Delaware colony

2011-02-10 12:36:11

The Delaware region was explored by Henry Hudson in 1609 as he searched for a passage to Asia. The Dutch first settled near present-day Lewes in 1631 but were driven out by the native peoples. Sweden settled the area as a commercial venture in 1638, giving it the name New Sweden and bringing in Swedish and Finnish settlers. In the 1640s, both the Netherlands and Sweden claimed the region, and in 1655 the Dutch finally incorporated New Sweden into their more northerly colony of New Netherland. As a result of a series of Anglo-Dutch wars in the 1660s and 1670s, Delaware became English territory. Originally administered as part of New York colony, in 1682 it became a part of the Pennsylvania colony grant to William Penn. Known as the three lower counties, the Delaware region sought autonomy, which was granted in the Charter of Liberties (1701). Its first separate legislature met in 1704. By the time of the American Revolution (1775–1783), most of the early Swedes and Finns had become indistinguishable from their more numerous English and Dutch neighbors.