New Sweden was a small Swedish colony established in 1638 at Fort Christina (present-day Wilmington, Delaware). The Swedes gradually extended the settlement from the mouth of Delaware Bay (south of Wilmington) northward along the Delaware River as far as present-day Trenton, New Jersey. The settlers were mostly fur traders; the Swedes often acted as middlemen between Native American trappers and the English. But 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. 1610–72). For nine years the territory was part of the Dutch colonial claims called New Netherlands. In 1664 the English claimed it along with 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 America.
See also: Colonies (Proprietary), Delaware, New Netherlands, New Jersey
New Sweden, Swedish colony (1638–55), on the Delaware River; included parts of what are now Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. With the support of Swedish statesman Axel Oxenstierna, Admiral Klas Fleming (a Finn), and Peter Minuit (a Dutchman), the New Sweden Company was organized in Sweden in 1633. Two ships (the Kalmar Nyckel and the Fogel Grip), commanded by Minuit, reached the Delaware River in Mar., 1638. Minuit immediately bought land from the Native Americans and founded Fort Christina, where Wilmington, Del., stands. In 1643, Tinicum Island (at Philadelphia) became the colony's capital. About half of the colonists were Finns. Peter Stuyvesant, with a Dutch force larger than the population of New Sweden, took the little colony in 1655.