People, Races, Ethnicity in the U.S. Dutch Americans Part 2

About the Dutch Americans in the U.S. including where they are from, why they left, how many there are, famous Dutch-Americans and more.


Where They Settled: The 17th-century Dutch colonists settled on Manhattan, Staten, and Long islands, along the banks of the Hudson River, and on the coastlines of the present states of New Jersey and Connecticut. The immigrants who came to the U.S. between 1840 and 1930, during the period of mass migration, settled mainly in rural areas of Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa; in urban areas of New Jersey and New York; and in the western states of Washington, Oregon, and California. Nearly half of the Dutch immigrants arriving after W.W. II settled in California, where 27% of all Dutch-born Americans now live. In the 20th century, especially since W.W. II, more Dutch immigrants have settled in Canada--mainly in the provinces of Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, and British Columbia--than in the U.S.

Numbers: During the last migration, from 1840 until 1930, some 270,000 Dutch arrived in the U.S. In this century, 180,000 Dutch immigrants have entered Canada, more than 150,000 since 1945. In the U.S. today, nearly 17 million Americans have Dutch ancestors.

Their Story in America: Dutch history in America begins in 1609, when the Englishman Henry Hudson, employed by the Dutch East India Company, discovered and sailed up the Hudson River. By 1624 the Dutch had founded the colony of New Netherland, with New Amsterdam--present-day New York City--as its capital. In 1664 the English conquered New Netherland, but the Dutch managed for centuries to retain their own distinctive culture. In the 19th century, mostly poor Dutch farmers and their families came to America and settled in the rural areas of the Midwest. The American language has incorporated more words from Dutch than from any other language except, of course, English. Words derived from Dutch include boss, coleslaw, dope, and cookie.

The practice of scalping was introduced to the American Indians by the 17th-century Dutch colonials. A less sinister contribution was Santa Claus, or "Sinterklaus" in Dutch, a tradition which Dutch brought to America. The Dutch also introduced cigar making, diamond polishing and cutting, and tulip bulb farming.

Famous Dutch Americans: Presidents Martin Van Buren, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin D. Roosevelt; business tycoons Cornelius Vanderbilt, Gilbert Van Camp, and John Manning Van Heusen; engineer David Christiaan Henry, who constructed Hoover Dam; contemporary abstract painter Willem de Kooning; author Herman Melville; poet Walt Whitman; Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Edward Bok; socialist Daniel De Leon, who was cofounder of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW); and CBS news commentator Walter Cronkite.

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