CATALINA

In 1643, Director General of New Amsterdam Wilhem Kieft began granting Black people in the colony/outpost of New Netherland land and half freedom. The previously enslaved would have to purchase their children’s freedom and pay an annual tribute to the company. The first two Black land owners were Catalina and Domingo, both from Angola. She receives 8 acres of land and he receives 12 acres of land July 13th 1643. These land grants were given during a time known as Kieft’s War that started earlier that spring between the Dutch and the First Nations. Kieft wanted to create a buffer zone between New Amsterdam and the trail the First Nations used to attack the town. In this sense, Black people from Angola and the Kongo expanded their freedoms because of the resistance of Native Americans.

What Catalina and Domingo begin will become known as the Land of the Blacks and will stretch from the West to East Village of present day New York City. It will grow to become twice the size of today’s SoHo. A total of 28 land grants will be earned by former Company Slaves from 1643 to 1663. The Land of the Blacks will continue into the time of New York City that starts September 1664.