The arrival of Swedes in 1638

The first Lutheran settlers on North American soil were Swedes who landed in Wilmington, DE, in 1638. Finns, who called Sweden home, arrived soon thereafter. The Swedes formed a bond with the Lenape Tribe of the region, in part because the two cultures shared a common approach to agriculture. German Lutheran Patriarch to North America Henry Melchior Muhlenberg shared a friendship with Swedish pioneer Dean Carl Magnus Wrangel. The two men worked together on a constitution for St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Philadelphia. That historic document was the basis for organizing the young Lutheran Church in the Delaware Valley and beyond. Several Swedish congregations founded during the early 1600s still do ministry today. Watch and listen as the Rev. Kim-Eric Williams, curator of the Archives housed at LTSP, shares his knowledge of the Scandinavian legacy in North America.

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  1. The lecture by Kim Eric Williams was fascinating. As one who grew up in the old Augustana Lutheran Church in Minnesota and Illinois, I found his presentation most interesting because of the differences in the two immigrations. Thanks for making this possible. Harold C. Skilrud

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