New Sweden: Governorship of Peter Hollander Ridder

The Swedes were the first Europeans to successfully colonize the Delaware Valley. As mentioned in earlier posts Peter Minuit, the Dutch explorer, was the first to establish a settlement at Fort Christina, which is present day Wilmington. Swedes were active colonists from 1638 to 1713, although the “formal” colony of New Sweden ended in 1655 with the surrender of Fort Christina to the Dutch.

Peter Hollander Ridder, a Swedish Naval Officer, was appointed Governor in 1640. He arrived in New Sweden aboard the Kalmer Nyckel and set about expanding the colonies by: requesting more colonist and skilled workmen who arrived in November, 1641 on board the Kalmar Nyckel – on a return trip- and the Charitas; and by purchasing more land from the Leanope Indians. These efforts expanded New Sweden up the Delaware River, north of present day Philadelphia.

After Johan Bjomsson Printz took over as governor in 1643, Ridder returned to Sweden to continue his military career in support of the expansion of the Swedish Empire in Europe. His last post was that of Governor of Vyborg – present day Leningrad – from 1666-1681. He died in 1692 at the age of 84, quite old for the 17th century.


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