The Dutch claimed rights to Delaware based on their exploration of the area. However, the Dutch first colonized Delaware after they bought the land from the Native Americans. They founded the settlement of Zwaanendael in 1631. The Native Americans wiped out the original settlement. When more settlers arrived it was decided to move them to New Netherlands. The Dutch had dismissed Peter Minuit. Minuit led the Swedes who decided to settle the same area, and a settlement of New Sweden. The new Swedish settlement was named “Fort Christina”. The Dutch never accepted the Swedish claims. In September 1655 the Dutch captured the Swedish colony. They renamed the colony “New Amstel”.

After the British captured New Netherlands they sent a force down and captured New Amstel. The British changed its name to “New Castle”. The colony moved back and forth– first being part of New York, then part of Maryland. Finally, the colony came under the control of William Penn. Penn tried to make the Delaware colony part Pennsylvania. However, he found it difficult to govern them together. In 1701, Penn agreed that the two colonies could be governed with separate assemblies.