New Castle, Delaware

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New Castle is a city in New Castle County, Delaware, six miles (10 km) south of Wilmington, situated on the Delaware River, at the head of Delaware Bay. In 1900, 3,380 people lived here; in 1910, 3,351. According to 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 4,836.[1]

Contents

History

New Castle was originally settled by the Dutch West India Company in 1651, under the leadership of Peter Stuyvesant, on the site of a former aborginal village, "Tomakonck" ("Place of the Beaver") to assert their claim to the area based on a prior agreement with the aboriginal inhabitants of the area. The Dutch originally named the settlement Fort Casimir, but this was changed to Fort Trinity (Swedish: Trefaldighet) following its seizure by the colony of New Sweden on Trinity Sunday, 1654. The Dutch conquered the entire colony of New Sweden the following year and rechristened the fort Nieuw Amstel ("New Amstel"). This marked the end of the Swedish colony in Delaware as an official entity, but it remained a semi-autonomous unit within the New Netherland colony and the cultural, social, and religious influence of the Swedish settlers remained strong. As the settlement grew, Dutch authorities laid out a grid of streets and established the town common (The "Green"), which continue to this day.

In 1664, the English seized the the entire New Netherland colony in the Second Anglo-Dutch War and changed the name of the town to "New Castle." The Dutch regained the town in 1673 during the Third Anglo-Dutch War but it was returned to Great Britain the next year under the Treaty of Westminster. In 1680, New Castle was conveyed to William Penn by the Duke of York and was Penn's landing place when he first set foot on American soil in 1682. This transfer to Penn was contested by Lord Baltimore and the boundary dispute was not resolved until the survey conducted by Mason and Dixon, now famed in history as the Mason-Dixon Line.[2][3]

The spire on top of the Court House — Delaware's Colonial capitol and first state house — was used as the center of the 12-mile circle forming the northern boundary of Delaware and part of the Mason-Dixon Line. The Delaware River within this radius to the low water mark on the opposite shore is part of Delaware. Thus the Delaware Memorial Bridge was built as an intrastate span by Delaware, without financial participation by neighboring New Jersey.

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