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New Castle County is the northernmost of three different counties in Delaware, the first official state of the U.S and similar to the state it is in, this county has a vast and rich history. New Castle County is the state’s most populous area with over 500,00 residents and contains the largest city in the entire state which is Wilmington. Wilmington has over 70,000 residents by itself and is a significant part of this county’s past.
New Castle County was founded on August 8, 1673, though was originally named Amstel County for a short while until 1674. Wilmington is the county’s seat and the county’s name was thought up by Dutch Governor Anthony Colve.
Quick Overview of New Castle County’s History
The first official and recorded settlement in Delaware was Fort Christina, the result of Peter Minuit’s expedition to the Kalmar Nyckel in 1638. The village was set up where present Wilmington lies, and the land contract with the Indians would consist of Old Cape Henlopen all the way north to Sankikans (Trenton Falls), as well as inland as far as they desired. However, an argument arose between the Swedes and the Dutch, who claimed to have a prior claim to all of the land.
New Sweden is founded in 1640 a few miles south of Christina.
Queen Christina appoints Lt. Col. Johan Printz as the Governor of New Sweden. Boundaries are set to reach Cape Henlopen north along Godyn’s Bay (Now Delaware Bay) and through multiple rivers to what is now Trenton Falls.
Peter Stuyvesant, Governor of New Netherland, sails up the South River. He purchases land from the native Indians that covers Minquas Kill to Bompties Hook with part of his purchase already been sold to the Swedes back in 1638. Stuyvesant begins to build Fort Casimir oblivious to dishonesties concerning land boundaries.
Councilor to the Governor, John Rising, officially assumes the duties of Printz and begins to extricate the Dutch from New Sweden. Fort Casimir surrenders and is taken and renamed to Fort Trinity. The Swedes are now in complete control of the west side of the Delaware River. Indians meet with the Swedes to reconfirm the purchase
The Dutch send Stuyvesant to defeat the Swedes from both sides of the river and eventually regain control of Fort Casimir once again, but soon gain control of Fort Christina and the Netherland takes control once more.
New Castle County, as well as its surrounding land, is transferred from the Colony of New York to the possession of William Penn, who founded the Colony of Delaware.