Heraldry of Dutch New York

Proposed coat of arms for New Amsterdam, unknown artist, 1630

I was looking through the archives of the New-York Historical Society when I came across the image above, identified as a “proposed” coat of arms for what is now New York City when it was still New Amsterdam. It had been presented to the Dutch West India Company in 1630, but was not approved. An article at the New Netherland Institute explains:

Among the papers of Hans Bontemantel, Director of the Amsterdam Chamber of the West India Company, held by the New York Public Library are…drawings of proposed coats of arms for New Amsterdam and New Netherland prepared by an anonymous artist in 1630 for the consideration of the Heeren XIX (the Lords Nineteen)…ruling council of the West India Company.

The coat of arms designed for the whole of New Netherland colony, which encompassed most of eastern New York State, was approved at this time. It consisted of “a black beaver on a gold field, with embroidery of white Zeewant on a blue background, decked with a count’s crown.”

dutch-new-netherland_06_c615ce72d719956eda4eca7fb28e7e32 (2)
Coat of arms of New Netherland, unknown artist, 1630

It may have been that the Heeren rejected the proposed arms for the city because of the beavers rampant supporting the shield. The lion supporters on the arms of old Amsterdam were considered too important to be replaced altogether. The artist prepared a second version which included the lions, moving the beaver to the crest. This version was accepted on a provisional basis but was also ultimately rejected.

dutch-new-netherland_06_c615ce72d719956eda4eca7fb28e7e32 (3)
Provisional arms of New Amsterdam, unknown artist, 1630.

Note: in the designation of right, left, and center, the New Netherland Institute confuses the proposed arms for New Netherland with the second version of the proposed arms for New Amesterdam.

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