Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Finland - Finnish settlement in America 1638-1988 29.3.1988

This stamp on the first day cover is part of a Joint issue between Finland, Sweden and the USA. It was issued in 1988 commemorating the 350th anniversary of the Finnish settlement in America 1638-1988. The Delaware Colony of Swedes and Finns has left a Heritage to America. Because the colony of New Sweden retained that name for only eighteen years many students of American history are but slightly familiar with the Finnish and Swedish settlements which grew up in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey several decades before the coming of William Penn. The ships Kalmar Nyckel and Fogel Grip shown on the stamp during negotiations with the native. Landings in the spring of 1638, brought the first Finnish and Swedish settlers. The present nation of Finland was then a part of Sweden, and the colony was named New Sweden. Wilmington, the first settlement, was called Fort Christina in honor of the Swedish Queen, daughter of Gustavus Adolphus who had planned the sending of colonists to America prior to his death on the battle field of Lutzen, in 1632. One branch of the stream which enters the Delaware River at that point still bears her name. Between 1870-1940 about 370,000 Finnish people moved to America.
From 1638 until 1656 the land along both shores of the Delaware was the colony's territory, and a succession of ships brought additional settlers, while several royal governors administered the affairs of the colony, Johann Printz being the most famous. He was a distinguished soldier, having led regiments of Finnish infantry in the Thirty Years' War. He built his capital "Printzdorf" on Tinicum Island, and many small settlements developed. One was on the present site of Philadelphia, another at the present Chester, Pa., was called Finland and Upland. In New Jersey is still found the town of Swedesboro. Newcastle, Delaware, was known as Fort Kasimir. A sizeable colony of Finns settled in present-day New Jersey around what is still known as Finns Point. The Swedes and Finns traded with the Indians, and sent furs, tobacco and other products back to Sweden, while developing farming, building churches and homes and making a small but successful colony in the New World. This cover was sent to me by Ella.

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