New Sweden Records


Date: 1650-1655 (1820) | Size: 1 Volumes


The New Sweden Company was founded as a joint stock enterprise in 1637 including Swedish, Dutch, and German investors seeking to trade in American furs and tobacco. Centered at Fort Christina, near present day Wilmington, Delaware, the colony expanded up both sides of Delaware Bay and the Delaware Reiver to present day Philadelphia, but capitulated to the Dutch in 1655.

This volume contains selected transcripts in Swedish and German of documents in Swedish archives relating to the settling and governance of the colony of New Sweden in Delaware and Pennsylvania, made at the expense of Jonathan Russel, United States minister to Sweden, 1820. The documents have all been translated into French, and were printed in Hazard's Register of Pennsylvania, vol. 4 (1829), 177-8,200, 314-315, 373-374, 398-400; vol. 5, 14-15, 219-221. No. 27 was not printed. Bound in at the end of the volume is Ch. 5 of Per Lindeström, "Description de la nouvelle Suède et des Indes Occidentales, 1691."

Background note

The New Sweden Company was founded as a joint stock enterprise in 1637 including Swedish, Dutch, and German investors seeking to trade in American furs and tobacco. Under the command of Peter Minuit, former governor of the New Netherlands colony in New York, the company sent two ships to America that arrived in Delaware Bay in March 1638. On the site of present day Wilmington, Delaware, the traders established Fort Christina, named in honor of the young Swedish Queen, and over the next 17 years, they settled over 600 colonists on farms and villages along both sides of the Delaware River, reaching north to present day Philadelphia and inland as far as Darby Creek. Old Swede's Church in Philadelphia was established by Swedish colonists in 1643.

Internal dissentions within the colony, however, plagued New Sweden under the ten year rule of Gov. Johan Printz, who was followed in 1654 by Johan Rising, who made the blundered by attempting to expel Dutch colonists from Fort Casimir (present-day New Castle, Delaware). The response of the Dutch governor of New York Peter Stuyvesant was swift and decisive. The arrival of 317 Dutch troops at the gates of Fort Christina forced the Swedes to capitulate and the colony came to a quick end.

Scope and content

The Records of the New Sweden Colony were selected and transcribed in 1820 from originals in Stockholm by the American minister to Sweden, Jonathan Russell. Among these are copies of the original charter of the New Sweden Company, instructions from the Queen to Governors Johan Printz and Johan Rising, and selected correspondence from the governors to the crown. Some are direct transcriptions in the original Swedish or German; most are also translated into French.

The transcriptions that comprise this collection appear to have been the result of a request by James Mease to the American consul in Sweden, William Shaler. When Shaler left office, he was succeeded by Jonathan Russell, who had them transcribed and translated into French. The translations are placed in document order at the beginning of the volume, followed by the Swedish and German transcriptions. Bound in at the end of the volume is an extract from Per Lindestrom's Déscription de la Nouvelle Suède, 1691.


Page numbers refer to the length of the French translations, which are usually approximately the same length as the Swedish or German transcript on which they were based.

Collection Information


Gift of Jonathan Russell, 1820, and Williams Jones, 1822 (Lindestrom extract).

Preferred citation

Cite as: New Sweden Records, American Philosophical Society.

Processing information

Recatalogued 2003.

Early American History Note

This bound volume contains a host of information on the early history of European settlement on the Delaware River. Translated from records in Stockholm in the early-nineteenth century, the correspondence provides a window into the governance of the colony of New Sweden. The translations are almost all in French and consist of correspondence from the Swedish government to the colony, and from colonial officials, such as Joseph Printz, to the Crown.

Indexing Terms


  • General Correspondence
  • Official Government Documents and Records

Geographic Name(s)

  • New Sweden -- History
  • Sweden -- Colonies

Personal Name(s)

  • Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689
  • Du Ponceau, Peter Stephen, 1760-1844
  • Mease, James, 1771-1846
  • Printz, Johan, 1592-1663
  • Rising, Johan, 1617-1672
  • Russell, Jonathan, 1771-1832
  • Vaughan, John, 1756-1841


  • Colonial Politics
  • Pennsylvania History
  • Philadelphia History
  • Swedes -- United States

Detailed Inventory

Material on provenance of collection
May 16, 18403p.
Du Ponceau, Peter Stephen, 1760-1844.
Letter to the American Philosophical Society

Concerning provenance of the transcripts of Swedish records. Includes 1p. postscript from John Vaughan and James Mease regarding same (May 16, 1840).

French translations
1640-1655 (1820)29 items
1. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
Passport for the vessel that Mr. de Horst and his fellow investors wish to send to New Sweden
January 24, 16402p.
2. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
To the Commandant, Commissioners, and Inhabitants of Fort Christina in New Sweden concerning various things
January 24, 16402p.
3. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
Letter regarding the treatment of Mr. Jost de Bogardt concerning Fort Christina
January 30, 16402p.
4. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
Obligation (reverse) given by Mr. Jost Bogardt
January 30, 16402p.
5. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
Octroi and privilege accorded to Sir Henri Hochhammer and Co. for the establishment of a new colony in the country of New Sweden
January 24, 16408p.
6. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
To resident Peter Spiring regarding privileges accorded to the people from Utrecht
February 1, 16402p.
7. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
Powers granted to the governor of New Sweden, Johan Printz
August 15, 16423p.
8. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
Treatment of Governor of new Sweden, Johna Printz shown to the 1,200 Risdalers
August 15, 16422p.
9. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
Instructions for the Governor of New Sween, John Printz
August 15, 164221p.
10. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
To the Royal Counsellors and Ministers regarding the budget for the governor of New Sweden
August 30, 16423p.
11. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
Letter of recommendation for Johan Pepgoye to the Governor of New Sweden, Johan Printz
November 2, 16431p.
12. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
Grant to Governor Johan Printz of Teneko, or New Gothenburg, in New Sweden, as a heritage in perpetuity for him and his heirs
November 6, 16432p.
13. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
Response to Johan Printz, Commandant of New Sweden
September 16, 16472p.
14. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
Letter patent for New Sweden
January 20, 16483p.
15. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
Grant to Johan Amundson Besk of a portion of New Sweden
16. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
Grant to Lieut. Sven Schute of lands in New Sweden
August 20, 16532p.
17. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
Resolution and declaration of Her Majesty of the affair tried before the Superior Court of Åbo regarding three persons condemned by edict for killing an elk on the Island of Åland
August 11, 16531p.
18. Regarding the lands posessed by the Company of the South possesses in America
December 16532p.
19. The College of General Commerce makes known by these presents...
November 16532p.
20. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
Grant in favor of the Commissioner of the College of Commerce, Johan Rising of lands in New Sweden suitable for cultivation by 20 to 30 peasants
December 12, 16532p.
21. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
Letter patent appointing Johan Rising Commissioner and Assistant Counsellor in New Sweden
December 12, 16532p.
22. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
To the Minsitry of Finance concerning money neede by Commissioner Johan Rising for his passage to New Sweden
December 12, 16531p.
23. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
To the Commandant of New Sweden Johan Printz regarding the Company of the South
December 12, 16531p.
24. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
Memorial to Commissioner Johan Rising upon his departure for New Sweden
December 12, 16537p.
25. Karl Gustaf.
Privileges granted to the American Company
December 23, 16542p.
26. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
Concerning commerce and navigation in New Sweden
March 16, 16542p.
27. Rising, Johan, 1617-1672.
Letter to the Count, regarding Fort Christina in New Sweden
July 11, 16544p.
28. Christina, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689.
Resolution for Johan Printz, Cammandant of New Sweden concerning his return
December 12, 16532p.
29. Account of the employees of the Company in New Sweden
Swedish and German transcriptions
1640-1655 (1820)29 items

See inventory above.

Lindeström, Per.
Déscription de la Nouvelle Suède et des Indes Occidentales ou Géographie de l'Amérique, dediée au Prince Royal depuis le roi Charles XII, Chapter Five

Abstract: Copy, of chapter 5 only, made from the original Swedish manuscript in the Royal Archives. Gives place names and description of settlements along the Delaware and adjoining creeks; Indian place names and some historical information, as well as the fabulous. Meant to accompany the map of Lindeström, a copy of which was presented with this manuscript.

Provenance: Gift of Williams Jones, 1822.