Governor Markell, Mrs. Markell,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The shores of the Lower Delaware River Valley, which are a part of Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, hold a very special place in our history.
Sweden was a rapidly raising power in the mid-seventeenth century Europe. And, our country tried to compete with the established great powers of that time, by founding a colony in the New World.
Sweden´s political power in colonial America was short-lived, however. But the role the Swedish and Finnish settlers played here in Delaware, and in the development of early American civilization, should not be overlooked.
That early emigration also had a profound impact on Sweden and Finland. Many families in our two countries have relatives on this side of the Atlantic, and therefore grass root contacts have tied our countries together for centuries.
The Swedish immigrants sometimes referred to Sweden as their “dear old mother", and to America as their “beloved bride". This bride has - generation after generation - bound our transatlantic community together. And I think one could say that our relations today are as strong as ever.
Try to imagine the feelings of those on-board the Kalmar Nyckel and the Fogel Grip, when suddenly land appeared along the western horizon. As far as they could see, there was nothing but untouched nature, virgin forests and fertile land. “Paradise Point" is what the weary voyagers called this land, which today is Wilmington.
But, the two ships continued up the Delaware River and reached an area which the Indians called Manikuas. The settlers soon renamed it Christina, after their Queen.
However, this historical incident, when the members of the expedition set foot for the first time on American soil, was not commemorated in any way until 1902.
Since then, this area has become a recognized landmark in the Delaware Valley, one that reminds us of our roots, and of Sweden´s early venture into the western hemisphere.
Today, 375 years later, I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Queen and myself, to thank you Governor Markell, and your wife, together with yours staff, and all the volunteers, for making this jubilee day so very special. We are happy and honoured to be here with you today.
Thank you for inviting us, and Skål.