Is your surname Kieft?

Research the Kieft family

Willem Kieft's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Willem Kieft

Birthplace: Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Nederland
Death: Died
Cause of death: Princess Amelia shipwreck near Swansea, Wales
Immediate Family:

Son of Gerrit Willemsz Kieft and Machteld Jansdr Huydecoper
Brother of Elisabeth Kieft

Managed by: Douglas Arthur Kellner
Last Updated:

About Willem Kieft

Willem Kieft was a Dutch merchant and director-general of New Netherland (of which New Amsterdam, later New York City, was the primary settlement), from 1638 until 1647. He formed the council of twelve men, the first representative body in New Netherland, but ignored its advice. Kieft attempted to tax and eventually drive out the Native Americans. He ordered attacks Pavonia and Corlears Hook on February 25, 1643 in a massacre (129 Dutch soldiers killed 120 Indians, including women and children), followed by retaliations resulting in what would become known as Kieft's War (1643–1645). The war took a huge toll on both sides. Kieft was fired by the Dutch West India Company Board of Directors. He died September 27, 1647 in the Princess Amelia shipwreck near Swansea, Wales, while en route to Amsterdam to defend himself along with many of his opponents as well, including the Rev. Everardus Bogardus. His archive was also lost, so his exact role cannot be established apart from what his opponents wrote of him.

view all

Willem Kieft's Timeline

September 1597
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Nederland
September 27, 1647
Age 50