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PIETRO CESARE ALBERTI

As far as we know, the first Italian American to land in New York was Pietro Cesare Alberti, a Venetian immigrant. Son of Andrea Alberti and Veronica Cremona, Pietro was born on June 20, 1608, in the height of the Republic of Venice's (a state that existed from the late 7th century until 1797) commercial dominance.

During the Thirty Years' War, troops from the Netherlands were stationed in Malamocco, a narrow inlet in the Venetian Lagoon, and they were infected by the Bubonic Plague. The plague spread rapidly, killing 46,000 of the city's 140,000 residents.

Pietro, who was 27, decided to seek a new life in the New World. He arrived in New Amsterdam on June 2, 1635Before reaching the New World, his ship went down the West Coast of Africa past the mouth of the Congo, across the Atlantic to Brazil, to Cayenne, Guiana, to the West Indies and then to Virginia. The Captain had threatened to land Pietro in Cayenne, Guiana, but he hung on until the final port of New Amsterdam, where he promptly left the ship. Pietro is said to have sued the Captain and finally reclaimed part of his unpaid wages.

In 1642 he married a Dutch huguenot woman named Judith Manje (also Magnee) and they went to live in a home on Broad Street, Manhattan. Pietro was called Cicero Piere, Cicero Alberto, Peter the Italian, Caesar Albertus, Pieter Mallenmook, etc.

By 1639, four years after his arrival, Pietro had contacted a Pieter Montfoort, a large tobacco landowner, with whom he negotiated for a portion of the former's land. Four years later Alberti secured a deed of ownership for the land from the Director General and Council of New Amsterdam then the legal government. In 1646, the Alberti-Manje family abandoned their home on Broad Street in Manhattan and moved to Alberti's plantation property on Long Island, today an area from the Fort-Green section of Brooklyn to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

They had seven children between the years of 1643 and 1654. One died as an infant, but the other six were still alive when both Peter Caesar and his wife Judith were killed in an Indian raid on November 9, 1655.

The Dutch authorities took charge of the six living children, appointed a guardian, and made a favorable lease of the plantation on Long Island. The records show that all of the children married. In 1695, two of the sons, Jan and Willem, sold the business. In the course of several generations, his descendants were generally called by the surname Albertus, finally Burtus and Burtis, which was finally anglicized to Albertis, thus retaining the original Italian name Alberti.

SOURCE:

Wikipedia

http://www.italianhistorical.org/page63.html

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