New Amsterdam, Manhattan ca. 1658. By Len Tantillo (born 1947), an artist in the tradition of the Dutch masters of the 17th century who reinvents places in the common history of New York.
Today is Dutch-American Heritage Day to commemorate the ‘First Salut’ of November 16, 1776, when Commander Johannes de Graaff of St. Eustatius decided to return the salute fire of the visiting American brig Andrew Doria by firing the cannons of Fort Oranje, the first international acknowledgment of the independence of the United States.
The island of St. Eustatius sold arms and ammunition to anyone willing to pay, it was one of the few places from which the rebellious British Thirteen Colonies of North America could obtain weaponry.
The British took this seriously; in 1778 The Viscount Stormont claimed in British Parliament that "if St. Eustatius had sunk into the sea three years before, the United Kingdom would already have dealt with George Washington".
next episode: Gene's birthday