William Penn

William Penn (1644-1718)

Founder of Pennsylvania

He was given the territory by Charles II of England, because of a debt to his father.
Penns mother came from Rotterdam, which town he visited several times to promote his enterprize. He even had an agent here by the name of Benjamin Furly.

As we can see at the right he used every means of advertising, here we see a title-page, translated from English into Dutch, for propaganda purpose. Being a Quacker himself, he emphasized the freedom of confession in the new land.

In 1683 the first group of German emigrants left Rotterdam with the ship "Concorde" to settle in Germantown(!) PA.
Under the Navigation Act, which forbid the Dutch ships to sail to British colonies, the passage was entirely in the hands of the English.
While waiting for passage they had to stay outside Rotterdam (near Kralingen), sometimes up to six weeks, often not even with a roof over their head.
The need and poverty of the emigrants was great and the death rate so high that the churchyard in Kralingen had no more room for burials, the corpses had to be brought to places on the other side of the river Maas.
Ten thousands of German and Swiss Qackers / Protestants / Lutherans / Mennonites etc followed with peaks in 1738, 1744, 1753 and 1765.

The number of emigrants was often so big, they had to wait on the river Maas (in Rhine ships) or on the borders of the river near Sint Elbrechts Chapel -under Kralingen- before they could enter the city of Rotterdam to embark the sea going vessels.


Back to Crossing