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On March 29, 1638 the Swedish ship, Kalmar Nyckel, landed at the rocky banks of the Minquas Kill (now Christina River).
A fort was erected by the expedition soldiers after land negotiations were conducted with the native inhabitants, members of the Lenape tribe. To honor the young Swedish Queen, the fort and its access river were named Christina.
For seventeen years Sweden maintained its colony in the Delaware River Region. Further expeditions supplied New Sweden with materials for trade and with settlers. Swedish colonists continued to live, work and worship in their new world even though New Sweden ended in 1655 with the Dutch claim to the territory.
The Swedish Missionary Society maintained ties with the colonists by sending missionaries to the Swedish-built Lutheran churches until the 1700's
Old Swedes Church, built in 1698 near the site of Fort Christina, stands today as proud witness to the labors and spirit of New Sweden settlers and their ministers. It is now part of the parish of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Wilmington, DE.
Kalmar Nyckel was a Dutch-built armed merchant ship famed for carrying Swedish settlers to North America in 1638, to establish the colony of New Sweden. A replica of the ship was launched at Wilmington, Delaware, in 1997.