More books showed up this week. See, as Craig has recently described, Beverwijck - or what is now Albany - was founded in the 1620s. In emails back and forth, we've been discussing and testing ideas around the meaning of brewing and the community in the 1600s and the 1800s. We have sorta skipped the bit in the middle for now. Which has led me to do a bunch of reading about the state of affairs affecting life where the Hudson and Mohawk rivers meet at the founding of the New Netherlands, just right of the buck on the map.
♦ In the early 1600s, Spain controls the Mississippi and France the St.Lawrence. The Dutch needed their own route into the interior of North America and there are not a lot out there. The English are not at this point nearly as successful in North American compared to the other European powers, challenged by the establishment and Puritan factions leading up to the Civil War. They were reaching down from Hudson Bay and making beachhead in places like Boston and Virginia. But English colonies were expressions of religious dissent as much as anything.
♦ The Netherlands had recently broke with its Spanish overlords and is entering a century of power based on global trade, naval power and liberty - relatively speaking. They sit on the north-south border of the beer-wine line as well as the Catholic-Protestant divide. They control the Baltic shipping trade and are extending their reach from Indonesia to the Caribbean. Their empire will last until the mid-1900s.
♦ The purpose of the Dutch colony on the upper Hudson River was not initially clear or, at least, singular as there was a tension between being a pelts and fur based enterprise or a self-sustaining agricultural colony. There was also the exploration of what was out there to explore and what there was out there to sell others. The opportunities around farming the Albany area may not have initially been obvious to the colonizers who were looking for furs to offset the dwindling Russian one.
The question in my mind now is whether all this trade got triangular. Have a look at this handy interactive map to see how the later pre-Revolutionary British colonial trade worked. People shipped stuff - including people - to other people to make a massive enterprise of the whole of the ocean shoreline. What is interesting is both how those triangular trade routes had a long history and also how that trade always seems to relate to booze. Clearly Caribbean sugar leads to British navy rum. Beer is sailed to Maryland in the 1630s. And in the 1670s, the English were bringing in malt for brewing into the Arctic as part of Hudson Bay Company operations. And earlier than that - definitely in the early 1600s and maybe even in the late 1500s - the masterless men of Newfoundland and their Bristol backers were shipping salt cod to Iberia, picking up wine and other goods and taking them back to England to be loaded again with supplies for Newfoundland including beer as well as malt.
So, if Albany has, as Craig establishes, a brewing capacity in the mid-1600s that is greater than local needs just as it did in the 1800s when they even sent beer to Newfoundland, is there any chance that those brewers were also part of a triangular trade in which the beer was sent to wherever Dutchmen with their beer based culture were imposing economic imperialism. If they are shipping everything else everywhere, why wouldn't their ship beer to where they lived but could not brew?