Wilmington is the largest city in the state of Delaware that has had a colourful and turbulent past. Originally known as Willington it was colonized by Swedish settlers in 1638. The area that is known these days as “the Rocks” was established as Fort Christina and served as the central headquarters for the New Sweden colony.
The colony was ruled by Swedish law and Colonel J. Printz was the governor for ten years. Often seen by historians as the most important governor in the colony’s history, he was replaced by Johan Rising in 1654. Rising was instrumental in seizing Fort Casimir, which was formerly held by the Dutch and was situated on the site of the town of New Castle. Rising’s reign lasted until 1655, when a Dutch fleet that was commanded by Peter Stuyvesant seized the Swedish forts and established the New Netherland colony, thereby bringing an end to Swedish rule in North America.
British colonization began at the beginning of 1664 after a number of wars between the Dutch and the British. The area was eventually settled under British rule and was then granted a borough charter in 1739 by King George II. This charter changed the name of the settlement from Willington to Wilmington after King George’s friend Spencer Compton, the Earl of Wilmington.
Wilmington remained relatively unscathed during the American Revolution with only one battle taking place in Delaware not long after the Battle of Brandywine. British rule remained until 1778 when they abandoned the region.
Wilmington saw the greatest economical growth during the Civil War, which created a huge demand for products produced in the area such as train carriages, ships, gunpowder, boots and other materials. This economic growth went from strength to strength and by 1868 Wilmington was the largest producer of iron ships in the whole of America. Wilmington prospered even further thanks to the demand for its products during both world wars and many of its industries operated non-stop, creating plenty of work for its citizens.
The fact that Wilmington was seen as a prosperous area attracted many merchants and manufacturers who all helped to develop its residential boundaries by building large imposing homes and gentrifying the streets.
Today visitors to Wilmington will be amazed at the number of parks that are situated within the city. This is due to a successful businessman by the name of William Bancroft. Taking inspiration from Frederick Law Olmstead, Bancroft developed a comprehensive system of parks including Rockford Park and the Brandywine Park.
During the 1950s there was a large increase in the number of people that chose to live in the suburbs of Wilmington and commute into the city. This was mainly due to the fact that Interstate 95 was constructed and ended up passing through several of Wilmington’s residential areas.
Present day Wilmington is a vibrant city that is a popular destination for tourists. With plenty of activities suitable for all ages and lots of open park land for everyone to enjoy, it is the perfect place to relax and unwind. So if you are thinking about where to go on your next holiday, why not visit Wilmington? All you have to do is book your flight and hotel (in Swedish hotell) and you are good to go.