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Usselinx

dutch, spanish and delaware

USSELINX, William, one of the greatest promoters of American colonization and founder of the Dutch West India Company, under which New Netherland, and of the Swedish West India Company, under which Delaware was settled: b. of Walloon parentage at Antwerp in 1567; d. 1647. In his early manhood he visited the Azores, which in 1431 had been rediscovered and colonized by the Netherlanders, and learned the of Spanish colonization. From this archipelago the ships bound for the New World made their starting point westward over the Atlantic the line between Sandy Hook and the Azores being almost that made by a ruler laid on the map. In this chief centre of colonial business Usselinx gained a rich ex perience, besides being in a Spanish prison for a time. From 1591, when he returned to the Netherlands, Usselinx began to.talk, and later to agitate, in favor of .Dutch trade with America. After his intense activity, by voice, pamphlets and general publicity, the Dutch West India Company, a mighty, armed corpora tion was formed in 1623 for activity against the Spaniards, who claimed nearly all of America. Under the company's flag great fleets were sent to South America and in 1624 30 families of , Walloons or refugee French-speaking l3elgians, to New Netherland. These began the settle

ment and the tilling of the soil in the area now comprising the four Middle States, .New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. In later life Usselinx entered the service of the king of Sweden and organized the forces that led to the Swedish settlement of Delaware. Re turning to Holland in 1641 he engaged in large operations in drainage and soil-reclamation, utilizing treasure dug up from sunken ships of the Spanish Armada. About 1647 he disap peared from view. Within 30 years past a portrait of him was discovered and hangs in the Rijks Museum at Amsterdam. Usselinx, who was very influential in France and Germany, was a citizen of the world, believing that God 'formed the earth to be inhabited,' replenished and subdued. In addition to the Dutch bibli ography consult G. M. Asher's (New York 1887).