The New York State Archives holds the surviving records of the government of the Dutch colony of New Netherland. Originally forty-six volumes of manuscripts, the records were rearranged and rebound in twenty-three volumes by E. B. O'Callaghan in the mid-nineteenth century. All but one volume survived the 1911 New York State Capitol fire which destroyed major portions of New York's British colonial and Revolutionary War records.
The New Netherland records include two of three original volumes of the register of the Provincial Secretary, in which declarations, contracts, powers of attorney, and other legally binding agreements were recorded; seven volumes of minutes of the Council, which with the director-general exercised executive, legislative, and judicial powers; five volumes of administrative correspondence compiled by or for the directors-general of the colony; one volume of ordinances, writs, and Fort Orange court records; one volume of papers documenting Dutch administration of Curaçao, an island in the Caribbean; four volumes documenting Dutch administration of the Delaware Valley region; and two volumes of land patents and deeds. Taken together, these records document the development of colonial law and the administration of justice; administration of the colony's internal affairs as well as relations and trade with neighboring colonies, Native Americans, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa; communications from authorities in the Netherlands; and the transfer of title to real property within the colony.