Len Tantillo: The Edge of New Netherland


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A uniquely illustrated history of New Netherland, New Sweden, early North American fortification design, and the construction of Fort Cashmir (New Castle, Delaware) has been published for the New Netherland Institute. The Edge of New Netherland by L. F. Tantillo explores life in the Dutch colony and competition between European powers by focusing on the construction of regional forts, and the trade they engendered.

Tantillo provides readers with new insight into life on “the edge of New Netherland,” where two small groups of colonists – one Dutch, the other Swedish ­– fought to control access to the Delaware River and thus the trade in Indian furs, and later, English tobacco. Decades before British forces captured this territory in a power grab that remade colonial North America, fortifications were built and re-built, deals made and settlements established.

While The Edge of New Netherland (L.F. Tantillo, 2011) examines, in beautifully illustrated detail, the broader aspects of daily life on the Dutch, Swedish, English and Indian borderlands of North America, it focuses on the history of one wood and dirt fortress. Built in 1651 by the Dutch and destroyed in 1664 by the British, Fort Casimir largely failed as a defensive bulwark, but it helped anchor the growing settlement of New Amstel, now New Castle, Delaware.

The Edge of New Netherland includes more than 100 drawings accompanied by explanatory text, a historical overview of the Delaware River by Charles T. Gehring, and commentary by Peter A. Douglas.

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