24.07.

1862: The U.S. President whose Mother Tongue was Dutch

1862: The U.S. President whose Mother Tongue was Dutch
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 24 July 1862
  • Martin Van Buren was born north of New York, in the area of the former New Holland. Many Dutch settled there, and New York was originally called Nieuw Amsterdam (New Amsterdam). Van Buren served as the U.S. president from 1837 to 1841.

The eighth president in American history, Martin Van Buren, died on this day in 1862.

His surname was of Dutch origin. In 1631, the Van Buren family moved from Buren (the Netherlands) to America. Buren is located east of the city of Utrecht. It is interesting to note that the famous Doorn Castle is located 7 or 8 kilometers from Buren, and the German Emperor Wilhelm II lived in this castle after World War I.

At the time, the Dutch inhabited the area north of the American city of New York. In fact, New York was originally called Nieuw Amsterdam (New Amsterdam), and the entire area was known as New Netherland (Nieuw Nederland). Martin Van Buren was born in the area of the former New Holland in 1782, i.e. after the United States had gained independence. The famous Sleepy Hollow (famous for horror legends about the Headless Horseman) is located south of Van Buren’s birth place.

It is interesting to note that Martin’s native language was Dutch. He is the only president in American history whose mother tongue wasn’t English. But, Van Buren was born as a citizen of the United States, and learned English.  He served as an official in the state of New York (the entire area of the former New Netherlands had been part of New York). Van Buren served as senator and governor of the mentioned state, and as Secretary of State of the United States.

He also served as Vice President of the United States, and as President (1837-1841). It is interesting to note that the Roosevelt family (two members of the Roosevelt family became American presidents), and the Vanderbilt family (one of the richest families in American history) were also of Dutch origin.

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