Huguenot-Walloon Half Dollar

300th Anniversary of the Voyage
of the Nieuw Nederlandt


300th Anniversary of the Voyage of the Nieuw Nederlandt, 1624-1924
KM-154, ½ dollar .900 silver

The reverse depicts the emigrants’ ship Nieu Nederland (New Netherlands) that brought the first Dutch settlers to the New World. The 260-ton three-masted bark Nieu Nederland was built about 1622. She was owned by the Dutch West Indies Company (WIC) which sought to establish Dutch colonies in the Hudson River valley, following Henry Hudson’s exploration of that valley. In 1624 Captain Cornelis Jacobsen May of Hoorn in the Nieu Nederland brought to Manhattan 30 families of Huguenots (Protestants who had fled France because of their persecution by the French Catholic Church) and Walloons (French-speaking Protestants from the Southern Netherlands). Following instructions by the WIC, they spread out over a wide area, settling in Manhattan as well as in Long Island, Delaware and Connecticut. In 1625, six more ships brought colonists to the Dutch colony which was named New Netherlands. The colony was headed by a governor appointed by the WIC. The second governor, Peter Minuit, a Walloon, purchased Manhattan Island from the Indians, paying with trinkets valued at 60 guilders ($24). In 1626 Fort Amsterdam was built on Manhattan Island and the town of New Amsterdam (now New York City) developed around the fort. Peter Stuyvesant was governor from 1645 until 1664, when the colony fell to the English. By the Treaty of Breda in 1667, New Netherlands remained English. The territory was incorporated into the New England colony.

The obverse features the conjoined heads of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny (1519-1572), the French leader of the Huguenots, and his son-in-law William I (“William the Silent”) of Orange (1533-1584), stadholder (chief magistrate) of the Netherlands. The two men were chosen as representatives and martyrs of the Protestant faith but they bear no direct relation to the emigration of the first Huguenots and Walloons to America.