Most Americans are familiar with France, Spain, Holland and England’s colonial history in the United States, but lesser-known is New Sweden, a Swedish holding that once spanned parts of DelawarePennsylvania and New Jersey.

The upstart settlement dates to the early 17th century, when the great powers of Europe were all scrambling to plant their flags in North America. In the midst of this frenzy of colonization, the Kingdom of Sweden looked to carve out a piece of the New World for itself. The result was one of the most peculiar overseas ventures of the Age of Discovery.

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