Kieft, Willem

Kieft, Willem

(vĭl`əm kēft), 1597–1647, Dutch director-general of New NetherlandNew Netherland,
territory included in a commercial grant by the government of Holland to the Dutch West India Company in 1621. Colonists were settled along the Hudson River region; in 1624 the first permanent settlement was established at Fort Orange (now Albany, N.Y.).
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. Arriving in New Amsterdam in 1638 to succeed Wouter Van TwillerVan Twiller, Wouter,
fl. 1632–1640, Dutch director-general of New Netherland. A nephew of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, he was appointed to succeed Peter Minuit and arrived in New Amsterdam in 1633.
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, Kieft immediately assumed absolute control. His arbitrary rule and tactless handling of the Native Americans resulted in almost continuous Native American warfare during his administration. He was replaced by Peter StuyvesantStuyvesant, Peter
, c.1610–1672, Dutch director-general of New Netherland. He served as governor of Curaçao and lost a leg in an expedition against St. Martin before succeeding Willem Kieft in New Netherland.
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 (1647) and was lost at sea on his way to Holland.
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Kieft, Willem

(1597–1647) Dutch governor; born in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He was the fifth governor of New Netherland (1637–45). He governed in a dictatorial manner and his lack of diplomacy led to constant battles with the Indians. He was replaced by Petrus Stuyvesant (1645) and died in a shipwreck while returning to the Netherlands.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.