New Sweden Colony
Did you know that the first European settlers in the Delaware Valley were Swedish? Few modern Americans know that before the arrival of William Penn in the Delaware Valley, European settlement had begun with the arrival of the Swedes and Dutch in the 1630s. The Dutch focused much of their attention on their settlements in New Amsterdam (New York). The Swedes settled their own colony, New Sweden, in what is now Delaware, southeastern Pennsylvania, southeastern New Jersey, and northeastern Maryland. The first Swedish settlers (and a few Finns) arrived aboard the Kalmar Nyckel in 1638 to settle along the Christina River near what is modern-day Wilmington. After purchasing land from the Lenni-Lenape Indians, the Swedes set up a thriving community based on fur-trading and farming. Today, visitors can step back into this forgotten period of American History with a trip to two of the oldest surviving buildings in the region: Old Swedes Church, built in 1698 and the Hendrickson House, built in 1690.
The Story of Old Swedes (Copyright 2000)
Reproduced with permission from Teleduction Productions, Wilmington, DE.