.This is a personal explanation on how the term ‘Yankee’ has evolved.
I am a tenth generation descendent of Jan Kees and that makes me a Yankee.
Jan Kees was a very popular Dutch name during colonial days.
The first Dutch arrivals were probably freebooters, pirates or buccaneers who plundered and earned contempt from the colonial English.
A lot of Dutch migrated from their homeland to settle in America in the eighteenth century, notably New York and New England.
Haarlem and Brooklyn are place name examples of that.
The English were the colonial rulers of America until independence was established in 1776.
The English could not pronounce the Dutch language very well.
So at the beginning the term ‘Yankee’ was adopted to refer to all Dutch settlers in their colony.
And the name Jan Krees became synomyous with ‘Yankee’.
A song was written by the English called ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ to mock the American rebel in the fight for independence who wore a cap and stuck a feather in it.
It has remained a popular song ever since but with a complimentary rather than a derogatory meaning.
Later on during the American Civil War of 1861-1865, Confederates referred to the militants from the Unionist states as ‘Yankees’.
By the time of the second world war `1939-1945, ‘Yankees’ had come to refer to all Americans and had even be shortened to ‘Yank’.
Today, the term ‘Yankee’ is used to refer to the national baseball team which plays at the Yankee Stadium in New York City.
There has been a Yankee sports stadium in New York City since 1923.
The original stadium was replaced with a new one in 2009.
‘Yankee’ is probably not the most famous acronysm in American English but it must run a close second to Santa Klaus which is derived from the Dutch patron, Saint Nicholas.
Happy Independence Day Americans!