Jean R. Lenape Indians controlled the Delaware Valley until after the s. Swedish artist Gustavus Hesselius painted this portrait of Tishcohan, a Lenape chief, around When Lenape Indians in July crossed the Delaware River from New Jersey to meet with Pennsylvania government officials, they represented a people whose homeland became the Greater Philadelphia region: southeastern Pennsylvania, central and southern New Jersey, and Delaware. Despite their decline in population from European diseases, the Lenapes remained strong. Since the s, English settlers had imposed political divisions on the more open Lenape homeland, most obviously with the boundary along the river separating West New Jersey from Pennsylvania and the Lower Counties Delaware.
But while these political divisions gained potency as colonial elites developed legal and political structures, the Delaware Valley in many ways remained integrated economically and socially as its residents exchanged goods and traveled readily across borders.
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When Europeans arrived in the Delaware Valley in the early seventeenth century, Native Americans had lived there for at least ten thousand years. The Lenapes lived in autonomous towns on creeks flowing into the Delaware River and along the Atlantic coast near Delaware Bay. The river united the territory of Lenape people such as the Armewamese and Cohanseys who possessed land on both banks.
By the time Europeans reached North America, a complex system of overland paths crossed the region. Because Lenapes traveled frequently by canoe, they viewed rivers and streams as highways rather than obstacles. They also built trails across the region by which they traveled from agricultural towns where they raised corn and other crops to hunting, fishing, and gathering areas in the Pine BarrensAtlantic shore, Lehigh Valleyand central Delaware.
Starting with Dutch explorers who arrived aboutsuccessive groups of European colonists built settlements on both sides of the Delaware River, sometimes adjacent to Lenape towns. The natives welcomed European traders, granting permission in for a short-lived Dutch settlement on Burlington Island and two years later native Philadelphia meet construction of Fort Nassau at Arwamus later Gloucester, New Jersey opposite the future site of Philadelphia.
The Dutch trade precipitated war from to between the Lenapes and Susquehannocks, who sought to control the Delaware River as a market for Canadian furs. The war ended with an agreement that while the Lenapes retained ownership of the land, both groups could trade in the region. Violence also flared inwhen Lenapes destroyed a Dutch plantation called Swanendael near Cape Henlopen at the mouth of Delaware Bay. It seemed to the natives that the Dutch were shifting their priorities from trade to plantation agriculture similar to the English colonists in the Chesapeake Bay region who murdered Indians and expropriated land.
The Lenapes and Dutch made peace when the Dutch captain David de Vries arrived in late Click this link to learn more and animate this object from the Philadelphia History Museum. Over the next half century, with the legacy of Swanendael, Lenapes controlled the lower Delaware Valley, accepting European trade goods in exchange for small parcels of land for forts and farms, but not plantation colonies.
Though the Lenapes rejected efforts by Swedish Lutheran missionaries to convert them to Christianity, the natives forged a special friendship with the colonists of New Sweden beginning with the treaty with Governor Johan Risingh c. As native Philadelphia meet Dutch and Swedes competed to buy lush beaver pelts that the Susquehannocks obtained from Canada, Lenapes built six towns from the Delaware to the falls of the Schuylkill to be near the terminus of trade.
Historical Society of Pennsylvania. After New Netherland defeated New Sweden inthe Lenapes, Swedes, and Finns solidified their alliance to resist heavy-handed Dutch authority; afterwhen troops of James, Duke of York defeated the Dutch, the natives and colonists fought English efforts to expropriate their land. In the late s, many of the natives left their towns on the west bank of the Delaware to Lenape communities in New Jersey. Though most European colonists lived in the area extending from New Castle Delaware to the Schuylkill River, Dutch, Swedish, and Finnish colonists also moved to southwestern New Jersey, purchasing land from the natives.
Despite generally good relations between Native Americans and Europeans in the lower Delaware Valley, the Lenapes there declined steadily from smallpox, influenza, measles, and other diseases.
In they had ed an estimated 7,; by the s their population decreased to about 4, and to about 3, by Still, in that year, the European population was onlyas the memory of the Swanendael attack successfully deterred large-scale colonization. The balance of population between natives and immigrants began to shift in the mids, on both sides of the Delaware River. Inthough the Lenape sachems believed the river united their homeland, the English crown drew political borders, most prominently between West New Jersey and the west bank.
These borders, at first only figments in charters and on maps, gradually took force in the s and s as thousands of English native Philadelphia meet flooded in. The provincial and county boundaries that English colonialists drew across the more open Lenape landscape assumed real political and legal meaning. The organizers of West New Jersey and Pennsylvania were members of the Society of Friendsa religious group founded in England around that repudiated many of the practices of the established Church of England Anglican.
The Friends believed that the inner Light of Christ could enter any person without the intervention of priests and bishops.
The Quakers endured imprisonment, physical assaults, and fines in their home countries for holding worship services and refusing to take oaths or pay tithes to support the established church. Friends established West New Jersey through native Philadelphia meet series of complicated financial deals, lawsuits, and political battles that continued to plague the colony until the crown revoked the proprietorship in The English Quaker John Fenwick c.
The Friends entered a country dominated by Lenapes where some Europeans, mostly Swedes, Finns, and Dutch, had lived for fewer than ten years. Fenwick promptly purchased land from the Lenapes of the region—the Cohanseys—with whom he maintained good relations. Quaker George Hutchinson, one of the initial founders and developers of the Burlington settlement, built this home for his family in Library of Congress.
Another English Friend, Edward Byllynge c. When the ship Kent arrived inthe Lenapes, Swedes, and Finns offered the Burlington colonists food and shelter despite worry about the increasing s of new immigrants. Swedish and Finnish interpreters facilitated their purchase of land from the Lenapes. As had earlier settlers, the Burlington colonists brought smallpox that killed many natives. The West New Jersey Concessions explained the process for distributing land, granted religious freedom and trial by jury, was unusually democratic in calling for an annually elected general assembly, and described a plan for mediating disputes between natives and Europeans.
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The Duke of York delayed implementation of the Concessions by not transferring until the right of government to Byllynge, who then renounced the Concessions by becoming governor, an office not included in the document. Though the Concessions failed to become the official constitution, many of its provisions, including the elected assembly, religious freedom, and trial by jury, became West New Jersey law. As colonists set up farms and towns along the Delaware River and its tributaries from the Falls to Cape May, the assembly created four counties in the s and s: Burlington, Gloucester, Salem, and Cape May.
Because the provincial government remained factionalized and unstable, county courts took responsibility for governing and enforcing laws. The proprietary government dissolved in native Philadelphia meet the proprietors of both East and West New Jersey surrendered their right to govern to the English Crown to create the unified royal province of New Jersey.
The new province elected an assembly of twenty-four members, equally divided between the eastern and western divisions, and shared its governor with New York untilwhen New Jersey obtained its own royal executive. William Penn received a land grant from King Charles II for the territory that became Pennsylvania, where he sought to create a model society.
Topics: colonial era
William Penn received his charter for Pennsylvania from Charles IIthe English King, in March and proposed a model society founded on principles of peace and religious liberty. He made specific plans to build a great city named Philadelphia, in a grid pattern with large lots on the Delaware River, to serve as the focal point for surrounding townships.
Offering sanctuary from persecution to members of many religions, the proprietor also expected to succeed financially by selling land and collecting quitrents annual taxes on acreage to defray the ongoing costs of colonization and provide his family an income. He quickly recruited thousands of colonists from northwestern England, London and its environs, Native Philadelphia meet, Scotland, Wales, Germany, and Holland.
While many people who immigrated during the first decades were Quakers, new settlers also included Anglicans, Baptists, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Mennonites, and other sects who ed the Dutch Reformed and Swedish Lutherans already in the region. Most colonists were farmers, artisanslaborers, and their families. Prosperous Quakers who purchased large acreages soon dominated Pennsylvania society and politics, though some Swedes, Finns, and Dutch continued to hold public office.
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While Penn created no established religion, the Friends controlled the government through much of the colonial period. Before sailing to his colony inPenn developed his Frame of Government that provided for a governor, and a provincial council and assembly to be elected by free male taxpayers native Philadelphia meet the province.
An assembly of settlers amended the constitution in and over the next eighteen years the legislature made additional changes to assume greater power. A map shows the area that later became Delaware, labeled Delaware Counties, in the lower center portion of the map. Because Pennsylvania lacked direct access to the Atlantic Ocean, Penn sought rights to the three Lower Counties the area of the later state of Delaware from the Duke of York.
The Quaker proprietor received deeds in to New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties, which remained separate from the counties of Chester, Philadelphia, and Bucks that he established in Pennsylvania, with the boundary set twelve miles north of the town of New Castle.
Despite this colonial border, the Lower Counties and Pennsylvania shared a governor and at first elected representatives to one assembly that met alternately at Philadelphia and New Castle. The Swedish, Finnish, Dutch, and English inhabitants of the Lower Counties quickly felt overpowered by the Quaker government in Philadelphia and wanted local control because of divergent economic interests and the refusal of pacifist Quakers to accept the need for military defense.
Delaware obtained its own assembly in but continued to share a governor under the Penn proprietorship. Since the late s, English settlers—many with enslaved Africans —had moved to the Lower Counties from Maryland to the predominantly Swedish, Finnish, and Dutch population. The Delaware economy was primarily agricultural, with exports in tobacco, pork, and corn to the West Indies, England, and Scotland.
The colony sustained several attacks from Maryland, which claimed on the basis of its charter that Delaware fell within its bounds. The dispute with Charles Calvert, Lord Baltimore dogged William Penn, who sought evidence from old maps and Dutch documents to protect his ownership of the Lower Counties and Pennsylvania.
Dispersed farms across the countryside produced wheat, corn, rye, barley, tobaccofruit, and vegetables, and raised cattle, pigs, and fowl. The small port towns of Greenwich, Salem, Gloucester, Burlington, Bristol, Chester, New Castle, and Lewes native Philadelphia meet and shipped agricultural produce, deer skins, furs, lumber, and wood products mostly to Philadelphia but in some cases directly to other ports in North America, the West Indies, and Europe.
The grid plan for Philadelphia appears as an inset to this map by Thomas Holme of rural landholding in Philadelphia, Chester, and Bucks Counties. South East Prospect of Philadelphia depicts the city and its busy port, c. Library Company of Philadelphia.
Built upon the earlier commercial hub near the confluence of the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, Philadelphia grew quickly from immigration and commerce. Within a decade of its founding, the city had an estimated population of two thousand; by more than seven thousand people lived there and by about twenty-three thousand, making it the largest city in North America.
By the s, Philadelphia was a dense urban space of brick houses and mansionssmall dwellings in crowded alleys, warehouses, workshops, churches, and taverns. National Portrait Gallery.
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As the center of Pennsylvania government and Delaware Valley commerce, Philadelphia drew talented people from throughout the region, North American colonies, and Atlantic World. The rural Delaware Valley population also grew quickly, especially Pennsylvania with a European and African American population of 52, in andin The large geographic size of Pennsylvania, with room for expansion to the north and west, helped to propel its dynamic growth.
Between andfive new inland Pennsylvania counties ed the ten original and two additional West Jersey counties along the Delaware River. Thousands of German-speaking and Irish immigrants crossed the Atlantic Ocean during the eighteenth century, entering through the ports of Philadelphia and New Castle.
Many immigrants served first as indentured servants or redemptioners to pay the cost of their passage, then built farms or followed crafts.
While some stayed in the Quaker Citymany migrated to rural areas in the Lehigh Valley and western Pennsylvania, from which some continued their journey south into western Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas. Some Irish immigrants stayed in Delaware as its population expanded to 33, in