Swedes; Fort Christina erected

As noted in other posts, the first Swedish settlement in North America was called Fort Christina after the young Queen of Sweden.  It was located about 1 mile east of present day, downtown Wilmington, Delaware. As also noted in previous posts, the Swedes landed in Delaware Bay on March 29, 1638, on the Kalmar Nyckel and Fogel Grip under the command of Peter Minuit to establish New Sweden.

Because Peter Minuit had been very active with the Dutch colonies on the “North River” – present day Hudson River – he knew the terrain well. Based on this, he chose the site of Fort Christina because he considered it optimal for trade of beaver pelts with the local Lenape Indians. He also considered the site easily defensible, so he ordered construction of an earthwork fort in that location.

In 1640, Fort Christina’s earthworks were strengthened by Governor Peter Hollander Ridder to defend it against Dutch and Native American attacks. Subsequently, more Swedish colonists arrived to build homes and farms in the vicinity of the fort. But, the Swedes remained in constant friction with the Dutch. As noted in the Post about Fort Nassau, the Dutch moved it to present day New Castle and established Fort Casimir to menace the Swedish settlements. In 1654, the Swedes captured Fort Casimir. In 1655, it and Fort Christina were captured by the Dutch under Peter Stuyvesant, thus ending the “official” Swedish presence in North America.


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