Exploration and Settlement


What were the Swedish colonial holdings?

The Swedish possessions consisted of a small colony called New Sweden, established in 1638 at Fort Christina (present-day Wilmington), Delaware. The Swedes gradually extended the settlement from the mouth of the Delaware Bay (south of Wilmington) northward along the Delaware River as far as present-day Trenton, New Jersey. The settlers were mostly fur traders, though there was farming in the colony as well. In 1655 the territory was taken by the Dutch in a military expedition led by director general of New Netherlands Peter Stuyvesant (c. 1610–1672). For nine years the territory was part of the Dutch colonial claims called New Netherlands. In 1664 the English claimed it and the rest of New Netherlands. Delaware was set up as a British proprietary colony, which it remained until the outbreak of the American Revolution (1775–83). New Sweden was the only Swedish colony in the Americas.


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