Delaware History and Research Overview
Learn about Delaware's history and available records in this research guide that includes a map and bibliography.
In 1638, two ships -- the Kalmar Nyckel and the Fogel Grip -- brought 30 people from Sweden to settle near present-day Wilmington, Del. They named their new home New Sweden. Ownership of the area changed several times during the 17th century. The Dutch took over the colony from the Swedish settlers, then the British captured the renamed New Netherland in 1664. The Dutch reasserted their ownership in 1673, but ended up returning the area to the British a year later. The three lower counties of the Colony -- New Castle, Kent and Sussex -- became part of William Penn's Pennsylvania, while Maryland also claimed part of the region.