Adriaen van der Donck was a lawyer and landowner in New Netherland,
for whom the city of Yonkers, New York is named. In addition to being
the first lawyer in the Dutch colony, he was a leader in the political
life of New Amsterdam, modern New York City, and an activist for
Dutch-style republican government in the Dutch West India Company-run
trading post. His efforts resulted in a municipal charter for the
city, which was enacted on February 2, 1653. Enchanted by his new
homeland, Van der Donck left detailed accounts of the land,
vegetation, animals, waterways, topography, and climate. He used this
knowledge to actively promote immigration to the colony, publishing
several tracts, including his influential Description of New
Netherland. He is also recognized as a sympathetic early Native
American ethnographer, having learned the languages and customs of the
Mahicans and Mohawks.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Pope John XII crowned Otto the Great as Holy Roman Emperor, the first
in nearly 40 years.
The Mexican-American War ended with the signing of the Treaty of
Guadalupe Hidalgo, granting the United States the Mexican Cession.
Medical supplies to combat an outbreak of diphtheria reached Nome,
Alaska on dog sleds, inspiring the annual Iditarod race across Alaska.
World War II: The Battle of Stalingrad concluded with 91,000 tired and
starving German soldiers taken captive by the Red Army.
President F.W. de Klerk declared the end of Apartheid in South Africa.
Wikiquote of the day:
"There is a spirit and a need and a man at the beginning of every
great human advance. Every one of these must be right for that
particular moment of history, or nothing happens." -- Coretta Scott