Monday, October 27, 2008
Wilmington Delaware Ship Monument
While in Delaware this summer, I found this green ceramic souvenir of the monument commemorating the ship, “Kalmar Nyckel” in an antique store. I had never seen this souvenir, nor the real monument before, so I bought it to learn more about both. A label on the bottom of the 6-inch replica reads: “THE ROCKS. This reproduction of the monument carved by the Swedish sculptor Carl Milles marks THE ROCKS, the original landing place of the Swedes in America in late March of 1638, under Peter Minuit. Surmounting these rocks is a black granite column topped by a stylized was bearing a sculptured sailing ship. The vessel is a representation of the Swedish ship “Kalmar Nyckel” which brought the first Swedish settlers to America to establish one of the first permanent settlements in the new world at Wilmington Delaware. Made expressly for Delaware State Development Dept. J. J. Burris, Wilmington, Delaware.” That’s a lot of good information, but unfortunately, the replica is not dated. The real column and ship memorial is located at Fort Christina Park in Wilmington, Delaware. It commemorates the activities of Swedish colonists in the Delaware Valley. The ship at the top of the monument represents the Kalmar Nyckel, one of two vessels that brought the first Swedish colonists to America. Made of Swedish black granite, the column was paid for by donations from hundreds of thousands of Swedes and given as a symbol of friendship to Delaware and descendants of original settlers of the ‘New Sweden.” The first Swedish expedition to the New World landed at this site about March 29, 1638. It erected the first fortification in New Sweden, Fort Christina, around which grew the first permanent white settlement in the Delaware River Valley and the nucleus of Swedish settlement.