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Portrait of Peter Stuyvesant from a Painting, Lantern Slide Created in 1911

Government. Portrait of Peter Stuyvesant
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_48
Document Description
Portrait of Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch Director-General of the Colony of New Netherlands, from a painting located at the New-York Historical Society. A lantern slide of the painting was created in 1911.
Who is this man?
What do you think he was like?
Would you like to be this man’s friend?
Would you like this man to run your colony in a hostile environment?
Why was someone like Stuyvesant appointed in New Netherland?
What characteristics were necessary for the job?
Historical Challenges
How did Peter Stuyvesant lose his leg?
Interdisciplinary Connections
English Language Arts: Create a trifold brochure commemorating Stuyvesant’s life. Include one section on his early life, one on New Netherland, and one on his later years and death. Include illustrations.
Banks, Joan. Peter Stuyvesant: Dutch Military Leader. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2001. ISBN: 0791053466, 0791056899
Crouse, Anna Erskine. Peter Stuyvesant of Old New York. New York: Random House, 1954.
Krizner, L. J., and Lisa Sita. Peter Stuyvesant: New Amsterdam and the Origins of New York. New York: PowerPlus Books, 2001. ISBN: 0823957322
Lobel, Arnold. On the Day Peter Stuyvesant Sailed into Town. New York: Harper & Row, 1971. ISBN: 0060239727
Quackenbush, Robert M. Old Silver Leg Takes Over!: A Story of Peter Stuyvesant. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1986. ISBN: 0136339344
Avakian, Monique. A Historical Album of New York. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1993. ISBN: 1562940058, 0585263302
Fradin, Dennis B. The New York Colony. Chicago: Children's Press, 1988. ISBN: 0516003895
Linehan, Stephen. New Netherland: An Exploration of Past and Present: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum for the 4th Grade. Albany, NY: New Netherland Museum, 2004. ISBN: 0974822302. (Available at

Historical Context
Peter Stuyvesant was born in Holland in 1592. He began his political career in the West Indies, where he served as governor of one of the islands. It was also in the West Indies that he lost his leg; he had a wooden peg below his right knee. In 1647, he was appointed as the governor of the Dutch West India Company’s colony, New Amsterdam.

Stuyvesant was a dedicated reformer. He tried to regulate the sale of liquor and outlaw the sale of it to Indians, but this order was generally ignored. He also tried to regulate the fur trade, without any success. He punished those who would not conform to the Dutch Reformed Church and did not allow others to participate in the government. Due to his strict and controlling disposition, many inhabitants of New Amsterdam did not like him.

In 1664, English warships came to the harbor and the people refused to fight them. Stuyvesant was forced to surrender the town to England. After this, New Amsterdam became New York. Stuyvesant returned to Holland, but was blamed for the loss of the colony. Eventually, he came back to America and lived out his days on his farm, the Bouwerie, on Manhattan Island.

This image reproduces an original painting of Petrus (Peter) Stuyvesant that is now in the collections of the New-York Historical Society. The reproduction was created on a glass slide by the State Education Department in an early effort to provide teaching aids to teachers for classroom use. In the early twentieth century, the history of New Netherland was an important part of the curriculum, as was the study of historical art and famous figures from New York’s past.

Essential Question
How do individuals influence historical events?
Check for Understanding
Describe the individual in the portrait and evaluate the importance of Peter Stuyvesant in New York history.