The  principle of Tolerance as Common Theme is indispensable to Religious and Racial Equality - declare Tolerance to Intolerance!

Governors Island American SymbolGovIsland Park-to-ToleranceNational Heritage TriangleWhat Can I do?Legislative Resolutions 5476 and 2708

GovIsland Park-to-Tolerance: through Broad Awareness and Conscious Vigilance

State of New York
Legislative Resolution

Senate No. 5476
Assembly No. 2708

BY: Senators Marchi, Farley and Johnson

BY: Committee on Rules at the request of M. of A. McEneny, Silver, Canestrari, Englebright, Morelle, Markey, Cahill, Christensen, Colman, Cook, Destito, Farrell, Glick, Gordon, Gottfried, Gromack, Gunther, Jacobs, Lavelle, Mayersohn, McLaughlin, Millman, Ortiz, Prentiss, Schimminger, Seddio, Sidikman, Sweeney, Tonko and Townsend

MEMORIALIZING Governor George E. Pataki to recognize the official place and date of birth of the State of New York as being Governors Island in the year 1624

• WHEREAS, At the start of the 12-year armistice (1609-1621) between the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands (the Dutch Republic) and Spain, Captain Henry Hudson, commissioned by the [Dutch] East India Company and aboard the ship Halve Maen (Half Moon), arrived in the River Mauritius (Hudson River) as the first official explorer representing the Dutch Republic; Hudson conducted New York’s first recorded commercial transaction in 1609 which formed the basis for ongoing private commercial interests in the fur trade for that region; and

• WHEREAS, Various private commercial entities from the Republic had competed for a share in the fur trade in the Hudson River regions since 1610 and, for the purpose of obtaining a fur-trading monopoly, amalgamated into the New Netherland Company on October 11, 1614; and

• WHEREAS, The New Netherland Company was the result of the explorations, from 1611 through 1614, of the Amsterdam explorer and private commercial fur trader, Adriaen Block; the first explorer of any country to chart the eastern coast of what is now Marblehead Bay, north of Cape Cod, to the Hudson River, and who named it New Netherland; and

• WHEREAS, Upon the end of the armistice and the creation of the [Dutch] West India Company in 1621, the Dutch Republic sought to effectuate a cultural transplantation on the North American continent by way of an eighth province for the purpose of imposing its sovereignty onto the territory, now extending south to the Delaware Bay, through the delegated authority of the West India Company; and

• WHEREAS, The West India Company recalled all private commercial parties operating in the New Netherland territory in 1622 and 1623 and invalidated all private commercial interests, thus voiding the law of the ship as only legal recourse in the region; and

• WHEREAS, The Dutch Republic officially established its institutional, administrative and cultural infrastructure onto the New Netherland territory by planting its first colony of thirty families on Noten Eylant in 1624 (renamed Governors Island in 1784); these colonists had disembarked on Governors Island in the summer of 1624 from the ship named “New Netherland” under the command of Cornelis Jacobszoon May (as in Cape May in New Jersey); and

• WHEREAS, In June, 1625, forty-five more colonists disembarked on Governors Island from three ships named Horse, Cow and Sheep which also delivered 103 horses, steers and cows, in addition to numerous pigs and sheep - thus successfully completing the Republic’s first planting of a colony in 1624, and extrapolating the Republic’s culture, its 1579 Constitution and legal-political guaranty of tolerance onto the North American continent; now, therefore, be it

• RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to memorialize Governor George E. Pataki to recognize the official place and date of birth of the State of New York as being Governors Island in the year 1624, continuing a heritage from Dutch settlers which will endure even as New York City contemplates possible new uses for the island, such as facilities for The City University of New York; and be it further

• RESOLVED, That the New Netherland infrastructure formed the foundation for New York’s continuing development and that the cultural imprint of the New Netherland community, upon relinquishing political control to the English in 1674, had a profound and enduring impact on New York’s unique cultural heritage; and be it further

• RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be transmitted to George E. Pataki, Governor of the State of New York.

May 14, 2002
John J. Marchi

By order of the Senate,
Steven M. Boggess, Secretary

May 30, 2002

John J. McEneny

By order of the Assembly,
Karen L. McCann, Acting Clerk


THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2001


Governors Island: a place where New York began

By Joep de Koning

New York has a golden opportunity to turn Governors Island into a unique historic park provided that the State Legislature seizes the moment.

Last week, it was reported that the Justice Department had prepared a memo recommending that the federal government sell the former military base for $300 million. Before President Bill Clinton left office, he signed a proclamation designating two sites on the island – Castle Williams and Fort Jay – as federal monuments and giving the National Park Service three years to come up with a plan for the rest of the island. In fact, he offered the island to the state for a dollar if New York State and New York City could agree on its future development. Now the fate of the island is in doubt.

Today, few people know about the important role Governors Island played in early American history, when in 1624 four shiploads of settlers and cattle from the Netherlands landed there. That was the birth of New York State.

The legal, institutional and administrative infrastructure the Dutch colonists and their successors planted on Noten Island, as it was called then, became the imprint on which our diverse nation was built and the growth of a just and civil society became possible. Their blueprint was responsible for New York’s extraordinary ongoing development and for today’s immigrant culture.

It is in keeping with that spirit that we have proposed to build Historic New Amsterdam on a third of Governors Island. Along the lines of Colonial Williamsburg, it would popularly recognize this historically significant American period for all Americans to embrace and enjoy. We have been trying to persuade the New York Senate and Assembly to commit New York to the Historic New Amsterdam vision, provided it receives the island from the federal government for one dollar.

Earlier this year, we appealed to two legislative leaders to sponsor a bipartisan bill. But sponsorship is still wanting. A rare historical opportunity is slipping a way into a political quagmire. Historic New Amsterdam on Governors Island can be a self-sustaining historical national monument for young families and create great tourism value for New York. It can serve as a symbol of importance to the nation within a National Heritage Triangle, comprising Governors Island, Liberty Island and Ellis Island or, if you like, tolerance, freedom and welcome.

It can only be saved through the willingness of particular individuals in differing political jurisdictions to embrace their common American heritage and to communicate. If New Yorkers and their elected officials were to care, the Congress would care too, and future New Yorkers would be the richer for it.

Let’s look at some aspects of this vital legacy. A 1657 New Netherland document preserved in the Queens Historical Society stated that “the law of love, peace and liberty” also extends to “Jews, Muslims and Gypsies” in New Amsterdam (New York City). This sentence sums up why the strength of legally protected diversity in New Amsterdam served as an enduring example to the development of the nation; why New York became the preferred entry point for millions of immigrants.

Who knows today that various provisions of the Constitution were rooted in New York’s earliest beginnings and that some inalienable birthrights, such as the First Amendment, were already affording legal protection to New York’s early 17th-century burghers – well before the Constitution’s ratification in 1791?

Freedom has no meaning in an intolerant society. Tolerance, therefore, precedes liberty and is New York’s unique gift to the nation. This legacy will be represented by our proposed, not-for-profit commemorative park, Historic New Amsterdam, which would follow New Amsterdam’s original street plan for lower Manhattan.

If the state doesn’t act soon, especially in light of the Justice Department’s interpretation, then New Yorkers, if not all Americans, will lose a great opportunity to restore America’s 17th-century patrimony and make our distinctive history come alive.

Let the lesson of tolerance that formed the basis for the city’s enlightened culture of inclusion and diversity take root in Historic New Amsterdam and bloom on Governors Island.


To sign petition go to



Foundation President Joep de Koning (left) with Chairman Dr. Onno Ruding, two-term finance minister, on the right (The Hague, May 2000).




Historical facts support 1624 as the year of birth of New York State and the year in which the New York Tri-State region (named New Netherland as of 1614) ceased to be a territory for private traders under patents issued by the States General (i.e., the Parliament of the Dutch Republic) and where only the law of the ship had sufficed in matters of justice (Legislative Resolutions No. 5476 and No. 2708.)

The year 1624 was the year in which the territory was transformed to a juridical entity by specifically delivering the laws and ordinances of the Dutch Republic to North American soil. As of that year, the territory was administered as a provincial extension of the Dutch Republic under the sovereignty of the States General by way of the delegated authority of the West Indian Company.

These laws and ordinances were delivered by the first settlers to GovIsland - NYS birthplace - and were responsible for the jurisprudence and culture of toleration as the basis for ethnic diversity and for the tradition of inclusiveness in the region. This distinctive regional personality and ethos of tolerance is still the identity of what is now referred to as the New York Tri-State region.

At the time, the principle of tolerance was unique to the New Netherland region when compared to its adjoining regions on the east coast of North America. These three regions - Virginia, New Netherland and New England - metamorphosed ultimately into the Original Thirteen.

The vibrant precept of tolerance - together with its complementary, fraternal twin liberty - thus became the foundation of what now denotes the conception of American freedom. It is America's ultimate virtue of tolerance which therefore is responsible for dynamically defining and defending American freedom.

The following year, in 1625, NY City was birthed by the deliberate decision of the New Netherland governing council - seated [in a fort] on Governors Island - which selected Manhattan Island as the permanent, principal place of settlement as well as for the construction of Fort Amsterdam as capitol of New Netherland. Cryn Fredericxsz - surveyor and fortification engineer - had disembarked on Governors Island in 1625 with specific instructions to build the fort that was to be named "Amsterdam." In addition, he was to build the civic houses necessary for the settlers and to lay out the farms outside of Fort Amsterdam in which and around of which they commenced to settle in 1625. That village named New Amsterdam as capital of New Netherland grew subsequently into a town and city with its own municipal rights in 1653.

Hence, the year 1625 was the year in which Fort Amsterdam and the village of New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island came into being. The name was [provisionally] changed in June 1665 to the City of New York upon re-incorporation under English occupation.

Yet, the town's original 1625 personality never changed materially - not with the granting of municipal rights in 1653; not during unlawful and provisional possession of New Netherland by the English from 1664 to 1672; not upon definitive transfer to English sovereignty in 1674; and not upon realizing the Original Thirteen as an independent republic in 1776.

This can still be observed today.

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The Tolerance Park Foundation
A Tolerance Park on Governors Island
Composing the National Heritage Triangle of America's fundamental values



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