Block Portrait.jpg
Born: 1567 - Amsterdam, NetherlandsDied: 1627 - Amsterdam, Netherlands

Essential Question: Who was Adriaen Block and how did he influence the development of New Amsterdam?

Historical Background

Adriaen (pronounced "Aerjan' in Dutch) Block
  • Born around 1567 in Amsterdam, Netherlands and buried April 27, 1627 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  • Dutch private fur trader and navigator.
  • 1611 - 1614 - Explored the coastal and river valley areas between New Jersey and Massachusetts.
  • Followed Henry Hudson's expedition in 1609 expedition.
  • Discovered Block Island and Rhode Island.
  • First explorer to have established early fur trade with the native Lenape tribes.
  • Created the 1614 map of his last voyage which shows many features of the mid-Atlantic region for the first time.
  • The term "New Netherlands" first appeared on his map and was applied to the region.
  • He is credited with being the first European to enter Long Island Sound and the Connecticut River and to determine that Manhattan and Long Island are islands.

Impact of His Discoveries

  • Dutch merchants in Amsterdam decided the region could be a good source of trade for beaver pelts.
  • 1611 - Cornelis Rijser, another Dutch captain, successfully returned to New Netherlands in the ship St. Pieter.
  • 1612 - Block and Captain Hendrick Christiaensen returned to New Netherlands and brought back furs and the two sons of a native sachem in the Fortuyn and another ship outfitted by a group of Lutheran merchants.
  • On March 27, 1614, the States General, the governing body of the Dutch Republic, to issue a statement saying that the discoverers of new countries, harbors, and passages would be given an exclusive patent good for four voyages undertaken within three years to the territories discovered, if the applicant should submit a detailed report within 14 days after his return.
  • On October 11, 1614, Block, Hendrick Christiaensen, and a group of twelve other merchants presented to the States General a petition to receive exclusive trading privileges for the area.
  • Their company, the newly formed New Netherland Company, was granted exclusive rights for three years to trade between the 40th parallel north and the 45th parallel north.
  • After his return to Amsterdam in July 1614, Adriaen Block did not return to the New World again.
  • In 1615, Block was named Commissary-General of three men-of-war and eleven whale ships sent to Spitsbergen by the Noordsche Compagnie.
  • He remained sailing until his death in 1627.
  • He was buried in Amsterdam's Oude Kerk in a grave next to his wife.

Map Study

Using the handout, label Block's map. Use the image below to see details on the map.
  • Click on the interactive map below.
  • Use the block tool on the right to explore the parts of the map.
  • Locate the Compass Rose and the scale of distance.
  • Zoom in by clicking on the center of the image.
  • Scroll down to the green section.
  • Locate Long Island, the land of the Mahicans, the Wapanoos and the Iroquois.
Adriaen Block Map 1614.png
Cornelius Doetsz and Adriaen Block's map. Click on the interactive map to zoom in for details. Be sure to locate New York Harbor.


  1. What do you think was the Dutch traders in Amsterdam felt when they first saw this map?
  2. How did the Dutch traders react when they first learned that the natives were friendly?
  3. What was the impact of the news that the natives had furs to trade?
  4. What details do you see on the map that are interesting to you?