New Sweden

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New Sweden colony in America, 1638, genealogy and family history research. Swedish American settlers brought the Lutheran Church and the log cabin to early Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey including Swedes, Finns, and Germans in competition with New Netherland, and New England. This article has the best documented list of place names for settlements in the New Sweden colony including a map.


New Sweden (Swedish: Nya Sverige) was a Swedish colony on the Delaware River on the Atlantic coast of North America from 1638 to 1655. It was centered at Fort Christina, now in Wilmington, Delaware, and included parts of the present-day states of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. About 600 Swedes and 300 Finns, Dutch, and Germans built the colony for the purpose of producing tobacco and furs.[1]

Map of New Sweden forts and settlements, 1638-1655, together with their modern names.

A lasting legacy of New Sweden was an interest among Swedish people in migrating to America. Another legacy was the log cabin, an idea from Sweden which became the most popular style of first-home on the American frontier.[1] New Sweden also brought some of the earliest Lutheran believers and their ministers to America.

From the first, the leaders of New Sweden knew they were settling on land claimed by the Dutch of New Netherland (New Jersey), and the British Lord Baltimore of Maryland (that is, Delaware). In 1654 New Sweden captured Fort Casimir from New Netherland in what is now New Castle County, Delaware. The next year, 1655, the Dutch counter-attacked, conquered, and absorbed all of former New Sweden, but granted it some autonomy. In turn, New Netherland was conquered and absorbed by the British nine years later in 1664.[1]


Place Names


Large Forts

Blockhouses (single log cabin forts)

Blockhouse probably like those used in New Sweden.

Permanent Settlements

Rivers and Creeks


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 "New Sweden" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at (accessed 7 November 2008).
  2. Amandus Johnson, "Detailed Map of New Sweden 1638-1655" in Amandus Johnson's book The Swedes on the Delaware 1638-1664 (Philadelphia: Swedish Colonial Society, 1915), 392.
  3. "Fort Nassau" in Probert Encyclopaedia of Architecture [Internet site] at (accessed 10 November 2008). "Fort Nassau was a fort erected on the site of the present town of Gloucester, New Jersey by Captain Cornelius Jacobsen Mey, representing the Dutch West India Company in 1623. It was abandoned and rebuilt a number of times, and finally abandoned in 1651."
  4. "Location of Fort Nassau" in Gloucester County, New Jersey History and Genealogy [Internet site] at (accessed 8 November 2008).
  5. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  6. John A. Munroe, Colonial Delaware: A History] (Millwood, N.Y.:KTO Press, 1978) [FHL book 975.1 H2mu], 16-18. “From there they proceeded according to instructions up the Delaware and into the Christina River, the Minquas Kill to the Dutch. Here, after reconnoitering the stream, Minuit met with Indians and purchased lands from Duck Creek (the southern boundary of New Castle County) to the Schuylkill. Here too a site was picked for a settlement that was called Fort Christina. It was at the Rocks, ‘a wharf of stone’ on the Christina about two miles from the Delaware River and above the junction of the Christina and its main tributary, the Brandywine, on the east side of the present city of Wilmington.”
  7. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  8. Albert Cook Myers, Narratives of Early Pennsylvania, West New Jersey and Delaware, 1630-1707 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1912; reprint Barnes and Noble, 1959; digitized by Google, 2008), 28 note 1. “Fort Nya Göteborg or New Gothenburg on Tinicum Island.”
  9. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  10. Munroe, 24. “When ordered to build a fort so situated as to enable the Swedes to control all shipping on the Delaware, Printz constructed Fort Elfsborg on the Jersey shore, south of Salem Creek.”
  11. Kartskiss öfver Nya Sverige 1638-55 (Efter Amandus Johnson)” a map image in the article “Nya Sverige” in Nordisk familjebok. Uggleupplagan. 20. Norrsken - Paprocki (Stockholm: Nordisk familjeboks förlags, 1914; digitized by Projekt Runeberg, 2002), 153-54.
  12. Kartskiss.
  13. “The Swedish Daler of Nya Korsholm (Philadelphia) Nya Sverige (Pennsylvania) - AD August 1646” in WampumWorld at (accessed 7 November 2008), quoting (an obsolete website). “Construction starts in the autumn of 1646 and continues to February 1647, opens February 1647, closed 1653.. . . The fort was erected on the south side of a very convenient island about a gunshot from the mouth of the Schuylkill.”
  14. Myers, 68 note 1, “Fort Nya Korsholm (1647-1653) was not at Passayunk but on the present Province or Fisher’s Island, to the west of the mouth of the Schuylkill River,” and page 68 note 3 “[Manäyungh] Another name for Fort Nya Korsholm or its site,” and page 69 note 7 “[Gripsholm] Thought to be a corruption of Korsholm...”
  15. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  16. Philip S. Klein, and Ari Hoogenboom, "A History of Pennsylvania, 2nd ed." (University Park, Penn.: Penn State Press, 1980; digitized by Google at, 11. "Stuyvesant in the spring of 1648 sent an expedition to build a fort on the Schuylkill further inland than any of the Swedish posts. This he called Fort Beversreede — 'beaver road' — for its purpose was to be the first point of contact with the Minqua traders. But before the summer had passed, Printz built a Swedish fort, 'right in front of our Fort Beversreede,' wrote an indignant Dutchman. This building stood between the water's edge and the Dutch blockhouse, its back wall standing just twelve feet from the palisade gate of Fort Beversreede. The Indians thus found Swedes at the anchoring place, and could not even see the Dutch post from the water."
  17. Peter Stebbins Craig, "Chronology of Colonial Swedes on the Delaware 1638-1712" in The Swedish Colonial Society [Internet site] at (accessed 10 November 2008). Originally published in Swedish Colonial News, vol. 2, number 5 (Fall 2001). "[1648] Dutch build Fort Beversreede on east side of Schuylkill, but Swedes thwart Dutch attempts to build dwellings in area."
  18. John Thomas Scharf, and Thompson Westcott, History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, vol. 2 (Philadelphia: L.H. Everets, 1884; digitized by Google, 2006), 1024. "The Dutch Fort Beversrede was built immediately opposite Minquas, or Mingo, or Eagle's Nest Creek, to command the trade in furs (skins) brought that way by the savages."
  19. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  20. "Fort Casimir" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at (accessed 7 November 2008).
  21. Klein and Hoogenboom.
  22. Johnson, Detailed Map. This blockhouse is mentioned in Johnson's legend, but not displayed on his map, probably because it was replaced by a Swedish fort.
  23. Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan, History of New Netherland, 2nd ed. (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1855; digitized by Google, 2006), 2: 79. "The Swedes had already destroyed the trading-house, which the former [Dutch] had built at Schuylkill, and built a fort in its place."
  24. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  25. Arthur H. Buffington, "New England and the Western Fur Trade, 1629-1675" Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts 18 (1917): 168 digitized by Google, 2007. "Regardless of the rights of the Dutch and the Swedes, two large tracts of land were purchased in southern New Jersey, and another tract on the future site of Philadelphia. The colony of New Haven extended its jurisdiction over this territory and lent the Company its full support. A settlement was made the same year [1641] at Varkens Kill (Salem, New Jersey), but as it was below the Dutch and Swedish posts and therefore unfavorably situated for the fur trade, a trading post was erected the next year near the mouth of the Schuylkill and above the rival posts. So seriously did this new post interfere with trade that the Dutch, probably with the aid of the Swedes, destroyed the fort and took away the settlers to Manhattan. The settlement at Varkens Kill was not disturbed, but it amounted to little. Some of the settlers perished of disease, some straggled back to New Haven, and a few stayed on, submitting themselves to Swedish rule."
  26. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  27. Buffington.
  28. Myers, 100. "There in 1642, on the present Fisher's or Province Island at the south side of mouth of the Schuylkill River, as Dr. Amandus Johnson makes clear in his Swedish Settlements, page 213, the New Englanders built a blockhouse, the first edifice definitely recorded as erected within the present limits of Philadelphia. Both the Dutch and the Swedes vainly protested against this competition, and finally the Dutch descended upon the place, burned the blockhouse and adjacent buildings, and carried the settlers to New Amsterdam."
  29. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  30. Scharf and Westcott, 1024. "Fort Mecoponacka (or Upland) was the second of the same name. Aerelius says that it was 'two Swedish miles from Christina and one mile from Gotheburg, on the shore, on the same plan with some houses and a fort).' Ferris suggests that the building was a block-house,—a place of refuge and defense, always, in those days, erected near a settlement. The site was somewhere about the present town of Chester. The time that it was built is unknown. It was before 1648."
  31. Eric G.M. Törnqvist, "John Printz" in The Swedish Colonial Society [Internet site] at (accessed 12 November 2008). Originally published in Swedish Colonial News, vol. 1, number 7 (Spring 1993). "Fort Christina was also repaired during the summer of 1643, and a blockhouse was built to the north at Upland (now Chester), an area in which many of the Finns settled."
  32. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  33. Amandus Johnson, The Swedish Settlements on the Delaware: Their History and Relation to the Indians, Dutch and English, 1638-1664 (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania, 1911; digitized by Google, 2007), 318-19. "New ground had been clearn 'in the Schuylkill,' where a strong blockhouse was erected for the safety of the settlers. The blockhouse probably served the double purpose of a dwelling house for the lieutenant and his men and of a storehouse and trading post. It was located on 'the island in the Schuylkill,' where Fort Korsholm was later built 'and a little stone cannon were placed upon it.'"
  34. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  35. Johnson, Swedish Settlements, 328. "A short distance south of Mölndal another blockhouse was erected about this time to which the name of Vasa was given."
  36. Carl K.S. Sprinchorn, "History of the Colony of New Sweden," in Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 8 (1884): 17. Digitized by Google, 2006. "To this intent he caused to be built some distance inland a strong block-house, 'capable of defense against the savages by four or five men well supplied with powder and shot.' The place received the name Wasa, and several 'freemen' settled there."
  37. "Philadelphia Neighborhoods and Place Names, L-P" in City of Philadelphia [Internet site] at (accessed 13 November 2008). "Nya Vasa - Swedish settlement west of Schuylkill River and north of Philadelphia International Airport, opposite Girard Point."
  38. Howard M. Jenkins, ed., Pennsylvania, Colonial and Federal: A History 1608-1907 (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania Historical Publ. Assoc., 1907; digitized by Google, 2007), 91. "Wasa was supposed to have been the place known as 'Kingsesse' (the township afterward known as Kingsessing, now in West Philadelphia), on Karakung, (Carcoen's), or Cobb's Creek."
  39. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  40. Jenkins. "Molndal is better identified. It was long known as 'the Swedes mill.' It stood on Cobb's Creek, near the place where the old Darby road crosses the stream."
  41. Johnson, Swedish Settlements, 328. "Several places were suitable for the erection of water mills, but the most convenient spot was some distance north of New Gothenborg, ‘no doubt on Cobb’s Creek, a tributary of Darby Creek,’ where the water offered sufficient power for the driving of a water wheel large enough to turn a pair of mill stones. Here Printz built a dam and erected a mill in the summer or autumn of 1646. A miller was also stationed there continuously for some years. The colonists took their grain to the mill, where it was ground for a certain toll, and the crop of 1646 was probably ground there. A blockhouse was built near the mill to protect the settlement, which was made there, and the place was called Mölndal, ‘because the mill was there.’"
  42. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  43. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  44. Klein, and Hoogenboom."But before the summer had passed, Printz built a Swedish fort, 'right in front of our Fort Beversreede,' wrote an indignant Dutchman. This building stood between the water's edge and the Dutch blockhouse, its back wall standing just twelve feet from the palisade gate of Fort Beversreede. The Indians thus found Swedes at the anchoring place, and could not even see the Dutch post from the water."
  45. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  46. National Park Service, "Ft. Christina, Delaware" in Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings [Internet site] at (accessed 15 November 2008). "The first Swedish expedition to the New World landed at this site about March 29, 1638. It erected the first fortification in New Sweden, Fort Christina, around which grew the first permanent white settlement in the Delaware River Valley and the nucleus of Swedish settlement."
  47. Amandus Johnson, The Swedes on the Delaware (Philadelphia: Swedish Colonial Society, 1915), 107-108. "Arriving at the mouth of the MInquas Kill, Minuit turned westward into this stream. He sailed up as far as present Wilmington, casting anchor before 'a wharf of stones,' where the fortress was later built."
  48. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  49. Myers, 69, note 3. "Chamassung or Finland, where the Finns dwelt, was on the west side of the Delaware River, between the present Marcus Hook in Pennsylvania, and the mouth of Naaman's Creek just over the circular state line in Delaware."
  50. Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, v. 3, (Philadelphia:M'Carty and Davis, 1834; digitized by Google, 2006), 11. "Chamassungh, or Finland. This place was inhabited by Finns, who had strong houses, but no fort. It lies at the distance of two German miles, east of Christina, by water; and, by land, it is distant two long Swedish miles."
  51. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  52. Johnson, Swedish Settlements, 372. "Johann Companius, who was called by the government to go to New Sweden in 1642, was placed on the new budget, with a salary of 10 R.D. a month and seems to have been looked upon as a sort of military preacher. He was stationed at Christina, but shortly after his arrival here he was transferred to Upland, where he settled with his family and conducted the service at New Gothenborg."
  53. Myers, 150. "If now [the land at] Upland, which belongs to the Company, and is large enough for the sowing of twenty or thirty bushels of grain, might be given to the parsonage for Nertunius, together with the small houses there, it would be very well; then he would need no other salary from the Company." and footnote 4, "Now Chester."
  54. Swedes and Finns settled on the New Jersey side of the Delaware river as early as 1642 at Raccoon Creek. The first Swedish Lutheran minister to arrive in 1643, John Campanius, apparently described the luxurious growth of tobacco by Swedes between Raccoon Creek and Mantua Creek (Bridgeport) as mentioned in "Early History" in Gloucester County History and Genealogy [Internet site] at (accessed 10 November 2008).
  55. Trinity Episcopal 'Old Swedes' Church 1703-2007 [Internet site] at (accessed 10 November 2008)."Three years later [1641], Peter Hollander Ridder, the second governor of New Sweden, as the settlement in the Delaware Valley was called, purchased form the Indians the entire eastern side of the Delaware River from Raccoon Creek to Cape May. The first settlement by the Swedes was here on the banks of the Raccoon Creek in 1642, originally named Raccoon and later Swedesboro."
  56. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  57. Craig. "1652 - Printz seizes plantation of Lars Svensson (Lasse the Finn) on west side of Upland (Chester) Creek, claiming that Lasse and his wife were guilty of witchcraft and owed him money. Renames plantation Printztorp."
  58. Peter Stebbins Craig, "1671 Census of Delaware," in Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, 40 (Spring/Summer 1998): 229. "Printztorp fronted the Delaware River and extended from Upland Kill southwestward to Lamoco Creek.
  59. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  60. Johnson, Swedish Settlements, 2: 527. "Tequirassy, about one and a half mile below [New Gothenborg], with three plantations of 12 morgens cultivated land, buildings, and beasts . . ."
  61. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  62. Carol E. Hoffecker, et. al., New Sweden in America (Newark, Del.: Univ. of Delaware, 1995; digitized by Google), 252. "Tinicum Parish consisted of a central village near Fort New Gothenborg and another tiny one by the church on Tinicum Island, and a few settlements on the mainland to the southwest and northwest."
  63. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  64. Johnson, Swedish Settlements, 331 note 101. "Nya Korsholm. It was located on Province Island, called Drufweeijland or Manaipingh by the Swedes."
  65. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  66. Peter Stebbins Craig, "Nils Andersson and His Lykins Descendants," in The Swedish Colonial Society [Internet site] at (accessed 18 November 2008). Originally published in Swedish Colonial News, 3 (Fall/Winter 2006). "In order to provide a home for his new family, Mats Hansson became the first settler on Minquas Island, an island to the north of Tinicum Island, later surveyed as 468 acres. By 1660, Mats Hansson had given half of this island to his new son-in-law, Anders Svensson Bonde, who had married Anna Nilsdotter. The island would later bear his name and became known as Boon’s Island."
  67. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  68. Johnson, Swedish Settlements, 328.
  69. Sprinchorn.
  70. Philadelphia Neighborhoods.
  71. Howard M. Jenkins, ed., Pennsylvania, Colonial and Federal: A History 1608-1907 (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania Historical Publ. Assoc., 1907; digitized by Google, 2007), 91. "Wasa was supposed to have been the place known as 'Kingsesse' (the township afterward known as Kingsessing, now in West Philadelphia), on Karakung, (Carcoen's), or Cobb's Creek."
  72. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  73. Jenkins.
  74. Johnson, Swedish Settlements, 328.
  75. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  76. Johnson, Swedish Settlements, 527. "Aronameck, about one and a half miles from Vasa, 4 morgens cultivated land."
  77. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  78. Craig. "1651 - Dutch build Fort Casimir at Sand Hook (New Castle) and abandon Fort Bevers-reede in Schuylkill."
  79. Johnson, Swedes on the Delaware, 294. "In October, Novermber, and December the new freemen were ordered to clear their lands at various places, for the purpose of planting maize in the coming spring; and several fields at Sandhook, at Fort Christina and up at the [Christina] River were cleared and sewn for the benefit of the company with the grain which Mr. Lord had brought in . . ."
  80. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  81. Johnson, Swedish Settlements, 523. "The field at Fort Christina was plowed and manure was brought upon it . . . The land across Christina River [opposite the fort called sidoland] was [also] cleared and sewn with wheat . . ." and note 37. "The side land."
  82. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  83. Johnson, Swedish Settlements, 524. ". . .and several fields at Sandhook, at Fort Christina and up at the [Christina] River were cleared and sewn . . ."
  84. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  85. Myers, 173. "On the 5th, the Dutch ships went up to Third Hook where they landed their men, who then passed over the Timber Island, and thence over the great falls and so invested Fort Christina on all sides." and note 2 "Timber Island, on the north-east side of the Brandywine Creek, near Fort Christina."
  86. Johnson, Swedish Settlements, 526. "The free-men as well as also other servants fo the company [cleared] parts of their new lands at several places, namely about 9 tracts on Strandviken down at Ft. Christina, at Trefaldighet 7 tracts, at the Sandhook 2 tracts, on Amman's land up at the Kvarn Kill 3 tracts, two islands at Kingsessing and Timber Island at Ft. Christina."
  87. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  88. Johnson, Swedish Settlements, 526 and note 45. "'Strandviken' = The Strand-Bay."
  89. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  90. Johnson, Swedish Settlements, 526.
  91. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  92. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  93. Munroe, 16. “From there they proceeded according to instructions up the Delaware and into the Christina River, the Minquas Kill to the Dutch.”
  94. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  95. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  96. Johnson, Detailed Map.