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.