Monday, 6 July 2015

Episode 31: Sweden as (a tiny) colonial power

In the 17th century Sweden engaged in two rather half harted colonial enterprises. Gaing incomes through trade sounded nice, and private efforts had shown that money could be made. Sweden was a rather late participant though and took help from private Dutch merchants when the first colony, New Sweden, was established in Delaware in North America. Finding people prepared to cross the Atlantic for a new life wasn't easy, but some hundred farmers as well as administrators and soldiers did make the trip. Their encounters with the native indians in the area were mostly peaceful, though both parties found it sometimes hard to understand oneanother. Sweden's first priority in the 17th century was the expansion in the home area, and the colony was fairly neglected. It soon was taken over by first the Dutch and later the English.

A trading post was also established in Cabo Corso on the western coast of Africa, and later - in the 18th century, Sweden bought the island St Barthélémy in the West Indies.