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When you've got a lot of people together, it makes sense to pick someone to be in charge. As exploration expanded, individuals were chosen to oversee colonies and settlements. This section highlights those men (and some women), as well as the leaders and attendant ruling class -- nobles, peerage, wannabes and hangers-on --back home.
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Adriaan Valckenier

borndied
1695, Jun 61751, Jun 20
Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 1737 to 1741. Mainly remembered for his involvement in the 1740 Batavia massacre, Valckenier later died in a prison in Batavia (present-day Jakarta). In 1726, he became merchant and chief buyer (opperkoopman); in 1727 he was "Accountant General" (boekhouder-generaal) of the Dutch Indies; in 1730, he was appointe...
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Cross-listed in ExplorersMilitary

Pedro de Valdivia

bornactivedied
1497, Apr 171520-15531553, Dec 25
a Spanish conquistador and the first royal governor of Chile. After serving with the Spanish army in Italy and Flanders, he was sent to South America in 1534, where he served as lieutenant under Francisco Pizarro in Peru, acting as his second in command. In 1540 he led an expedition of 150 Spaniards into Chile, where he defeated a large force of indigenous n...
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Cornelis van Aerssen van Sommelsdijck

aka: Sommelsdijk
borndied
1637, Aug 201688, Jul 19
the first governor of Suriname after the establishment of the Society of Suriname in 1683. He was governor from 28 November 1683 until he was murdered by mutinous soldiers on 19 July 1688. Van Aerssen belonged to one of the richest families of the Dutch Golden Age. Van Aerssen van Sommelsdijck was Lord of Sommelsdijk, Plaat, Bommel, and Spijk. Through his Fr...
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Martin Van Buren

bornactivedied
1782, Dec 51837-18411862, Jul 24
an American politician who served as the eighth President of the United States (1837–1841). A member of the Democratic Party, he served in a number of senior roles, including eighth Vice President (1833–1837) and Secretary of State (1829–1831), both under An...
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Dirck van Cloon

aka: Dirk, Theodoor
borndied
16841735, Mar 10
Eurasian Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. He died of malaria at the age of 46. He was born in Batavia sometime in 1684. For his education and training he was sent to the Netherlands. He graduated in Law at Leiden University on 1 April 1707. He returned to Batavia on the clipper Donkervliet and spent some time in Dutch Coromandel. He was amo...
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Laurens Pieter van de Spiegel

borndied
1737, Jan 191800, May 7
Grand Pensionary of Zeeland (1785-1788) and of Holland (1788-1795). Van de Spiegel started a career in the Zeeland public administration at a young age. First he was mayor of Goes , later councilary of Zeeland (22-09-1785 - 24-04-1788). When the Prussian army had been restored to power in 1787 by the intervention of Prussia , William V of Orange-Nassau , the...
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Cross-listed in Military

Johannes van den Bosch

aka: Count van den Bosch
borndied
1780, Feb 21844, Jan 28
Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies (1830–1833), commander of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army, Minister of Colonies, and Minister of State. He was officer in the Military William Order. Van den Bosch enrolled in the army of the Batavian Republic in 1797 and was, at his own request, sent to Batavia in the Dutch East Indies as a lieutenant a ye...
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Justinus van der Brugghen

borndied
1804, Aug 61863, Oct 2
a Dutch politician
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Godert van der Capellen

aka: Baron van der Capellen
bornactivedied
1778, Dec 151808-18481848, Apr 10
a Dutch statesman from Utrecht. He was made Prefect of Friesland in 1808 and soon thereafter Minister of the Interior and a member of the Privy Council. At his advice, King Louis Napoleon abdicated the throne in 1810 in favor of his son, Louis II. Van der Capellen did not serve Napoleon I. Wilhelm I, King of the Netherlands, appointed him Colonial Minister a...
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Joan Derk van der Capellen

aka: Baron van der Capellen tot den Pol
borndied
1741, Nov 21784, Jun 6
a Dutch nobleman who played a prominent role in the revolutionary events that preceded the formation of the Batavian Republic. As a member of the Patriots and inspired by the American Revolution, he wrote the noted pamphlet Aan het Volk van Nederland ("To the People of the Netherlands"), pleading for a more liberal society and the end of the Stadtholder regi...
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Cross-listed in Legal

Aert van der Goes

borndied
14751545, Nov 1
a member of the House of Goes and a Dutch Grand Pensionary. He studied at the University of Leuven. Aert van der Goes was born in Delft, and was a lawyer and pensionary of Delft from 1508–1525. From May 1525 to January 1544 he was State Attorney (Grand Pensionary) of the States of Holland. He wrote the Register of Dachvaerden's Lands of the States of Holla...
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Anthonie van der Heim

borndied
1693, Nov 281746, Jul 17
There is very little information available about the details of his life. He was the Grand Pensionary of Holland from 4 April 1737 to 17 July 1746.
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Cornelis van der Lijn

borndied
16081679, Jul 27
Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 1646 until 1650. He went, in 1627, as Assistant to Batavia, Dutch East Indies aboard the Wapen van Hoorn. From 1632 to 18 January 1636 he was Accountant-General. In 1639 he became Counsellor-Extraordinary to the Dutch Council of the Indies. A year later he was appointed President of the Schepenrechtbank (a mari...
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Petrus Albertus van der Parra

borndied
1714, Sep 291775, Dec 28
Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 1761 to 1775. In 1728, he began his career at fourteen years old. As everyone had to start as a soldier, he began as a "soldaat van de penne", then became an "assistent" in 1731, and "boekhouder" (bookkeeper) in 1732. He had to move house in 1736 to take up a new job as "onderkoopman" (underbuyer/undermerchant)...
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Anthony van Diemen

aka: Antonie, Antonio, Anton, Antonius
borndied
15931645, Apr 19
a Dutch colonial governor. In 1616 he moved to Amsterdam, in hope of improving his fortune as a merchant; in this he failed and was declared bankrupt. After a year he became a servant of the Dutch East India Company and sailed to Batavia, Dutch East Indies (Jakarta), capital of the Dutch East Indies. On the voyage out, the East Indiaman Mauritius inadvertent...
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Anna van Egmont

borndied
1533, Mar1558, Mar 24
a wealthy Dutch heiress who became the first wife of William the Silent, Prince of Orange. Anna was born in Grave. As the only child of Maximiliaan van Egmond and Françoise de Lannoy, she was suo jure Countess of Buren and Lady of Egmond. She was also C...
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Rijcklof van Goens

borndied
1619, Jun 241682, Nov 14
the Governor of Zeylan and Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. He was the Governor of Zeylan from 12 May 1660 to 1661, then in 1663 and finally from 19 November 1664 to 1675 during the Dutch period in Ceylon. He was also served as Council Member of India during 1679. Van Goens’ managed to monopolize the cinnamon trade, get hold of the Malabar pepper...
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Floris Adriaan van Hall

aka: Baron of Hall
borndied
1791, May 151866, Mar 29
a prominent Dutch nobleman and statesman in the 19th century. He played an important role as representative of the Amsterdam trade and banking sector, and later as politician. He served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1853 to 1856, and again from 1860 to 1861.
Timeline (1)Links (1)


Cross-listed in Military

Carel Sirardus Willem van Hogendorp

aka: Count van Hogendorp
borndied
1788, Aug 151856, Oct 29
acting Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies in 1840–1841. After having distinguished himself in a mutiny on the warship Neptunus, he was appointed an officer in 1806 and placed as a ordonnan officer with King Louis Napoleon. 20 Dec. 1806 transferred to the 2nd reg. cuirassiers, he attended in May 1807 the siege of Dantzig under the marshal Lefèbvre ...
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Joan van Hoorn

aka: Johan
borndied
1653, Nov 161711, Feb 21
Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 1704 until 1709. In 1665, when he was still only 12 years old, Joan van Hoorn was already Under-assistant in the Dutch East India Company (VOC). From July 1666 until January 1668, he accompanied his father on a mission to China, where he was received by the Kangxi Emperor. Thereafter, Van Hoorn made rapid progre...
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Gustaaf Willem van Imhoff

aka: Baron van Imhoff
borndied
1705, Aug 81750, Nov 1
a Dutch colonial administrator for the Dutch East India Company (VOC). He served as Governor of Ceylon from 1736 to 1740 and as Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 1743 until his death in 1750 at Istana Cipanas. In 1725 Van Imhoff entered into the service of the Dutch East India Company in Batavia (modern-day Jakarta), then colonial capital of the...
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Cross-listed in Clergy

Johan Willem van Kleef

borndied
1562, May 281609, Mar 25
prince-bishop of Münster from 1574 to 1584, and from 1592 until his death, Duke of Gulik-Berg-Kleef. He belonged to the van der Mark house. In his youth he had a sickly and weak constitution. He was also mentally handicapped. In depressed moods he injured his servants and refused to eat or go to bed at normal times. This caused his doctors, counselors and f...
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Johan van Oldenbarnevelt

aka: Lord of Berkel en Rodenrijs, Gunterstein and Bakkum
borndied
1547, Sep 141619, May 13
a Dutch statesman who played an important role in the Dutch struggle for independence from Spain. Van Oldenbarnevelt was born in Amersfoort. He studied law at Leuven, Bourges, Heidelberg and Padua, and traveled in France and Italy before settling in The Hague. He supported more
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Reinier van Oldenbarnevelt

aka: van Groeneveld, Reynier
borndied
1588 ca1623, Mar 29
a Dutch political figure. He married Anna Weytsen, lady of Brandwijk and Gijbeland, in Delft in 1608. After the execution of his father in 1619, Reinier conspired with his brother Willem van Oldenbarnevelt and amongst others the Remonstrant preacher Hendrick Danielsz Slatius to assassinate stadtholder Maurice of Orange. The assassination attempt failed howev...
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Cross-listed in Military

Willem van Oldenbarnevelt

aka: Lord of Stoutenburg
borndied
15901636 ca
a son of Johan van Oldenbarnevelt. He was born in The Hague, where he was baptised at the court-chapel in November 1590. He first served as a captain of an Overijssel company of the Dutch republican army. He left for Paris in late 1607, together with...
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Willem van Outhoorn

bornactivedied
1635, May 41659-17041720, Nov 27
Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 1691 to 1704. He was born and died in the Dutch East Indies. His father was a Dutch East India Company (VOC) Buyer there. He was sent to the Netherlands to study Law at the University of Leiden. On 28 November 1657 he graduated in Law. In 1659 van Outhoorn returned to the Indies, employed as Underbuyer. He was ...
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Pieter Gerardus van Overstraten

borndied
1755, Feb 191801, Aug 22
Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 1796 until 1801. He was the last Governor-General of the Dutch East India Company, which was dissolved, bankrupt in 1799, but he remained in post as the Dutch state took over ruling its territories in the Indies. In that sense, he was also the first state appointed Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. Van...
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Cross-listed in Commerce

Stephen Van Rensselaer

borndied
1764, Nov 11839, Jan 26
a New York landowner, businessman, militia officer, and politician. A graduate of Harvard University, at age 21, Van Rensselaer took control of Rensselaerswyck, his family's manor. He developed the land by encouraging tenants to settle it, and granting them perpetual leases at moderate rates, which enabled the tenants to use more of their capital to make the...
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Cross-listed in ExplorersCommerce

Abraham van Riebeeck

borndied
1653, Oct 181713, Nov 17
a merchant with the Dutch East India Company and the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 1709 to 1713. After his studies, he became a merchant with the Dutch East India Company and travelled on the ship De Vrijheyt to Batavia, where he arrived 1677. He was Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 1709 until his death in 1713. He was a...
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Jan van Riebeeck

borndied
1619, Apr 211677, Jan 18
a Dutch colonial administrator and founder of Cape Town. He was head of the VOC trading post in Tonkin, Indochina. In 1643, Riebeeck travelled with Jan van Elseracq to the VOC outpost at Dejima in Japan. Seven years later in 1650, he proposed selling hides of South African wild animals to Japan.
Timeline (2)Links (1)


Jeremias van Riemsdijk

borndied
1712, Oct 181777, Oct 3
a Dutch colonial administrator who served as Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 1775 to 1777. He entered service with the Dutch East India Company as a sergeant left for the Indies, aboard the van de Proostwijk, on 25 February 1735. Very shortly after his arrival in Batavia/Jakarta on 14 September 1735, he entered the civil (as opposed to ...
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Simon van Slingelandt

borndied
1664, Jan 141736, Jul 17
Grand Pensionary of Holland from 17 July 1727 to 1 December 1736. Before becoming grand pensionary Van Slingelandt wrote several reports as preparation for the second Great Assembly (Dutch Tweede Grote Vergadering, a kind of Constitutional Convention to reform the constitution of the Dutch Republic, 28 November 1716 – 14 September 1717), in which he propos...
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Christoffel van Swoll

borndied
1668, Apr 251718, Nov 12
Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 17 November 1713 until his death. On 19 December 1683, he left for Batavia on board the Juffrouw Anna as an assistant in the service of the Dutch East India Company. He arrived in Batavia on 19 June 1664 and began working in the General Secretariat. He was regularly promoted. In 1686 he was promoted to A...
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Vasili IV

borndied
1552, Sep 221612, Sep 12
Tsar of Russia between 1606 and 1610 after the murder of False Dmitriy I. His reign fell during the Time of Troubles. He was the only member of House of Shuysky to become Tsar and the last member of the Rurikid dynasty to rule.
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Cross-listed in Explorers

Diego Velasquez de Cuellar

bornactivedied
14651490s-1510s1524, Jun 12
a Spanish conquistador. He first visited the New World with the crew of Christopher Columbus' second voyage in 1493. He conquered and governed Cuba on behalf of Spain.
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Cross-listed in Naval

Edward Vernon

borndied
1684, Nov 121757, Oct 30
a British naval officer. He had a long and distinguished career, rising to the rank of admiral after 46 years service. As a vice admiral during the War of Jenkins' Ear, in 1739 he was responsible for the capture of Porto Bello, seen as expunging the failure of Admiral Hosier there in a previous conflict. However, his later amphibious operation against Cartag...
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Denmark Vesey

borndied
1767 ca1822, Jul 2
a literate, skilled carpenter and leader among African Americans in Charleston, South Carolina. He is notable as the accused and convicted ringleader of "the rising," a major potential slave revolt planned for the city in June 1822; he was executed. Likely born into slavery in St. Thomas, he served a master in Bermuda for some time before being brought to Ch...
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Victor Amadeus II

aka: King of Sardinia, King of Sicily, Duke of Savoy, Marquis of Saluzzo, Duke of Montferrat, Prince of Piedmont, Count of Aosta, Moriana and Nice.
bornactivedied
1666, May 141675-17301732, Oct 31
Duke of Savoy from 1675 to 1730. Victor Amadeus II undertook sweeping administrative reforms within Savoy. In 1696 he established a system of intendants, based on the French model, responsible for collecting taxes and law enforcement. In 1697 he began a land survey which was largely completed by 1711, the Perequazione, to examine the land holdings and privil...
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Cross-listed in Clergy

Queen Victoria

aka: Alexandrina Victoria
bornactivedied
1819, May 241837-19011901, Jan 22
Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (and Supreme Governor of the Church of England) from 20 June 1837 until her death. Her reign of 63 years and seven months is known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of ...
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Cross-listed in ExplorersWriters

Gaspar Perez de Villagra

aka: Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá
borndied
15551620
a captain and legal officer (procurador general) in the Juan de Oñate expedition that first colonized Santa Fe de Nuevo México in 1598. Between 1601 and 1603, he served as the Alcalde mayor of the Guanacevi mines in what is now the Mexican state of Durango. He is better known for his authorship of Historia de la Nueva México, published in 1610.
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Cross-listed in WritersPhysiciansScientists

Rudolf Virchow

borndied
1821, Oct 131902, Sep 5
a German doctor, anthropologist, pathologist, prehistorian, biologist, writer, editor, and politician, known for his advancement of public health. He is known as "the father of modern pathology" because his work helped to discredit humourism, bringing more science to medicine. He is also known as the founder of social medicine and veterinary pathology, and t...
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Cross-listed in Clergy

Christoph Bernhard von Galen

borndied
1606, Oct 121678, Sep 19
Prince-bishop of Münster. He was born into a noble Westphalian family. Reduced to poverty through the loss of his paternal inheritance, he took holy orders; but this did not prevent him from fighting on the side of Emperor Ferdinand III during the concluding stages of the Thirty Years' War. In 1650, he succeeded Ferdinand of Bavaria, Archbishop of Cologne,...
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