Lenape-Colonist Land Conveyances in West New Jersey: Evolving Expectations in Space and Time

Jean R. Soderlund and Claude Epstein

Abstract


European colonizers and Lenape Indians brought different expectations to treaty conferences regarding land. Analysis of West New Jersey deeds and related documents shows how the Dutch, Swedes, and English in West New Jersey—like fellow colonists in East Jersey—sought full ownership of territory first along the bays, rivers, and mouths of large streams to access trade, transportation, and arable land, then moved inland. While the deeds were European documents, close scrutiny shows how the Lenapes of southern and western New Jersey delayed European takeover by imposing their own norms. The Lenapes viewed the conveyances as leases, expecting annual payments and actual settlement for continued tenure.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14713/njs.v4i2.129

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