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Kalmar Nyckel : History : Original Kalmar Nyckel

Original Kalmar Nyckel

The original Kalmar Nyckel was one of America’s pioneering colonial ships, a Mayflower of the Delaware Valley, yet her remarkable story has never been widely told.

The original Kalmar Nyckel served as Governor Peter Minuit’s flagship for the 1638 expedition that founded the colony of New Sweden, establishing the first permanent European
settlement in the Delaware Valley, Fort Christina, in present-day Wilmington, Delaware.  She would make a total of four roundtrip crossings of the Atlantic, more than any other documented ship of the American colonial era.  

The original ship 
 a new type of gun-armed merchant vessel called a Dutch Pinnace  was built by the Dutch in Amsterdam in about the year 1625.  She was purchased in 1629 by a Swedish consortium to serve as an auxiliary warship for the Swedish navy, which she did until her decommissioning in 1651  except for the years from 1637 to 1644 when she sailed the Atlantic for the New Sweden Company.  An exceptional ship with a long and remarkable career, she was sold to a private merchant after being decommissioned from the navy.  No completely definitive records have been uncovered as of yet, but Kalmar Nyckel was probably resold to the Dutch navy as an escort vessel and sunk in the North Sea while fighting for the Dutch in a war against the English in 1652.

For more about the ship, click here to see KALMAR NYCKEL: A Guide to the Ship and Her History

Guide Book




Kalmar Nyckel : History : Original Kalmar Nyckel

Did you know: That Peter Minuit led the expedition that founded the New Sweden colony?


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