector of New Netherland. He governed from 1632 until 1638, succeeding Peter Minuit, who was recalled by the Dutch West India authorities in Amsterdam for unknown reasons.
He was appointed to the position because he had made two voyages to New Netherland colony before, and had been a clerk in the warehouse of the Dutch West India company in Amsterdam for nearly five years. Rensselaer entrusted him with shipping cattle to Rensselaerswyck, his colonial estate on the Hudson River. Van Twiller was somewhat acquainted with the geography of New Netherlands and the condition of its affairs. Largely through Van Rensselaer's influence the Dutch West India Company chose him as the new Director-General of New Netherlands, and he set sail for New Amsterdam, which was little more than a trading post, in the ship De Soutberg in 1633.
Amid a considerable amount of land and properties, including islands known in the present day as Roosevelt Island and Randalls and Wards Islands, Van Twiller purchased 'Noten Eylant', later called Governors Island from a tribe of Canarsee Indians for two axe heads, a string of beads and some iron nails. While in office, settlers from New England occupied the Connecticut Valley and he was never able to oust them. He was able to defend the Dutch territory in the Delaware Valley, where his soldiers captured a shipload of intended settlers from Virginia and expelled soldiers who had taken Fort Nassau.
Van Twiller was able to both increase the colony's prosperity and amass a private fortune despite conflicts with Everhardus Bogardus, Dutch Reformed predikant of the New Netherland colony; and schout Lubbert van Dincklagen, who criticized Van Rwiller's management of New Netherland. The Director expelled Van Dincklagen, refusing to pay the salary arrears owed him. Back in Amstersam, Van Dincklagen brought the situation to the attention of the company directors. His report was confirmed by Captain David Pietersz. de Vries and Van Twiller was removed from office in the summer of 1637.
To succeed Van Twiller as Director-General, the Dutch West India Company sent Willem Kieft in September 1637. Van Twiller subsequently returned to the Netherlands and assumed guardianship of Johannes, eldest son of Killian van Rensselaer, following the death of that patroon in 1644. He died in Amsterdam.
Governor Van Twiller 1633-1638
| Director of New Netherland