Wilmington in New Castle County, Delaware — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The New World
William Penn, speaking of the Lenni Lanape Indians of the Delaware Valley
More than 10,000 years ago, the earliest settlers of Delaware arrived from Asia emigrating across the Bering Straits. After the the Ice Age, it was the "original people," as the Lenape called themselves, who summer-camped on the river called Minquas, after the Susquehanni Valley tribe that had brought the beaver trade to this area. It was this river that the Swedes later named Christina after their child queen. The Lenape fished the streams, hunted game in the forests and tidal marshes, and gathered wetland plants for food and weaving. The Lenape, who were greatly respected by other area tribes for their skills at peacemaking, befriended the new settlers from Sweden. The Swedes and the Lenape established a level of peaceful coexistence unusual in the New World.
[Captions, clockwise from top]
The Swedes settled Wilmington and began a lucrative trade in beaver pelts and other furs. But the beaver population was soon exhausted, and settlers had to rely on farming. It was the Lenape
Today few people realize that the long cabin, the most "American" of building types, was introduced to the New World by European settlers. The cabin which now stands near Fort Christina resembles the one built in 1638 by Swedish-Finns in the colony of New Sweden. As Americans migrated to settle the south and west, the log cabin continued to provide shelter on land cleared of trees for farming.
The Kalhmer Nyckel, the flagship of the first expedition to bring European settlers to the shores of Delaware in 1638, is shown here in the upper right.
A sister ship of the expedition to New Sweden, the Fögel Grip, sailed on to trade in the Caribbean. When the Fögel Grip returned to New Sweden Antoni Swart (Black Antnoy) was aboard. He was the first black inhabitant of Delaware, and ultimately became an ssitant to Johan Printz, who was Governor of New Sweden from 1643 to 1653.
On September 28, 1997, three hundred and fifty-three years after the first Swedish vessel landed on the Christina River, the replica ship Kalmar Nyckel was launched. During the summer months, the ship is frequently moored at Riverfront Wilmington.
The tapestry from the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia commemorates the arrival in 1638, of Peter Minuit, Director of the New Sweden Company and Commander of the Swedish Settlement.
Erected by Riverfront Wilmington.
Location. 39° 43.956′ N, 75° 33.646′ W. Marker is in Wilmington, Delaware, in New Castle County. Marker can be reached from Justison Stret south of Shipyard Drive, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 720 Justison Street, Wilmington DE 19801, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Vic Willis (approx. ¼ mile away); Bill McGowan (approx. ¼ mile away); Historic Shipyards (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Historic Shipyards (approx. 0.3 miles away); Delaware Korean War Killed In Action Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Underground Railroad (approx. 0.4 miles away); South Market Street Bridge (approx. 0.4 miles away); South Market Street Bridge Dedicated in Honor of Senator John E. Reilly, Sr. (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wilmington.
Categories. • Native Americans • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 4, 2019. This page originally submitted on March 2, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 30 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on March 2, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.