List of colonial governors of New York

The territory which would later become the state of New York was settled by European colonists as part of the New Netherland colony (parts of present-day New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware) under the command of the Dutch West India Company in the Seventeenth Century. These colonists were largely of Dutch, Flemish, Walloon, and German stock, but the colony soon became a "melting pot." In 1664, at the onset of the Second Anglo-Dutch War, English forces under Richard Nicolls ousted the Dutch from control of New Netherland, and the territory became part of several different English colonies. Despite one brief year when the Dutch retook the colony (1673–1674), New York would remain an English possession until the American colonies declared independence in 1776.

With the unification of the two proprietary colonies of East Jersey and West Jersey in 1702, the provinces of New York and the neighboring colony New Jersey shared a royal governor. This arrangement began with the appointment of Queen Anne's cousin, Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury as Royal Governor of New York and New Jersey in 1702, and ended when New Jersey was granted its own royal governor in 1738.

Directors (or governors) of New Netherland (16241664)

New Netherland (Dutch: Nieuw-Nederland) was the 17th-century colonial province of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands and the Dutch West India Company. It claimed territories along the eastern coast of North America from the Delmarva Peninsula to southwestern Cape Cod. Settled areas of New Netherland are now constitute the states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut, and parts of Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.[1][2] The provincial capital New Amsterdam was located at the southern tip of the island of Manhattan at Upper New York Bay.[3]

New Netherland was conceived as a private business venture to exploit the North American fur trade.[4] By the 1650s, the colony experienced dramatic growth and became a major port for trade in the North Atlantic. The leader of the Dutch colony was known by the title Director or Director-General. On August 27, 1664, four English frigates commanded by Richard Nicolls sailed into New Amsterdam's harbor and demanded the surrender of New Netherland.[5][6] This event sparked the Second Anglo-Dutch War, which led to the transfer of the territory to England per the Treaty of Breda.[7][8]

# Portrait Director or
Took office Left office Notes
1Cornelius Jacobsen May
(fl. 1600s)
2Willem Verhulst
(or van der Hulst)
(fl. 1600s)
3Peter Minuit
  • Purchased the island of Manhattan from Native Americans on May 24, 1626 for 60 Dutch guilders worth of goods.[9]
4Sebastiaen Jansen Krol
5Wouter van Twiller
  • Previously a Dutch West India Company warehouse clerk, used family connections to the Rensselaer family to gain appointment
  • Purchased Nut Island (Noten Eylant), later called Governor's Island from Canarsee tribe for two axeheads, a string of beads and iron nails
  • Lost the colony's claim of the Connecticut River valley to New England settlers
  • Pushed back encroaching Virginia settlers who tried to settle Delaware River valley
6Willem Kieft
7Peter Stuyvesant

Under English control (1664–1783)

Apart from a short period between May 1688 and April 1689, during which New York was part of the Dominion of New England, the territory was known in this period as the Province of New York.

# Portrait Governor Took office Left office Notes
1Richard Nicolls
16641668as military governor
2Francis Lovelace
3Anthony Colve16731674Dutch naval captain under restored Netherlands rule
4Edmund Andros
5Anthony Brockholls
(c. 1656)
16811683Commander-in-Chief of British Forces and acting governor
6Thomas Dongan, 2nd Earl of Limerick
7Francis Nicholson
16881691military governor and de facto only until June 1689
8Jacob Leisler
(c. 1640–1691)
16881691Militia officer in rebellion
9Henry Sloughter
(d. 1691)
10Richard Ingoldesby
(d. 1719)
16911692Military officer as acting governor
11Benjamin Fletcher
12Richard Coote, 1st Earl of Bellomont
(c. 1636–1700/1)
13John Nanfan
17011702as acting governor
14Edward Hyde, 3rd Earl of Clarendon
15John Lovelace, 4th Baron Lovelace
16Pieter Schuyler
17091709as acting governor
17Richard Ingoldesby
(d. 1719)
17091709as acting governor
18Gerardus Beekman
17091710as acting governor
19Robert Hunter (governor)
20Pieter Schuyler
17191720as acting governor
21William Burnet
22John Montgomerie
(d. 1731)
23Rip Van Dam
17311732as acting governor
24William Cosby
25George Clarke
17361743as acting governor
26George Clinton
27Sir Danvers Osborn, 3rd Baronet
28James De Lancey
17531755as acting governor
29Charles Hardy
(c. 1714–1780)
30James De Lancey
17581760as acting governor
31Cadwallader Colden
17601762as acting governor
32Robert Monckton
33Cadwallader Colden
17631765as acting governor
34Sir Henry Moore, 1st Baronet
35Cadwallader Colden
17691770as acting governor
36John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore
37William Tryon
38Cadwallader Colden
17741775as acting governor
39William Tryon
40James Robertson
17801783as military governor
41Andrew Elliot
17831783as military governor

See also


  1. "Grant of Exclusive Trade to New Netherland by the States-General of the United Netherlands; October 11, 1614" from Documentary History of the State of Maine (Portland: Maine Historical Society / Bailey and Noyes, 1869–1916). Published online at the Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy, Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Law Library. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  2. Jacobs, Jaap. New Netherland: A Dutch Colony In Seventeenth-Century America. (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 35.
  3. van der Sijs, Nicoline. Cookies, Coleslaw and Stoops: The Influence of Dutch on the North American Languages. (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2009), 21.
  4. Dolin, Eric Jay. Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America. (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2011) passim.
  5. World Digital Library. Articles about the Transfer of New Netherland on the 27th of August, Old Style, Anno 1664. Retrieved 21 March 2013
  6. Versteer, Dingman (editor). "New Amsterdam Becomes New York" in The New Netherland Register. Volume 1 No. 4 and 5 (April/May 1911): 49–64.
  7. Farnham, Mary Frances (compiler). "Farnham Papers (1603–1688)" in Volumes 7 and 8 of Documentary History of the State of Maine. (Portland, Maine: Collections of the Maine Historical Society, 2nd Series. 1901–1902), 7:311–314.
  8. Parry, Clive (editor). Consolidated Treaty Series 231 Volumes. (Dobbs Ferry, New York: Oceana Publications, 1969–1981), 10:231.
  9. Burrows, Edwin G., and Wallace, Mike. Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), xivff.
  10. Merwick, Donna. The Shame and the Sorrow: Dutch-Amerindian Encounters in New Netherland Early American Series. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006).
  11. "Journal of New Netherland 1647. Written in the Years 1641, 1642, 1643, 1644, 1645, and 1646". World Digital Library. 1641–1647. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
  12. 1 2 Shorto, Russell. The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America. (New York City: Vintage Books, 2004).
  13. Otto, Paul. The Dutch-Munsee Encounter in America: The Struggle for Sovereignty in the Hudson Valley. (Oxford/New York: Berghahn Books, 2006), 152; and Kraft, Herbert C. The Lenape: Archaeology, History, and Ethnography. (Newark, New Jersey: New Jersey Historical Society, 1986), 241.
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