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Peach Tree War
September 15, 1655

 


In the fall of 1655, a young Indian girl entered the orchard of Henry Van Dyck living in the Dutch colony of New Netherland. She climbed a tree to pick a peach she had spied. Van Dyck took offense at her indulgence and killed her with his rifle. His extreme reaction took place on September 15, 1655.

At the time, Director-General of New Netherland Peter Stuyvesant with some 600 soldiers was away from his headquarters at Fort Amsterdam. He had gone to secure the colony of New Sweden for the Dutch in August. Seizing what they believed to be an opportune time to descend upon the undefended Dutch colony, five hundred Indians attacked Hoboken, Pavonia and Staten Island for three days. It caused the death of 100 Dutch, the capture of 150, the wounding of Van Dyck, and the devastation of homes.

When Stuyvesant returned from his military engagement, he set to the task of negotiating with the Indians. The captives, who were being held at Paulus Hook, were returned for ransom, which included powder and lead.

The "Peach Tree War" was the last major Dutch-Indian hostility in the colony.

 

 

By: Carmela Karnoutsos
Project Administrator: Patrick Shalhoub