my pirate is your freedom-fighter
September 8, 2009 8:33 AM   Subscribe

The amazing story of Jan Janszoon van Salee who ended his life in New Utrecht (one of the early nuclei of todays New York). A tale that involves barbary corsairs, the sack of Reykjavik and Baltimore Ireland, slaves, conversion to Islam, capture by the Maltese Knights, escape, etc. etc. and finally New Utrecht.

On occasion of todays opening of the 400 year anniversary of the Dutch founding of New York
Tangentially previously mentioned in this comment
Among his descendants are Gloria Vanderbilt, Jackie Kennedy and Humphrey Bogart
posted by jouke (16 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
Favorited for the synopsis alone.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:36 AM on September 8, 2009

Hartelijk gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag Nieuw Amsterdam!
posted by The Whelk at 8:38 AM on September 8, 2009

Oh man, this sounds great, favorited for reading later.
posted by empath at 8:44 AM on September 8, 2009

Insta-favorited. Seems like now would be an appropriate time to use the "swashbuckling" tag as well.
posted by WidgetAlley at 8:47 AM on September 8, 2009

Cool post, but the article says he returned to southern Morocco and died there. Where do you find a reference to ending his life in New Utrecht?
posted by Shike at 8:54 AM on September 8, 2009

Fascinating. Thanks, jouke.
posted by Mister_A at 8:59 AM on September 8, 2009

Actually the corsairs took slaves in Vestmanneyjar, Grindavík and the Eastfjords, not Reykjavík. I didn't know the Dutch were involved.
posted by Kattullus at 9:07 AM on September 8, 2009

Shike, you're right. I sacrificed accuracy of the post for speed and conciseness since I was at work and wanted a short description that I wrote up from memory.
In my mind the essence is in the linked story, not in my concise rendition. Sorry for the mistake.
posted by jouke at 9:14 AM on September 8, 2009

His sons end up in New York
posted by The Power Nap at 9:29 AM on September 8, 2009

This was written by what seems like an amateur genealogist tracing his family lineage. As such, the writing is absolutely awful.

Ignore the pedantic 2nd paragraph which explains in detail what "toponym" means and when it would be used. In the 4th paragraph we get this:
About 1600 Jan Janszoon became a merchant seaman, and one of his ports of call was Cartagena, Murcia, Spain. He married a second wife in Cartagena. She was probably a Mudejar, a Muslim who belonged to a family employed by a Christian Spanish noble. Having two wives was permitted by Islam, the Muslim religion. Jan had several children by her, one of which was Anthony Jansen Van Salee.
Did Jan convert to Islam? Why or when? How does the author know he became muslim? Did he divorce his first wife? This is completely out of context and it's not until a few paragraphs down that we read "In 1622 Jan Janszoon is converted to Islam." What? Then how was he taking a muslim 2nd wife if he wasn't a muslim himself? Does the author even know?

The story itself is fascinating when you put it all together, but the haphazard writing means that you have to construct the narrative in your head, because the writer isn't capable of doing it himself or making sense of the various events.

The sack of baltimore (ireland) is a worthwhile story in and of itself which probably deserves an FPP if there hasn't been one already.
posted by deanc at 9:47 AM on September 8, 2009

Among his descendants are Gloria Vanderbilt, Jackie Kennedy and Humphrey Bogart.

And me!
posted by elsietheeel at 11:55 AM on September 8, 2009

Apparently the crown prince was not affected by any methylisation of his mothers DNA as a result of the hongerwinter.
Small wonder since she was in Canada during the war

Happy birthday New York. Enjoy the orange glow of the Empire State building.
posted by jouke at 12:44 PM on September 8, 2009

Having lived in Amsterdam, and New York, with a brother fluent in Dutch,and a niece with a Dutch father, and having a good appreciation for all things Dutch, ... still, orange?, I mean ORANGE?, all the good colors were taken?
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:35 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Brilliant. Enjoyed that a lot. Thanks.
posted by nickyskye at 6:33 PM on September 8, 2009

Allahu Akbar!
posted by BinGregory at 10:45 PM on September 8, 2009

Stickycarpet, I'll ignore the aspect of your remark that raises my patriotic hackles. I assume you're refering to the unpopularity of orange as a colour for clothing. Actually that is the reason why it's perfect as a national colour. When people are wearing their orange clothes on the occasion of koninginnedag, or of the national team playing for the world cup football, it creates this out of the ordinary atmosphere. Very silly and festive.
I wear my bright orange suit jacket proudly on these occasions.
posted by jouke at 6:39 AM on September 10, 2009

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