Did Sweden Ever Try to Colonize North America?

In the early 17th century, many European countries were scrambling to put down roots in North America, including France, Spain, England and Holland. In the midst of this colonization frenzy, Sweden decided to claim a piece of the New World for itself. New Sweden was the last of the European colonial empires to settle in North America, in parts of Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but Swedish settlers were hard to come by, and the endeavor lasted less than 20 years.

Thanks for the log cabins:

  • Swedish ships set sail in late 1637 with about 25 colonists. By March 1638, the vessels had traveled up the Delaware River and dropped anchor near modern-day Wilmington, Del.

  • There were turf battles with the Dutch almost from the start, culminating in a 1655 Delaware battle during the Second Northern War that effectively wiped out New Sweden as a settlement.

  • New Sweden’s settlers made several contributions to early American history, including the introduction of Lutheran Christianity to the New World, and the iconic log cabin.

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