Fort Nya Elfsborg

Fort Nya Elfsborg was a fortification and settlement established as a part of New Sweden. Built in 1643 and named after the Älvsborg Fortress off Gothenburg, Fort Nya Elfsborg was located on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River, between present day Salem and Alloway Creek.[1]

Kartskiss över Nya Sverige
New Sweden ca. 1650.


At the time of European colonization in the 17th century, the Delaware was known as the South River and the Salem River was known as Varkens Kill, or Hogg Creek.[2] The Dutch established a factorij at Fort Nassau on the east bank of the South River in 1626, and claimed the territory as part of New Netherland. Despite the claim, the colony of New Sweden was founded, in 1638, at Fort Christina on the west bank. In 1641, without having a patent, a group of 60 settlers (20 families) from the New Haven Colony (in today's Connecticut) purchased land along the kill and the Schuylkill from indigenous Lenape. In 1643, the Dutch forcibly disbanded their trading post on the Schuylkill opposite their fort.[3][4][5]

Fort Nya Elfsborg was built shortly after Johan Printz, governor of New Sweden, arrived in the colony on 15 February 1643, allowing the Varkens Kill settlement to remain if they swore allegiance to Sweden. He also built Fort Nya Gothenborg on Tinicum Island (to the immediate SW of today's Philadelphia), where he built his own manor house which he called The Printzhof.

Fort Nya Elfsborg had iron and brass 12pd cannons mounted on earth and wooden palisades. It was a Swedish-style three-cornered earthen redoubt with eight guns. Log farmsteads similar to those found in Sweden went up around the fort further downriver, so that Dutch West India Company ships coming up from the bay would have to pass them first.[6]

At that time, this area of the river was mostly swamp and the soldiers garrisoned there were inundated by mosquitos. Fort Mosquito (Fort Myggenborgh), as it was commonly nicknamed, was eventually abandoned, the soldiers succumbing not to enemy cannon fire, but bites. New Sweden burned down the fort after the Dutch built Fort Casimir across the river in 1651.

The actual site of the fort is now under water at Elsinboro Point. In August 2012, archeological surveys were undertaken to locate the precise location and any remains of the fort, without success.[7] There is a black stone monument outside the Elsinboro Township School. The stone block came from an old fortress in Sweden built in the 13th century.[8][9]


  1. ^ Fort Elfsborg (New Netherlands Project) Archived 2008-06-18 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Placenames of Salem County, NJ". West Jersey History Project. Salem County Historical Society. 1964. Retrieved 2013-07-25.
  3. ^ Chandler, Alfred N. (2000) [1945], Land Title Origins: A Tale of Force and Fraud, Beard Books, p. 242, ISBN 1-893122-89-1
  4. ^ Sheridan, Janet L. (2007). ""Their houses are some Built of timber": The colonial timber frame houses of Fenwick's Colony, New Jersey". University of Michigan Ann Arbor: 182. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
  5. ^ Howe, Henry; Barber, John W. (1844), Salem, NJ, New York: S. Tuttle, In 1641, some English families, (probably emigrants from New Haven, Conn.,) embracing about 60 persons, settled on Ferken's creek, (now Salem.) About this period, the Swedes bought of the Indians the whole district from Cape May to Raccoon creek; and, in order to unite these English with the Swedes, the Swedish governor, Printz, who arrived from Sweden the year after, (1642,) was to "act kindly and faithfully toward them; and as these English expected soon, by further arrivals, to increase their numbers to several hundreds, and seemed also willing to be subjects of the Swedish government, he was to receive them under allegiance, though not without endeavoring to effect their removal."
  6. ^ Discover Salem County (Elsinboro Township)
  7. ^ Brinkerhoff, George R. (August 23, 2013). "Searching for Elfsborg". Jersey Man. Archived from the original on November 5, 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-25.
  8. ^ Re-Creations of Swedish Colonial Life Begin In Jersey For 1988 Celebration (New York Times, May 3, 1987) [1]
  9. ^ Monument Dedicated June 6th 2004 (New Sweden Heritage Monument)


  • Johnson, Amandus. Instruction for Johan Printz, Governor of New Sweden, The First Constitution or Supreme Law of the States of Pennsylvania and Delaware. (translated from the Swedish with Introduction, Notes and Appendices, Including Letters from Governor John Wint. Philadelphia: The Swedish Colonial Society, 1930)
  • Weslager, C. A. New Sweden on the Delaware: 1638-1655 (Wilmington, DE: The Middle Atlantic Press, 1988).

External links

See also

Coordinates: 39°32′54″N 75°31′32″W / 39.54833°N 75.52556°W

Colonial history of New Jersey

European colonization of New Jersey started soon after the 1609 exploration of its coast and bays by Sir Henry Hudson. Part of the state was settled by Dutch and Swedish as New Netherland and New Sweden. In 1664, the entire area was surrendered to the English, and given its name. With of the Treaty of Westminster in 1674, they formally gained control of the region until the American Revolution.

Colonial history of the United States

The colonial history of the United States covers the history of European colonization of America from the early 16th century until the incorporation of the colonies into the United States of America. In the late 16th century, England, France, Spain, and the Netherlands launched major colonization programs in America. The death rate was very high among those who arrived first, and some early attempts disappeared altogether, such as the English Lost Colony of Roanoke. Nevertheless, successful colonies were established within several decades.

European settlers came from a variety of social and religious groups, including adventurers, farmers, indentured servants, tradesmen, and a few from the aristocracy. Settlers included the Dutch of New Netherland, the Swedes and Finns of New Sweden, the English Quakers of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English Puritans of New England, the English settlers of Jamestown, Virginia, the English Catholics and Protestant non-conformists of the Province of Maryland, the "worthy poor" of the Province of Georgia, the Germans who settled the mid-Atlantic colonies, and the Ulster Scots people of the Appalachian Mountains. These groups all became part of the United States when it gained its independence in 1776. Russian America and parts of New France and New Spain were also incorporated into the United States at various points. The diverse groups from these various regions built colonies of distinctive social, religious, political, and economic style.

Over time, non-British colonies East of the Mississippi River were taken over and most of the inhabitants were assimilated. In Nova Scotia, however, the British expelled the French Acadians, and many relocated to Louisiana. No civil wars occurred in the thirteen colonies. The two chief armed rebellions were short-lived failures in Virginia in 1676 and in New York in 1689–91. Some of the colonies developed legalized systems of slavery, centered largely around the Atlantic slave trade. Wars were recurrent between the French and the British during the French and Indian Wars. By 1760, France was defeated and its colonies were seized by Britain.

On the eastern seaboard, the four distinct English regions were New England, the Middle Colonies, the Chesapeake Bay Colonies (Upper South), and the Southern Colonies (Lower South). Some historians add a fifth region of the Frontier, which was never separately organized. A significant percentage of the Indians living in the eastern region had been ravaged by disease before 1620, possibly introduced to them decades before by explorers and sailors (although no conclusive cause has ever been established).

Elsinboro Township, New Jersey

Elsinboro Township is a township in Salem County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 1,036, reflecting a decline of 56 (-5.1%) from the 1,092 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 78 (-6.7%) from the 1,170 counted in the 1990 Census.Elsinboro's first mention dates back to May 12, 1701, though it was also mentioned in records on November 28, 1676. The details and date of its original incorporation are unknown. The township was incorporated by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 21, 1798, as one of New Jersey's original group of 104 townships. The township was named for Fort Nya Elfsborg.

Finns Point

Finns Point is a small strategic promontory in Pennsville Township, Salem County, New Jersey, and New Castle County, Delaware, located at the southwest corner of the New Jersey peninsula, on the east bank of the Delaware River near its mouth on Delaware Bay. Due to the wording of the original charter defining the boundaries of New Jersey and Delaware, part of the promontory is actually enclosed within the state of Delaware's border, due to tidal flow and the manner in which the borders between New Jersey and Delaware were first laid out. Therefore, this portion of Finns Point is an exclave of Delaware, cut off from the rest of the state by Delaware Bay. The area is about 10 miles (16 km) south of the city of Wilmington, and directly across the Delaware River from the New Castle area, and the Delaware River entrance to the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. Pea Patch Island, part of the state of Delaware, sits in the channel of the river facing the promontory.

Fort Casimir

Fort Casimir was a Dutch fort in the seventeenth-century colony of New Netherland. It was located on a no-longer existing barrier island at the end of Chestnut Street in what is now New Castle, Delaware.

Fort Christina

Fort Christina (also called Fort Altena) was the first Swedish settlement in North America and the principal settlement of the New Sweden colony. Built in 1638 and named after Queen Christina of Sweden, it was located approximately 1 mi (1.6 km) east of the present downtown Wilmington, Delaware, at the confluence of the Brandywine River and the Christina River, approximately 2 mi (3 km) upstream from the mouth of the Christina on the Delaware River.

Fortifications of New Netherland

New Netherland, or Nieuw-Nederland in Dutch, was the 17th century colony of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands on the northeastern coast of North America. The claimed territory included southern Cape Cod to parts of the Delmarva Peninsula. Settled areas are now part of the Mid-Atlantic states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Its capital, New Amsterdam, was located at the southern tip of the island of Manhattan on Upper New York Bay.

Explored in 1609 by Henry Hudson while sailing on an expedition for the Dutch East India Company, the region was later surveyed, charted and given its name in 1614. The Dutch named the three main rivers of the province the Zuyd Rivier or "South River", the Noort Rivier or "North River", and the Versche Rivier or "Fresh River", and intended to use them to gain access to the interior, to the Native Americans and to the lucrative fur trade.

International law required not only discovery and a charter, but also the founding of forts and villages to confirm a territorial claim. Large-scale settlements were rejected by the Dutch in favor of the factorijen, a trading post with soldiers and a small group of settlers. During the first decade the New Netherland Company built Fort Nassau in Mahican/Mohawk territory on the North River. Among the places it is believed factorijen were set up are Schenectady, Schoharie, Esopus, Manhattan, Communipaw, Roodenburg, and Ninigret.

The Dutch West India Company (WIC) was granted a charter by the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands on June 3, 1621, forming a joint venture to exploit trade in New Netherland. The first settlers landed on Noten Island in 1624 and began the fortification and population of the colony. The names Fort Nassau and Fort Orange were used by the Dutch in the 17th century for several fortifications around the world in honor of the House of Orange-Nassau.

New Sweden was first settled in 1637 on territory claimed by the Dutch Republic, which was unable to prevent the incursion and did not officially recognize the colony. It was brought under Dutch control in a military expedition led by Director-General of New Netherland Peter Stuyvesant in 1655. In that year the government enacted regulations requiring settlers throughout the province to construct stockades to which they could withdraw if attacked, the most extensive being at Wiltwyck.

History of New Jersey

The story of the area of present-day New Jersey begins at the end of the Younger Dryas, about 15,000 years ago. Native Americans moved into New Jersey soon after the reversal of the Younger Dryas; before then an ice sheet hundreds of feet thick had made the area of northern New Jersey uninhabitable.

European contact began with the exploration of the Jersey Shore by Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524. At the time of European contact, many tribes of the Lenape lived in the area.

In the 17th century, the New Jersey region came under the control of the Swedes and the Dutch, resulting in a struggle in which the Dutch proved victorious (1655). However, the English seized the Dutch colony of New Netherland in 1664. New Jersey became one of the Thirteen Colonies which broke away from Britain in the American Revolution, adopting the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Becoming a state upon the formation of the United States, New Jersey saw significant action during the American Revolutionary War. New Jersey's delegates signed the Articles of Confederation in 1779 and Princeton acted as the nation's capital for four months in 1783.

In 1787, New Jersey became the third state to ratify the United States Constitution.In the 19th century, New Jersey cities led the United States into the Industrial Revolution and provided soldiers for many of the wars the United States fought, including 88,000 men for the American Civil War. The state became a component of the Underground Railroad. The state's transportation system continued to improve with the construction of canals and more rail lines that helped industrialization develop further. During the early 20th century New Jersey prospered, but the economy weakened in the Great Depression of the 1930s. During World War II (1939-1945) and the Cold War (c. 1947-1991), New Jersey's shipyards and military bases played an important role in the defense of the United States. In the 1960s New Jersey became the site of several race riots and of the Glassboro Summit Conference (1967), between American President Lyndon B. Johnson and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin.

Johan Björnsson Printz

Johan Björnsson Printz (July 20, 1592 – May 3, 1663) was governor from 1643 until 1653 of the Swedish colony of New Sweden on the Delaware River in North America.

List of colonial governors of New Jersey

The territory which would later become the state of New Jersey was settled by Dutch and Swedish colonists in the early seventeenth century. In 1664, at the onset of the Second Anglo-Dutch War, English forces under Richard Nicolls ousted the Dutch from control of New Netherland (present-day New York, New Jersey, and Delaware), and the territory was divided into several newly defined English colonies. Despite one brief year when the Dutch retook the colony (1673–74), New Jersey would remain an English possession until the American colonies declared independence in 1776.

In 1664, James, Duke of York (later King James II) divided New Jersey, granting a portion to two men, Sir George Carteret and John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton, who supported the monarchy's cause during the English Civil War (1642–49) and Interregnum (1649–60). Carteret and Berkeley subsequently sold their interests to two groups of proprietors, thus creating two provinces: East Jersey and the West Jersey. The exact location of the border between West Jersey and East Jersey was often a matter of dispute. The two provinces would be distinct political divisions from 1674 to 1702.

West Jersey was largely a Quaker colony due to the influence of Pennsylvania founder William Penn and its prominent Quaker investors. Many of its early settlers were Quakers who came directly from England, Scotland, and Ireland to escape religious persecution. Although a number of the East Jersey proprietors in England were Quakers and First Governor Robert Barclay of Aberdeenshire Scotland (Ury served by proxy) was a leading Quaker theologian, the Quaker influence on the East Jersey government was insignificant. Many of East Jersey's early settlers came from other colonies in the Western Hemisphere, especially New England, Long Island, and the West Indies. Elizabethtown and Newark in particular had a strong Puritan character. East Jersey's Monmouth Tract, south of the Raritan River, was developed primarily by Quakers from Long Island.In 1702, both divisions of New Jersey were reunited as one royal colony by Queen Anne with a royal governor appointed by the Crown. Until 1738, this Province of New Jersey shared its royal governor with the neighboring Province of New York. The Province of New Jersey was governed by appointed governors until 1776. William Franklin, the province's last royal governor before the American Revolution (1775–83), was marginalized in the last year of his tenure, as the province was run de facto by the Provincial Congress of New Jersey. In June 1776, the Provincial Congress formally deposed Franklin and had him arrested, adopted a state constitution, and reorganized the province into an independent state. The constitution granted the vote to all inhabitants who had a certain level of wealth, including single women and blacks (until 1807). The newly formed State of New Jersey elected William Livingston as its first governor on 31 August 1776—a position to which he would be reelected until his death in 1790. New Jersey was one of the original Thirteen Colonies, and was the third colony to ratify the constitution forming the United States of America. It thereby was admitted into the new federation as a state on 18 December 1787. On 20 November 1789 New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.

New Sweden

New Sweden (Swedish: Nya Sverige; Finnish: Uusi Ruotsi; Latin: Nova Svecia) was a Swedish colony along the lower reaches of the Delaware River in America from 1638 to 1655, established during the Thirty Years' War when Sweden was a great military power. New Sweden was part of Swedish colonization efforts in the Americas. Settlements were established on both sides of the Delaware Valley in the region of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, often in places where Swedish traders had been visiting since about 1610. Fort Christina in Wilmington, Delaware was the first settlement, named after the reigning Swedish monarch. The settlers were Swedes, Finns, and a number of Dutch. New Sweden was conquered by the Dutch Republic in 1655 during the Second Northern War and incorporated into the Dutch colony of New Netherland.

New Sweden Farmstead Museum

The New Sweden Farmstead Museum is an open-air museum in Bridgeton, New Jersey, United States. The museum is a recreation of a 17th-century Swedish farmstead located in City Park and is a historical remembrance of the history of the Swedish and Finnish people in early America who first arrived as part of the colony of New Sweden. Originally opened in 1988, it operated a living museum for many years. As funding and attendance declined, the log buildings at the complex fell into disrepair, requiring it to close. Since 2011 fundraising and restoration efforts have allowed it partially re-open. As of 2015, there were plans to re-locate the museum to Wilmington, Delaware.

Salem, New Jersey

Salem is a city in Salem County, in the U.S. state of New Jersey. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 5,146, reflecting a decrease of 711 (−12.1%) from the 5,857 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 1,026 (−14.9%) from the 6,883 counted in the 1990 Census, an overall drop of more than 25% over the two decades. It is the county seat of Salem County, the state's most rural county. The name "Salem", in both the city and county, is derived from the Hebrew word shalom, meaning "peace".The town and colony of Salem was laid out in 1675 by John Fenwick and the community was given permission to choose officers in October 1693. It was incorporated on February 21, 1798, as part of the initial group of 104 townships established by the New Jersey Legislature. On February 25, 1858, it was reincorporated as Salem City.

Swedish overseas colonies

Sweden possessed overseas colonies from 1638 to 1663 and from 1784 to 1878.

West Jersey

West Jersey and East Jersey were two distinct parts of the Province of New Jersey. The political division existed for 28 years, between 1674 and 1702. Determination of an exact location for a border between West Jersey and East Jersey was often a matter of dispute.

Älvsborg fortress

Älvsborg (also Elfsborg Fortress) is a large sea fortress in Rivö fjord within modern Gothenburg, Sweden. Situated at the mouth of the Göta River, it protected medieval Sweden's only access to the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, along with the nearby settlement known today as Gothenburg (formerly named Lödöse, Nya Lödöse, Älvsborg and Charles IX's Gothenburg).The original Old Älvsborg Fortress (Swedish: Älvsborgs fästning or Älvsborgs slott) was located on the mainland, on the southern shore of the estuary, above modern Klippan. Only few ruins are visible today in the vicinity of the Carnegie-pier.The old fortress was dismantled and relocated to one of the islands in the estuary, in the 17th century. This New Älvsborg Fortress (Swedish: Nya Elfsborg) is still maintained.

In 1643, a settlement in New Sweden, North America, was named Fort Nya Elfsborg ("Fort New Älvsborg"), after the Swedish fortress. This settlement was abandoned in 1655. Gothenburg was the main centre for Swedes emigrating to America, and the fortress would have been one of the last sights the emigrants saw on leaving the country.

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