Delaware Colony: Wikis


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Delaware Colony
British colony
Capital Dover, Delaware
Language(s) English
Government Constitutional monarchy
Legislature General Assembly of Delaware Colony
 - Established 1664
 - Independence 1776
Currency Pound sterling

Delaware Colony was an English colony in North America. It was part of the Middle Colonies.


Dutch exploration, claims and settlement

From the early Dutch settlement in 1631 to the colony’s rule by Pennsylvania in 1682, the land that later became the U.S. state of Delaware changed hands many times. Because of this, Delaware became a very heterogeneous society made up of individuals who were both religiously and culturally diverse.[citation needed]

During his voyage in 1609 to locate the Northwest Passage to Asia for the Dutch, Henry Hudson sailed into what now is the Delaware Bay. He would name it the South River, but this would later change after Samuel Argall discovered the river in 1610 after being blown off course. Argall would later rename the river Delaware, after Thomas West, Lord De La Warr, the second governor of Virginia.[1]

Neither the Dutch nor the English showed any early interest in establishing any kind of settlement of this land. The first true attempt to settle the land came in 1631 when the Dutch sent a group of twenty-eight men to build a fort inside Cape Henlopen on Lewes Creek.[2] This first colony was established in order to take advantage of the large whale population and produce whale oil. However, by 1632, the entire colony was massacred by the native Indians because of misunderstandings.[2]

New Sweden Company

In March 1638,Fuck you Peter Minuit to lead the expedition.[3]

The first outpost of the Swedish settlement was named Fort Christina after Queen Christina of Sweden. Governor Johan Björnsson Printz administered the colony from 1643 until 1653. He was succeeded by Johan Classon Risingh, the last governor of New Sweden.[1] The end of the Swedish rule came during September 1655. Peter Stuyvesant, with a Dutch fleet, captured the Swedish forts, thus establishing control of the colony. New Amstel was made the center for fur trading and the colony’s administration headquarters.[1]

In 1674, after James, Duke of York, captured New Amsterdam, Sir Robert Carr was sent to the Delaware River. He took over New Amstel and renamed it New Castle.[2] This effectively ended the Dutch rule of the colony and, for that matter, ended their claims to any land in colonial North America. Delaware was thenceforth claimed by New York under a Deputy of the Duke of York from 1664 to 1682, but not actually held in the Duke's possession nor his colonists, a situation taken advantage of by the proprietors of Maryland.[2]

Durham County, Maryland

Between 1669-72, Delaware was an incorporated county under the Province of Maryland (see here). When the Duke of York made use of his charter on behalf of courtier William Penn, through conveyances made by the governor of New York, there was a brief conflict of interest between the Catholic, Tory and whose son was likewise a sometime Jacobite sympathizer Lord Baltimore with their friend the aforesaid Duke, but this was a hard fought court battle subsequently relegated to a proprietary dispute between the Calvert and Penn families, since both were held in favour by both the King and Prince James. The Mason-Dixon line is said to have legally resolved vague outlines in the overlap between Maryland and Pennsylvania, which pretty much awarded Delaware to Pennsylvania, although Delaware would eventually prove too independent for legislation north of New Castle (as well as that from the southerly Chesapeake Bay), leading to the separation from Pennsylvania and unique pioneer status as America's first state, tied to neither province's destiny. English speaking colonists in the area were more inclined towards the Calvert proprietorship, albeit Penn's religion and one of these men was the Irish Quaker forefather (James Nixon, 1731 arrival) of future President Richard Nixon, while his Vice President Gerald Ford owed his roots to a forefather not so distant, from Philadelphia, of the Devonshire King family.

New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties, Pennsylvania

The area now known as Delaware became owned by William Penn, the Quaker owner of Pennsylvania. In contemporary documents from the early Revolutionary period, the area is generally referred to as "The Three Lower Counties on the Delaware River" (Lower Counties on Delaware) or by the names of the three counties, all of which retained linguistic and cultural connections to those of Maryland; New Castle, which related well to North East England's Newcastle as the defunct Durham County, Maryland (both Newcastle and Durham were relatively close to the Calvert regional identity as that of Northern England--and as landlords in County Longford, of the Irish midlands, their barony shared some characteristics with the earlier English Catholic plantation by Mary I of England and Philip II of Spain in Queen's and King's counties), while Kent was contiguous with neighboring Kent County, Maryland and Sussex generally held a similar origin to Sussex County, Virginia, being the furthest removed from Penn's colony. The term "Lower Counties" refers to the fact that they were below the fall line, or farther downstream, on the Delaware River than the counties constituting and integrally within Pennsylvania proper, such as Philadelphia, Chester and Bucks counties.

After William Penn was granted the province of Pennsylvania by King Charles II in 1681, he asked for and later received the lands of Delaware from the Duke of York.[1] Penn had a very hard time governing Delaware because the economy and geology was largely the same as that of the Chesapeake. He attempted to merge the governments of Pennsylvania and the lower counties of Delaware. Representatives from both areas clashed heavily and in 1701 Penn agreed in having two separate assemblies. Delawareans would meet in New Castle and Pennsylvanians would gather in Philadelphia.[2] Delaware, like Philadelphia and unlike Maryland, continued to be a melting pot of sorts and was home to Swedes, Finns, Dutch, French, in addition to the English who constituted the dominant culture.


  1. ^ a b c d State of Delaware (A Brief History). State of Delaware. 2007-01-21.
  2. ^ a b c d e Faragher, John Mack, ed. (1990) The Encyclopedia of Colonial and Revolutionary America. New York: Sachem Publishing Associates, Inc., pp. 106-108.
  3. ^ A History of the Kalmar Nyckel and a New Look at New Sweden by John R.Henderson [1]

Other sources

  • Johnson Amandus. The Swedish Settlements on the Delaware, 1638-1664 (Philadelphia: Swedish Colonial Society, 1911)
  • Weslager, C. A. A Man and His Ship: Peter Minuit and the Kalmar Nyckel ( Kalmar Nyckel Foundation. Wilmington, Delaware. 1989)


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