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History of New York Class Designs Recruitment Posters for New Netherlands

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One way to make history come alive in the classroom is to engage it creatively. In this case, student teams worked together to create recruitment posters that would attract – or fail to attract – emigrants to the new world.

The best and most influential posters were the ones with color, detail, and an appropriate amount of information. Given that literacy in the 1600s was not the greatest, announcements had to catch the eye and at the same time deliver the basic message. The poster on the left is bright and loud and colorful, and appeals to the reader in a most simplistic form. The poster draws the eye to it and offers basic details, basic questions, about the promise of New Amsterdam; adventure, freedom, and prosperity. The other poster has a simpler design, but includes more pictures and more information about the New World. This poster appeals to the reader’s personal family, religion, and riches. Describing the religious freedoms, economics and the fur trade, and the setting of the New Amsterdam, the reader would be more informed, and perhaps more comfortable with the journey and move.

Upon its founding, the Dutch actually had some difficulties recruiting people to live in New Amsterdam. New land, and new challenges faced by a reluctant people.  Despite the establishment of a lucrative fur trade in the early 1600s because of land disputes and territory patents the Hudson Valley was not yet suitable for colonization. The West India Company took over the financial strife of the New Netherlands in the 1620s, based off of the promising fur trade. This would lead to the commitment of maintaining a Dutch colony on the Hudson, based around politics, capital, and power.

The first settlers arrived in 1624, made up of mostly Walloons, French Protestant refugees, and English pilgrims. The settlers were bound by provisional orders to, obey and carry out without any contradiction the orders of the company which gave the West India Company power over crops, religion, wealth, and land distributed to the colonists. That being said the incentives were still worth the voyage. Free land, free passage, a thriving economy, and growing possibilities ensured a continuous gain of peoples. As the colony grew so did opportunities. More and more expeditions were being made to the New World as New Amsterdam expanded exposing the colony to more and more people tools, provisions, and experiences. By 1630 New Amsterdam would be a flourishing epicenter of economics and politics in the New Netherlands.

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