The Swedes are Coming – Landing Day Wilmington Delaware

Old Swedes FlagsThis morning, Delaware and  the Old Swedes Foundation held Landing Day Services at the site of Fort Christina Park in Wilmington DE.

Unknown by many, Delaware was founded by the Swedes and Finns. In 1638, the first Swedish settlement was established at Fort Christina located just east of present day Wilmington just off 7th Street along the Christina River. They quickly formed the first permanent settlement in the future state.  The Swedes controlled the immediate area until 1655 when the Dutch took control and the future state of Delaware ultimately fell under British control in 1664.  The Swedes also founded the first permanent European settlement in Pennsylvania.

In 1698 the Swedes and Finns built a new church on the site of their original burial ground.  The church was established as aOld Swedes Church Wilmington Delaware Swedish Lutheran Church but in 1791 it became part of the Protestant Episcopal Church.  The Old Swedes Church is the oldest church still in use as originally built.

Today was the 371st anniversary of the Swedes and Finns original landing on March 29, 1638.  In 1938, Fort Christina State Park was built before the 300th anniversary of the event and it was dedicated in 1938 with the attendance of President Franklin Roosevelt and Swedish royalty.  The Landing Day Services have been held every year since (except for two years) on March 29 and in 1988 on the 350th Anniversary the Swedish King and Queen once again attended the ceremonies.

Fort Christina Park Wilmington DelawareThis morning’s event was held by the congregation and Old Swedes Foundation with both Delaware Governor Jack Markell and Wilmington Mayor James Baker providing remarks.  There were also proclamations delivered from the state, county, and city.  Despite the weather, it was well attended, well done, and continued the long standing tradition honoring our founding.


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2 Responses to “The Swedes are Coming – Landing Day Wilmington Delaware”

  1. Paige Peter Says:

    I enjoyed reading this article. Thank you very much for posting it. I am trying to research my family roots.

    Jonathan Stille; Born 1709; Christiana, New Castle, Delaware, USA; Died Apr 21, 1765.

    Married to:

    Magdalena Vandever; Born Nov 5, 1718; New Castle, Delaware, USA; Died 21 Apr 21, 1765.

    Would appreciate any help or information.

    Best wished,
    Paige Peter

    • jwophl Says:

      Thanks for stopping by. I don’t have either name in my family tree, but hopefully someone else here will recognize them. I’ll let you know if I can find anything. Good luck. Dave

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