Daily Photos & Frugal Travel Tips

24 Jan

Pieter Stuyvesant Statue, Philipsburg, St. Maarten

Pieter Stuyvesant Philipsburg St Maarten

Sign Pieter Stuyvesant Philipsburg St Maarten

This statue of Pieter Stuyvesant is situated near to the cruise terminal.

(as per sign)

Pieter Stuyvesant was the last Governor of the Dutch colony of New Netherland (now New York), from 1646 until its surrender to the English in 1664. He was born in the Dutch province of Friesland in 1611 or 1612. After studying languages and philosophy for two years at the University of Franeker, he joined the Dutch W.I.C. (West India Company). In 1638 he was sent to Curacao. He was appointed commercial director in 1642. In 1644 Stuyvesant received orders to recapture Sint Maarten which had been taken from the Dutch by the Spanish in 1633. The island was important for its valuable salt production and as a strategic harbor.

With a fleet of 13 ships, Stuyvesant set sail to Sint Maarten. He landed at Cay Bay on March 20, 1644, and made camp at Cay Hill. A summons was dispatched to the Spanish garrison at the fort while a delegation under Stuyvesant’s command climbed the battery on Bel Air Hill to plant their flag. The Spanish, spotting them from the fort, fired a cannon in their direction. Stuyvesant was severely wounded in his right leg by this shot. He was taken back aboard his ship “De Blauwe Haan” where his leg was amputated from the knee down. A wooden stump later served as a replacement and from then on he was nicknamed “Peg leg Pete”. The battle continued until April 17, 1644, at which time the Dutch, being unable to defeat the Spanish, returned to Curacao.

Pieter Stuyvesant is remembered in history for his wooden leg as well as being tough, valiant, hard headed and dictatorial. He went on to sternly govern the Dutch settlers of New Netherland “as a father over his children.” He surrendered New Netherland to the British in 1664. Stuyvesant continued to live in New York as a private citizen until his death in 1672. His tombstone can be viewed at St. Mark’s Cemetery in The Bowery in New York City.

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