Iberian Linguistic Elements among the Black Population in New Netherland (1614–1664)

Jeroen Dewulf | Department of German & Dutch Studies | Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages, 2019

Since the slave population in New Netherland (1614-1664) was small compared to that of other Dutch Atlantic colonies such as Curaçao, Dutch Brazil and Suriname, it has traditionally received little attention by scholars, including creolists. It is, therefore, not well known that traces of Iberian languages can be found among the black population of seventeenth-century Manhattan. While the paucity of sources does not allow us to make any decisive claims with regard to the importance of Spanish and Portuguese for the colony’s black community, this article attempts to reconstruct the language use of this population group on the basis of an analysis of historical sources from New Netherland in an Atlantic context.