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Foreword[edit | edit source]

This article was designed to provide background on the New Sweden Colony of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania from its founding in 1638 to after its elimination by the Dutch in 1654. The article was originally written to support articles about descendants of the inter-related Brimberry, Gustaffson, and Anderson families, but should have general value for anyone interested in the genealogy of New Sweden's colonial settlers. Much of the orignal content of the article was taken from an article on the Brimberry family history by Jerry Brimberry Additional information has been taken from the wikipedia article wikipedia:New Sweden.

Replica of the Kalmar Nyckel at sea

A brief history of New Sweden[edit | edit source]

Influenced by the success of the English and Dutch colonies, the New Sweden Company was formed by a group of Dutch, German, and Swedish investors who persuaded Queen Christina to allow the company to establish a colony under the Swedish crown. Under this arrangement, the investors paid for the ships, supplies and other expenses while the Swedish crown provided royal sanction and a few soldiers to help defend its claim. In late 1637, the New Sweden Company's first expedition sailed from Gothenborg in the Kalmar Nyckel and a smaller sloop, the Fogel Grip. An exact sea going replica (see photo inset) was built several years ago by the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation.

Fort Christina & Swedes Landing (adjacent to Old Swedes Church)

The two ships reached Delaware Bay about March 29, 1638 after a brief stop-over at Jamestown, Virginia where records show that English officials reminded the Swedish company that the English crown claimed the area to the north (territory also claimed by the Dutch).

Undeterred, the New Sweden expedition entered uncharted Delaware Bay under the command of Peter Minuit. A German, Peter Minuit, had been the governor of the Dutch colony, New Netherland, from 1626 to 1631. Minuit, who joined the New Sweden Company after a dispute with his previous employers, is best remembered by his purchase of Manhattan Island from Native Americans for trinkets and beads.

The expedition built a fort on a tributary of Delaware Bay at Swedish Landing at the site of present-day Wilmington, Delaware. They named the fort Christina in honor of Sweden's twelve-year-old queen. New Sweden was the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley. The colony continued to grow over the next 17 years until it was seized under the force of arms by the Dutch in 1655, who in turn, later lost New Netherlands to the English.

Between 1638-1655, twelve additional Swedish expeditions sailed to New Sweden. Altogether, eleven vessels, and about 600 Swedes and Finns, reached New Sweden, which spread along both banks of the Delaware River into present-day Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Landing of the Swedes in 1638

Christina Vasa, Queen of Sweden (1626-1689)

Click on Image to enlarge Map of New Sweden Settlements

Colonial settlers and information sources[edit | edit source]

For more information about the history of the Swedes on the Delaware and individual Swedish colonial settlers, please visit Swedish Colonial Society and navigate to forefather family profiles. The narrator, who is a life member of the Swedish Colonial Society, joined the society on Måns Andersson, who as stated in the introduction to this family history, arrived with his wife and daughter, both named Brita, in 1640 on the second voyage of the Kalmar Nyckel.

Those interested in pursuing further information about the settlers of the New Sweden Colony may wish to review the brief bibliography provided to support various articles on this site concerning the colony and its settlers. This narrator is deeply indebted to the authors of these works, as well as the Swedish Colonial Society, the Holy Trinity (Old Swedes) Foundation, and the Historical Society of Delaware for preserving the history of the Swedes on the Delaware. However, all of us are especially indebted to Dr. Peter Stebbins Craig for researching, publishing, and making readily available biographical information about many colonial Swedes. A retired attorney, Dr. Craig is the official historian for the Swedish Colonial Society, a post he has gained through year's of careful, painstaking scholarly research of records in Sweden as well as the United States. His seminal work, The 1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware, is of particular value for genealogists descended from New Sweden colonial settlers.

GenealogyNew Sweden
Editors' NotesA Brief History of New Sweden
The Brimberry SurnameHoly Trinity (Old Swedes) Church
The Brimberry DNA ProjectSwedish Naming Practices
Ancestry of Mathias Brimberry17th Century Sweden
Ancestry of Mary AndersonGeography of New Sweden
Lineages of Mathias & Mary Brimberry's 7 Sons
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