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Van Rensselaer Manor Papers

West India Company Bill of Lading

Insights into trade and commerce of the 17th Century can be found in documents called bills of lading, which are statements by shippers relating the quantity and condition of specific goods taken on board.

A statement of skipper Pieter Amilius of the ship Den Otter that certain goods bound for Jeremias van Rensselaer have been taken on board as cargo of this vessel that was operated by the West India Company. These goods, described as being dry and in good condition, included one case with duffels and blankets; one case with rope, pewter, and wax tapers; four aams (=40.5 gallons) of distilled liquors; and one case with glasses. Note the logo of the Dutch West India Company in the right margin.  Duffels were frequently part of the package of goods that were offered to the Indians in exchange for land.

Mix of printed and handwritten text with WIC logo in the corner

Bill of lading of goods shipped to New Netherland by the West India Company, 14 June 1656