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The Dutch former Colonies

USA Nieuw-Nederland: (Nieuw-Zweden) (1614-1674)


By the middle of the 17th century, the Realm of Sweden had reached its greatest territorial extent and was one of the great powers of Europe. Sweden then included Finland and Estonia along with parts of modern Russia, Poland, Germany and Latvia. The Swedes sought to expand their influence by creating an agricultural (tobacco) and fur-trading colony to bypass French and British merchants. The New Sweden Company was chartered and included Swedish, Dutch and German stockholders. The first Swedish expedition to North America embarked from the port of Gothenburg in late 1637. It was organized and overseen by Clas Fleming, a Swedish Admiral from Finland. A Dutchman, Samuel Blommaert, assisted the fitting-out and appointed Peter Minuit to lead the expedition. The members of the expedition, aboard the ships Fogel Grip and Kalmar Nyckel, sailed into Delaware Bay, which lay within the territory claimed by the Dutch, passing Cape May and Cape Henlopen in late March 1638, and anchored at a rocky point on the Minquas Kill that is known today as Swedes' Landing on March 29, 1638. They built a fort on the present site of the city of Wilmington, which they named Fort Christina, after Queen Christina of Sweden. In the following years, 600 Swedes and Finns, the latter group mainly Forest Finns from central Sweden (and also a number of Dutchmen and Germans in Swedish service) settled in the area. The settlement constituted an invasion of New Netherland, since the river and the land in question had previously been explored and claimed for that colony.

Peter Minuit was to become the first governor of the newly established colony of New Sweden. Having been the Director of the Dutch West India Company, and the predecessor of then-Director William Kieft, Minuit knew the status of the lands on either side of the Delaware River at that time. He knew that the Dutch had established deeds for the lands east of the river (New Jersey), but not for the lands to the west (Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania). Minuit made good on his appointment by landing on the west bank of the river and gathered the sachems of the local Delawares tribe. Sachems of the Susquehannocks were also present. They held a conclave in his cabin on the Kalmar Nyckel, and persuaded the sachems to sign some deeds he had prepared for the purpose to solve any issue with the Dutch. This deed has not survived. The Swedes said the segment of land purchased included the land on the west side of the South River from just below the Schuylkill; in other words, today's Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. The Delaware sachem Mattahorn, who was one of the participants in the transaction, stated that only as much land as was contained within "six trees" was purchased and the rest of the land occupied by the Swedes was stolen.Director Kieft objected to the landing of the Swedes, but Minuit ignored his missive because he knew that the Dutch were militarily impotent at the moment. Minuit finished Fort Christina during 1638, then departed to return to Stockholm for a second load, and made a side trip to the Caribbean to pick up a shipment of tobacco for resale in Europe to make the voyage profitable. Minuit died while on this voyage during a hurricane at St. Christopher in the Caribbean. The official duties of the first governor of New Sweden were carried out by Lieutenant (then raised to the rank of Captain) Måns Nilsson Kling, until the next governor was chosen and brought in from the mainland Sweden, two years later.


Zuid-rivier-(Delaware-river) eploitation