Greetings to the Kalmar Nyckel,
from your friends in Gothenburg, Sweden.

© All paintings by: Lars Gillis.

In november 1637 Kalmar Nyckel passed the old Elfsborgs Castle in Gothenburg. Eight shots were fired at the passing.

In the year 1612 the Elfsborgs Castle were captured by the Danish and kept as pledge for a large piece of land in Western Sweden the Swedes had to pay the enormous amount of 1 million Riksdaler Specie to redeem. The money was to be delivered in four instalments during four years. The three first (1616, 1617 and 1618) were paid on Elvsborgs Castle.

In the year 1619 King Gustav the II Adolf arrived to Elvsborgs Castle which by then were an empty shell.

In the year 1637 at the time of Kalmar Nyckels departure it was as strong a fortress it would ever be. By the next Danish blockade of Gothenburg in 1644 Elfsborgs Castle had lost its strategic value because of the increase of firepower. The city was defended much further out in the Elfsborgs Fjord, to be more specific, at the New Elfsborgs Castle - where the East Indiaman Gotheborg would founder 100 years later.

Kalmar Nyckel who was 33 meters long at the waterline were part of the Gothenborg Squadron. She were built to carry a large burden but despite this known to be a good and fast ship.

The soldiers were onboard the Fågel Grip, a sligtly smaller ship, most probably a Pinnace.

The emigrants were possibly forced volunteers. The common practice of making new farmland was to set the forest on fire and plant seeds in the ash.

During the Kalmar war (1611-12) this way of farming was forbidden. The woods were needed for charcoal, to make iron, to canon casting and for gunpowder.

Outside the church the royal proclamation were read for the astonished farmers who no longer would be able to support their growing families...

Soldiers escort the emigrating farmers to Gothenburg by the end of the 1640:s. The view is from where the Vasagatan in Gothenburg is today. (Detail)

Fogel Grip (left) and Kalmar Nyckel (right) in bad weather in the North Sea on their way to New Sweden in 1637. They were forced to go to Holland for repairs and were not able to proceed until New Years day 1638.

The Kalmar Nyckel sailed from Sweden to the New World in 1638 leaving its passengers to establish the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley, the Colony of New Sweden in present-day Wilmington, Delaware. She made a total of four roundtrip crossings of the Atlantic—more than any other ship of the era.

Her first voyage to the New World left 24 settlers of Swedish, Finnish, German and Dutch descent in the Delaware Valley. Joining them was a black freedman who sailed from the Caribbean aboard her companion ship the Fogel Grip.

The Swedish farmers brought their way of farming with them to their new homeland. The pigs were let loose and were hunted when the need for pork arose. The only problem was that the local inhabitants did that too...




Greetings from Jan-Erik Nilsson, Lars Gillis and your many friends in Sweden.

Click this, to visit The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, Wilmington, Delaware, USA!

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