In 1638, explorer Peter Minuit founded the first Swedish settlement in North America. It was called Fort Christina, named from Queen Christina of Sweden. Minuit was the head of the Dutch West India Company and is credited for what is probably the best bargain ever – he purchased present-day Manhattan from Native Americans for goods valued at 60 guilders (some dispute remains about the actual modern equivalent – the lowest calculation being $24 and the highest being $1,000). Goods included such things as duffel cloth, hoes, iron kettles, and axe heads.
Fort Christina was located in the Delaware Valley near present-day Wilmington, Delaware. Today, this is a rich area – both in history and monetarily. New Castle County is the most affluent county in Delaware and the county seat is the historically-significant Wilmington. It is located in the north section of Delaware.
Wilmington, the largest city in the state, is situated where the Christina River meets Brandywine Creek, not far from the Delaware River. Wilmington was incorporated in 1731 and today nine historic sites celebrate this city’s long history. Some of the sites include Upper/Lower market Street, Quaker Hill, Rockford Park, and Trinity Vicinity. This pedestrian friendly city is served by the Joseph R. Biden Jr. Wilmington Rail Station and SEPTA. Wilmington is home to several colleges and universities, including Springfield College, Drexel University, Delaware College of Art and Design, and Wilmington University.
This busy county is home to many attractions, such as the Brandywine Zoo, the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, the Delaware Historical Society, Rodney Square, Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame, the Delaware Art Museum, and several state and local parks. New Castle County contains nearly 300 historic locations, including Bell Farmhouse, Baily House, and the Deer Park Hotel. The New Castle Historic District contains architecture dating back to the 17th century. There are 461 buildings on more than 130 acres.