chapter  2
The Rise of Cities in the British Colonies
Pages 30

Black slaves were also part of New Amsterdam's multicultural mix. The company brought them to the colony from West Africa and the Caribbean. An African-Dutch culture emerged, in which black residents of New Amsterdam spoke Dutch, used Dutch names, and followed some European customs, while still retaining African traditions. Company practice allowed slaves to purchase "half freedom," a state in which they could marry, own property, and work for wages like other hired laborers or craftspeople. By 1664 New Amsterdam had about 300 African inhabitants. About one-fifth of them were free.